Stopping PPR abuse

Owners and tenants of low-cost units who sub-let risk losing them

HUNDREDS of low-cost housing units, provided by the government for the urban poor, are being sub-let to foreigners.

This growing trend, prevalent in some 30,000 low-cost units under the People’s Housing Project (PPR) in the federal capital, has riled authorities as it defeats the government’s objective of providing homes for the low-income group.

The registered tenants of the units face the risk of having their units withdrawn and their tenancy agreement revoked as it is illegal to sub-let or “sell” the units.

Deputy Federal Territories and Wellbeing Minister Datuk M. Saravanan said as the units were for the poor, or those earning RM1,500 and below monthly, this facility should not be

“Stop the practice or the units will be withdrawn. This is blatant abuse,” he told the New Straits Times.

Saravanan urged tenants of PPR to alert the authorities if they had information that the units were being sub-let.

The NST was alerted to this when a tenant complained that a group of foreigners had been living in her neighbour’s unit. It was later discovered that her neighbour had sub-let the unit
to foreigners and there were also other tenants who had been doing the same.

Checks at PPR projects in the city revealed that some tenants sub-let their units to more than one family, or to groups of up to 10 people, usually foreign workers. Most of them are living
in cramped conditions. The NST also discovered that the “rent” collected by the registered tenants ranges from RM1,200 to RM2,000.

Saravanan said although the Kuala Lumpur City Hall conducted random checks of PPR units, it was not easy to detect if the units had been sub-let.

“We depend on public tip-offs in cases like this. If there are such cases, please alert the authorities.”

He said applicants for PPR units had to undergo strict vetting and only those eligible were given the units.

Besides considering a potential occupant’s  monthly income,   they must be Malaysians, registered with the Housing Management and Community Development Department and not own a property within   35km  of the city.

Under the PPR scheme,  occupants are required to sign a tenancy agreement, with a “rental clause” that says if a unit is sub-let to a third party, the   unit would be withdrawn.

A notice to vacate and surrender the unit will be issued within 30 days  to   occupants and they will be required to settle all rental arrears.

Registered tenants only pay RM124 per month and they are allowed to buy the units for RM35,000  after a certain period.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung acknowledged the problem and said local authorities should respond swiftly to such reports.

“We have heard of such cases before.  There are no two ways about this — unscrupulous occupants will lose their units if they  engage in such activity. We will take back their unit and allot it to someone who truly needs it.”

Chor said the ministry was considering establishing a special unit to manage PPR schemes to counter the problem and also for monitoring and maintenance.

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