The High Court in Zomba has rebuffed an application by the Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) to vacate an injunction obtained by its tenants that restrains the corporation from effecting a 48 percent house rental adjustment.
MHC planned to implement the adjustment in full effective on Friday September 1 2017 contrary to initial suggestions to roll it out in phases.
However, on Wednesday last week, the tenants through their lawyer Maxwell Tembo obtained an injunction restraining the MHC from effecting the adjustment.
The tenants are protesting the hike on the ground that it is unreasonable and do not reflect the rising cost of living in the country.
Speaking in an interview on Tuesday, MHC Tenants Association spokesperson Goodnews Mphande said MHC lawyers tried to vacate the injunction but judge Redson Kapindu rebuffed their application.
Efforts to get comments from MHC spokesperson Ernestina Lunguzi proved futile as she was locked up in a meeting.
Earlier in June, the MHC tenants threatened to hold a nationwide strike and drag the corporation to court after it had communicated that it was going to hike house rentals by an average 48 percent supposedly to be put into effect on July 1.
It was after the threat that the overall increase percentage was reduced to 43 percent, which the tenants still protested, forcing MHC to rescind its decision until further notice.
A month later, MHC announced that it would implement new house rentals for its units nationwide.
MHC justified its decision to adjust the rentals upwards to raise funds for maintenance works, construction of more houses and to meet escalating costs.
MHC chief executive officer Eunice Napolo is on record to have told journalists that the corporation has in recent years been surviving on sales of plots and not on house rental revenue; hence, does not have enough funds to maintain its houses.
Boasting of about 6 000 housing units across the country, MHC is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament of 1964 and is wholly owned by the Malawi Government.
Under the MHC Act of 1964 the corporation is empowered to construct houses, develop plots and maintain existing houses and plots.