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Tuesday September 10, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Thursday September 12, 2013 MYT 4:27:30 PM
by yip yoke tengphotos by samuel ong and sam tham
Lucrative venture: One of the many houses in Taman Tasik Semenyih has been converted to house more tenants. There is high demand from students attending a private university nearby. It is said another university will be built in the vicinity.
MANY houseowners in the Klang Valley are laughing their way to the bank renting out their properties to a big number of tenants in each unit, turning a blind eye to health and safety concerns.
This situation is especially prevalent in areas populated by students and immigrant workers.
For students, the houses are usually partitioned into much smaller rooms or converted into hostels by building additional levels.
Mostly students in Semenyih
One such area is Taman Tasik Semenyih, located near a private university.
Houseowners are taking advantage of the lack of enforcement to make big bucks.
A resident who wanted to be known only as Mrs Tan, said some landlords in the area were fetching as high as RM10,000 in rent monthly.
“These landlords have made a fortune from renting out their semi-detached and bungalow units in this neighbourhood to students.
“But they have ‘defaced’ this area, which was meant to be exclusive and high-end when it was launched more than 10 years ago,” she said.
She added that many of the owners bought the units about three years ago for RM250,000 each. Some of them have converted the double-storey semi-detached units into hostels with up to 20 rooms, rented to students at about RM500 each.
Tan said that many single-storey bungalows that originally had three rooms were sub-divided into eight rooms, with owners raking in almost RM5,000 in rent per month.
The high profit has attracted more investors to the area, as a drive around the neighbourhood saw several such hostels under construction.
“I think about 20% of the houses are rented to a very high number of students.
The Kajang Municipal Council had taken action some years back but could not eradicate the problem.
“Putting that many tenants in one unit is very dangerous, what happens if a fire breaks out? Also, even though they make so much money, they do not maintain their properties properly. Many of these hostels are an eyesore, with litter scattered all over.
“The students can be very noisy at times and it is a nuisance for other residents,” said Tan.
Migrant workers prefer KL
As for migrant workers, they are usually squeezed into small units under accommodation arrangements made by their employer or they decide to share to save on rent.
Abdullah Hukum Apartment Joint Management Body (JMB) chairman Mohamad Daud said about 70 units at the apartments were occupied by foreign workers, as arranged by employers through agents.
“Even though the unit is meant for just six people as advised by Kuala Lumpur City Hall, we noticed that some house up to 20 workers who are on different shifts,” he said, adding that while the workers were generally well-behaved, they could be noisy sometimes.
He said that the JMB had no authority over the number of occupants in a unit, but urged houseowners to stick to the recommended capacity.
“Just keep it to six tenants if they want to save on repairs. Imagine the wear and tear when 10 people share one bathroom,” he remarked.
There are also a few such cramped lodging in Jalan Loke Yew where many Myammar workers and refugees like to stay.
Locals said a three-room unit can go for up to RM2,000 a month compared to RM600 before. Tenants who cannot afford that have no choice but to share the unit with many others.
Over at Sungai Way New Village, Petaling Jaya, Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lau Weng San said some residents rented their properties to between 60 and 100 foreign workers.
“Out of 700 houses in Sungai Way, probably 100 are rented out.
“The new village is popular as it is situated next to many industrial areas in Petaling Jaya,” he said, adding that the main concern was cleanliness.
Lau highlighted that PKNS was building proper hostels for the foreigners and some factories had plans to move their workers there.
The problem also exists in Subang, Bandar Sunway and Petaling Jaya, and the list is growing.
Spokesmen from Kuala Lumpur City Hall and Petaling Jaya City Council said the local government did not have any ruling over the number of occupants permitted in a residential unit.
However, they can take action if the said property is renovated or extended without following the specifications outlined.
Tags / Keywords:
Central Region, Property, rent, tenant, overcrowding
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