Abandoned houses are one of the biggest problems affecting the Malvern, Bez Valley and Kensington areas.
“Some owners are untraceable and some are, but they do not care about the properties anymore, leaving it to be hijacked and become a nest of crime,” said the ward 66 councillor, Clr Carlos da Rocha.
He said it usually starts when people move out of rented houses and owners struggle to get new tenants.
“This leaves the properties vulnerable to opportunistic hijackers. It also starts when tenants refuse to pay rent, water and lights, leaving the home owner with a huge debt,” said Clr Da Rocha.
“I have one property in Bez Valley where the actual owner gets upset when we call him to inform him that there are people who want to move in illegally. He actually gets abusive towards the community members who are concerned about the state of the property,” he said.
“Unless the owner of the property complains to the police about their property being invaded, the SAPS will not act on it because there is no complaint forthcoming from the owners. I always try to track the owners of these properties, but unfortunately it becomes a problem because once a home owner moves out, it becomes impossible to track him down to take possession of the property,” said Clr Da Rocha.