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KL Town Hall owed RM50m in rent arrears

PETALING JAYA: Residents of a popular housing project run by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall owe around RM50 million in back rent, partly due to a lack of enforcement to collect debts from wandering residents.

A resident the sun spoke in one of these housing areas said rent payments were a lower priority than ‘more urgent’ bills because payment to the town hall, as landlord, could be deferred for as long as needed .

A resident, who wanted to be known as Hashim, said his priority was to pay off his car and furniture loans.

“If I delay these payments, the bank will have my car towed away or my furniture repossessed.”

Hashim said he usually pays his rent towards the end of the year because that’s when he gets his annual bonus.

“My children live with us and they also work, but they are single.

“So they will contribute at the end of the year and we will pay whatever amount we can afford after accounting for our car loans and other liabilities such as credit card bills.”

Hashim added that he had only received notices from the town hall asking him to pay his rent.

“It’s not that we don’t pay. If we did that, we might have to move out of our apartment. We pay once every three or four months when we receive a reminder. We still owe about RM10,000.

While admitting he should be more responsible in paying his rent, the eldest said he had lived in the unit for over 20 years and had never had any issues with the town hall when he didn’t pay his rent.
on time.

“I think we are good compared to a lot of others. Yet, although we may seem fine financially, I support my family on an average income of RM2,500 per month as a nasi lemak vendor.

Hashim said his neighbor was receiving housing assistance from a government agency.

“But this neighbor used his father’s name to ask for help when he is working and has a stable income. His children are also professionals and help him financially,” he said, adding that he was honest and paid his rent, although it was late.

A city hall spokesman said the longest time without paying rent was 12 years, while the average is between eight and 12 years.

Although rent is set at a flat rate of RM124 per month, which is considered low, less than 50% of its 38,000 low-income residents pay regularly.

He said more than 21,000 residents owed between RM1,000 and 10,000 in rent.

Last week, Kuala Lumpur City Hall organized a Meet the Residents program to contact struggling tenants who have high rent arrears.

“The arrears owed by the tenants, who were called to attend our face-to-face session, were between RM9,325 and RM46,742.90, accumulated over eight to 12 years.

“The program was carried out by the City Hall’s Department of Community Development and Urban Welfare to address ‘problematic’ tenants in the popular housing project in Kerinchi, Lembah Pantai,” the spokesperson said.