Monday, February 1, 2010

Commune Policy grace period deadline looms

By Thuli Malinga: Northcliff Melville Times

Week ending 29 January 2010

The grace period for the new commune policy which started in August last year is coming to an end and slumlords who continue operating illegally will have to face the law come next month.

The new commune policy was started as a result of the continuing conflict between residents and commune residents.

Some of the concerns raised by the community included noise problems resulting from regular partying by students, overcrowded dwellings and the alteration of the suburbs character in some of the properties.

In order to regulate such issues city council proposed a new policy where commune owners would have to adhere to the following:

There should be a maximum of 10 tenants per commune including the caretaker.

There should be not more than two people in any double bedroom.

Provision shall be made for a common room or rooms and kitchens in the commune.

There should be one bathroom per four tenants

The owner or caretaker of the commune should permanently reside on the property for management purposes and accountability.

Commune management should ensure that a compulsory A3 sign is placed on the front boundary of the property.

This sign should have a 24- hour telephone and email address for residents to contact the manager.

City council has warned that compliance of these by-laws will be monitored by a task team. This includes development management, environmental health, Saps, Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, councilors, student accommodation forums and residents associations.

They will also have partnerships with tertiary institutions alike. More information on the commune policy can be obtained from the City of Johannesburg website.