BY NIZBERT MOYO
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) has given notice to resell housing stands repossessed after their owners failed to develop them within the stipulated time frame.
In terms of section 5 of the Titles Registration and Derelict Lands Act, Chapter 20:20, council is empowered to repossess and resell undeveloped housing stands after five years.
“Whenever there remains due and unpaid for space of five years any rate or assessment payable to any municipality or other public body upon any immovable property in Zimbabwe and such property is abandoned, deserted and left derelict, and the owner thereof cannot be found, it shall be lawful for the person or body claiming such rate or assessment to apply to the High Court, stating the amount claimed to be due and the grounds for applying for relief under this Act,” the Act reads.
Council repossessed hundreds of undeveloped stands last year with owners citing the harsh economic climate as inhibiting their development.
Town clerk Christopher Dube said repossessed stands would be sold on a first-come first-served basis beginning today.
“Notice is hereby given that the BCC will be allocating a limited number of repossessed residential stands (17) on a first-come-first-served basis to applicants on the council waiting list on Friday March 12, 2021,” part of the notice issued on Wednesday, read.
“Only applicants with full purchase price will be considered. The average stand prices are US$4 000 or Zimdollar equivalent for a 200-square metre stand size.”
Council periodically repossesses stands whose beneficiaries would not have developed over a certain period after purchase.
After repossession, beneficiaries are given the first option to re-purchase the stand at a price determined by the city valuer.
Bulawayo has a housing waiting list of over 100 000, with less than 30 000 housing stands availed in the past decade despite a growing number of people in need of houses.
In December 2018, council approved the sale of housing stands in United States dollars — a move that was widely denounced by residents as anti-poor and condemning several thousands of people on the councils’ waiting list to permanent lodgers.