MHC tenants ask for free houses


Tenants of the Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) Thursday asked the corporation to consider giving them the houses after decades of paying rentals.

MHC Tenants Association Chairman Melvin Kaumphawi said this in Blantyre during a consultative meeting organised by the Ministry of Lands and Urban Development to brief them on some of the reforms being undertaken by MHC.

Kaumphawi said some tenants have been living in the MHC houses for as long as 50 years and it would only make sense that they be given the houses for free.


“Other countries within the region have done it, what about Malawi. We have examples of countries such as Zimbabwe, Tanzania, South Africa and Mozambique which have implemented such policies.

“If they cannot give us the houses for free, they could as well consider selling the houses to us at low prices and arrange a scheme which could allow us to pay over a long period of time,” said Kaumphawi amid cheers from fellow tenants.

He also bemoaned the failure by MHC to maintain the houses, if and when required.


MHC Chief Executive Officer Wezzie Mkandawire said the issue of giving away free houses is a complicated one, arguing that it could better be handled by government.

She, however, observed that the development could spell the end MHC as it could have no houses to look after.

“On maintenance, we are struggling to provide the necessary services because in most cases, we are charging rentals which are below the market value. This is so because of the Act we are using at the moment,” said Mkandawire.

She said the review of the Act would result in MHC charging more realistic rentals but assured the tenants that they will still below private landlords.

Currently, MHC has about 6,500 housing units with over 140,000 applicants on its waiting list.

Mkandawire added that the corporation will build 2,500 housing units this year across the country.

Lands Housing and Urban Development Minister Atupele Muluzi said his ministry will continue to support MHC in ensuring that it continues to deliver their mandate and make improvements where necessary.

“This is why it was important in the spirit of reform, to engage you as tenants and hear what you require. I will also ensure that there is a cordial working relationship between MHC and the MHC Tenants Association,” said Muluzi.

He appealed to the tenants to understand that MHC faces challenges in fulfilling its statutory mandate.

“The challenges are mainly to do with cash flow problems which are a direct result of sub economic rentals which MHC is charging. I, therefore, urge MHC tenants to be patient as MHC tries its best to maintain houses using insufficient resources it has,” added Muluzi.

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