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Malawi Housing Corporation rescinds rental hike

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The Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) has reversed its decision to increase rentals of its houses, few days after tenants protested against the increase.

On Friday last week, MHC held a press conference at its Headquarters in Blantyre where it announced that it has increased its rentals by an average of 48 percent.

The institution announced that due to the cost of operations and sustainability of its functions, it decided to hike its rentals to meet the costs.

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MHC Chief Executive Officer, Eunice Napolo, explained during the conference that with the present rentals, revenue for a particular house could not be sufficient to maintain the house, arguing that the increase in rentals was necessary for the corporation to continue maintenance works and construction of new houses.

The decision did not go down well with Blantyre-based tenants who convened on Sunday at Chitawira Primary School where they resolved to obtain a court injunction.

The disgruntled tenants said the rental increase was unreasonable.

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The tenants contributed K1,000 each for hiring a lawyer as they prepared to get an injunction.

Following the developments, MHC board held a meeting, Thursday, where they reversed the decision.

“We have decided not to hike the rentals from July 1 like we announced earlier on until further notice. We cannot share more details now but we will come back to you after thorough consultations on our position on the matter,” Napolo said in an interview.

Meanwhile, MHC has said it has invested K382 million for the maintenance of its houses.

Although tenants at Ndirande New Lines in Blantyre have welcomed the idea to renovate the houses, they said people that earn less will lose the opportunity to live in the houses.

Maxwell Chalamanda explained that he appreciates what MHC is doing by painting the houses but argues that the increase is inconsiderate.

MHC has about 6,000 houses only countrywide as politicians have been buying the houses for a song. Over 60,000 Malawians are on a waiting list for an opportunity to occupy an MHC house as some pensioners confess that they have been living in MHC houses for over 40 years.

Meanwhile, the institution has been harbouring plans to construct 15,000 houses with 2,500 expected to start in the next financial year.

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