Abandoned house nightmare

The abandoned house at 65 A and B Central Circle. Picture: Karen Kotze

Residents of Central Circle are at their wits’ end over an abandoned house that has become a thorn in the neighbourhood’s side.

The house, situated at 65 A and B Central Circle, was vacated in 2012 when its owner relocated to Australia.

Since then the house has been empty and has become home to vagrants and alleged drug dealers.

Residents and neighbours have lodged several complaints with the City of Cape Town and ward councillors but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

The City, however, is adamant that it has done its part and executive director for safety and security, Richard Bosman, said the City is about to close the case file on the problem house as the homeowner has complied with the Problem Building By-Law 2010 by boarding up the house and putting a “no trespassing” sign on the property.

He said the property was declared a problem building in 2017 and the trespassing on the property should be dealt with by the owner by laying a charge with the police as the City does not conduct evictions on private property.

However, when the Echo visited the house on Sunday February 17, no signs on the property could be seen.

At the time of going to print, Mr Bosman had not responded to the Echo’s question as to when the “no trespassing” sign was put up.

Bonnie Murdoch, who lives next to the house, said neighbours were confronted with noisy trespassers on a weekly basis. They drink, use drugs and they can hear windows being smashed and have seen copper pipes being pulled from the walls. A while ago they attempted to steal the geyser, she said.

She said the house was also a health hazard and that her husband had found used condoms and needles have been found on the property.

“The house is completely stripped and is an empty shell,” she said.

In an attempt to keep intruders out of the house, her husband had taken it upon himself to board up the windows after they were broken and he did so continuously after every break-in, Ms Murdoch said.

He mows the lawn and removes garbage from the premises.

“It’s really scary when you are at home and you have this commotion outside your house. You don’t know what these people will do, especially when they are high,” she said.

She said she had written hundreds of emails to the City, had spoken to the ward councillors and tracked the owner of the house down.

She offered to help him let out the property but he declined and made it clear he was not interested in helping.

He had not responded to recent emails, she said.

Ms Murdoch said a laminated “no trespassing” sign had been put up many months ago but had been washed away by the rain and had not been replaced.

Patricia Hebbard who lives across the road from the property said the house was bringing the entire neighbourhood down.

She said not a week went by that police were not called to attend to the “shenanigans” of the homeless and the “druggies” who had made themselves at home behind the walls.

Ms Hebbard said she believed the only way to solve the problem was for the City to auction the house.

Fish Hoek Community Police Forum chairman, André Blom said Valley North Neighbourhood Watch were often called out to attend to rowdy street people and people using and selling drugs on the premises.

Fish Hoek police spokesman, Warrant Officer Peter Middelton said he too was aware of the problem and confirmed that the station had received complaints about activities at the house but said no arrests had been made.

Mr Blom said it was sad that the City did not deem the complaints serious enough to erect a “no trespassing” sign and have the house boarded up and is now making it the residents’ problem.

“This is a case where the law-abiding, tax paying citizens must keep suffering,” he said.