When regulatory fuzziness leads to anarchy

Housing associations and cooperatives, known as ” Widdadiyates (friendly)“, have multiplied in recent years in view of the advantages they present for citizens wishing to acquire a house at a more affordable price than what is offered on the market (tax advantages, etc.). That said, beware of the scam. The vagueness of regulations has put several adherents to this concept before several problems. These are generally problems of guarantees and various abuses on the part of the managers of these associations.

In recent years, many cases of fraud have broken out within housing associations and cooperatives. This is the case of a Amicale in Harhoura, a housing estate built in 1994, facing the sea and comprising some 147 housing units and shops, and acquired mainly by MREs.

28 years later, the members and inhabitants of this residence having paid the full amount demanded by the property developer, who also happens to be the president of the association, have no legal document attesting to their ownership of the accommodation.

As the work on another part of this residence has not been completed, the members, who currently live in their homes, still do not have a residence permit, and therefore no right before the law.

Basically, and for the municipality of Harhoura, these members live illegally since it is a construction site still under construction, as explained to MoroccoLatestNews UK by the local administration. And to obtain this sesame, it is generally the promoter who makes the request.

Except that today, the inhabitants are confronted with many problems with the real estate developer-president, who wishes to add a 3rd level to the construction, or “above the heads of the inhabitants”. Better, they are asked to leave the premises for their safety, without being guaranteed accommodation for the construction period.

According to the municipality, and if the developer meets all the required conditions (expertise, architect’s agreement, etc.), he has the right to raise his building. But for the inhabitants of this residence, it is their life that is at stake.

Located in front of the sea, these buildings are built on a very sensitive ground which cannot support an elevation. Fearing that the building would collapse on them, as happened twice in Casablanca, the residents filed several complaints with the administration, and even before the courts.

We have suffered from septic tank problems for years. We also call on the Redal to vacuum these pits. We joined this Amicale in 1996. When it was created, we came to a contractual agreement with the president for a R+2, with the exception of building 16, which is already in litigation, etc. During these years, we were in conflict with the president of the Amicale for him to give us our documents. We have paid our dues, except for a few. The general assembly has not been held for several years, there is no longer a Widadiya office, neither secretary general, nor deputy, nor accountant, so we do not know how the Amicale is managed. He’s the only decision-maker on board, and that’s not normal“, says one of the residents of the residence.

When he wanted to start his construction project for the 3rd floor, he started to reinforce the beams on the pretext that the municipality asked him to do so for safety reasons. But he was preparing the way for the elevation of the buildings. For land titless which we still do not have, the president of the Widadiya says that they are ready. But he’s blackmailing us: To get your titles, I’m going to have to build a 3rd floor. Otherwise, no title“, explains this member.

Following complaints filed by members of the Amicale, the King’s prosecutor at the Court of First Instance of Temara ordered the work to be stopped on April 29, 2022, according to documents obtained by MoroccoLatestNews.

Except that the president of the association and his legal representative AF, ” who believes himself to be above the law, and claims to have contacts in high placess” continues the work, despite the judgment pronounced by the court and the risk to the safety of the inhabitants, according to the testimonies of the members who confided in us.

Asked about this scenario, the Municipality of Harhoura told us that the members of this association, who have lived for more than 20 years and are connected to the electricity and telephone network in their name, do not have a residence permit, and therefore, should not even be there since it is, in the eyes of the authorities, a construction site under construction.

For more than 20 years, the promoter in question refused to apply for this permit until he had completed his entire project. He even refused according to the members, to hold the general assembly to discuss the problems and why not, to settle them. Except that the constant conflicts due to the non-issuance of housing documents and the lack of communication, led the two parties into an endless showdown.

For clarification, since July 2019, the residence permit is no longer necessary to be able to connect your property to the electricity network. The goal is not to penalize owners in the face of delays faced by some promoters to obtain this administrative document.

Today, the Court of First Instance of Temara demanded an independent expertise which will start this Wednesday, to ensure that the buildings in question can support the elevation of a 3rd floor. In the meantime, the promoter is continuing its work despite the judgment pronounced.

This scenario brings to the surface the problem faced by citizens who have been attracted by the concept of Widadiyates“. A method of acquiring housing that is confronted with a framework and regulations full of vagueness and gaps.

Citizens who have made this choice sometimes show ” naivete by placing their trust in certain real estate developers, without surrounding themselves with all the necessary guarantees intended to protect them in the event of a dispute. Similarly, the legal framework governing these cooperatives needs to be revised in order to protect the rights of members and cut off the road to scammers.

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