The National University of Science and Technology (Nust) has engaged property owners who rent out accommodation to the university students following an outcry from students that rentals had been hiked beyond the reach of many.
A survey conducted by CITE on January revealed that most property owners in suburbs such as Selborne Park, Riverside, Sunninghill, and Khumalo hiked the rentals by as much as 200 percent.
The property owners are now charging between $150 and $200 per month for a single room while others were said to be demanding payment in foreign currency.
This forced students to approach the university management to try and come up with a solution to the issue.
On Friday last week, property owners met with the Nust director of residences Peter Zwide Khumalo and Student Representative Council to come up with the resolutions around the rental hikes.
According to the minutes of the meeting seen by CITE, the students lamented the hike in rentals.
“The representative (students) made an outcry about recent rental increases that have moved from the usual average of $80 to $200(bond) when services have not improved at all. The student also noted the demand by some landlords to be paid in foreign currency when it is known that the USD is scarce in this country,” read part of the minutes.
“He appealed to landlords to appreciate the financial strain it gives to the parents. Some landlords are demanding a full Semester payment all at once when the Semester begins. Most residences are crowded and they are lacking in conducive study conditions. They have no tables or study desks”.
Some of the property owners who attended the meeting said they were forced to hike rentals due to the economic situation in the country.
“Rentals are difficult to maintain at low figures with the inflationary conditions being experienced. There are cost increases and for the landlords to keep rentals at figures that are demanded by the students is difficult. However, they were told that NUST charges $350 per Semester,” the minutes read.
“The landlords expressed concern about the behaviour of some students that is appalling relating to drinking, noise, poor hygiene and handling of property”.
The Acting Deputy Dean of Students Stylish Magida appealed to property owners to absorb more students as the university has introduced a new March intake.
“Acting Deputy Dean of Student explained to landlords that there will be a new intake of students in mid-March 2018. The appeal was that those landlords with extra accommodation assist in absorbing the extra students that are coming.
“Ms. Magida spoke very broadly covering student welfare, student relationship with landlords(child-parent), student behaviour, health, security, morality, cleanliness and study conditions.
“She explained in detail why increasing rentals is a challenge to students and their parents citing, fees at NUST, fees at other schools for the other children, transport costs, food costs and the economy in general. She appealed to the landlords to increase rentals after consideration of a whole lot of issues around the student”.