When good property turns bad | Business

Big locks and chains clutch closed the gates to the Ridge in Berea, Johannesburg, and guards armed with sjamboks and safety horns stand watch.

Just a few days ago the occupants fled the 245 units when security personnel and the sheriff of the court issued a hard-fought eviction order.

Today the scene is quiet by comparison. Inside, and after a clean-up, the units look better than they did right after the eviction.

Even so, water damage is extensive.

The windows are mostly broken and cupboard doors are either falling off or gone. In some rooms, only pipes remain where the sinks have been ripped from the walls. The communal bathrooms on each floor are trashed and the toilets are in pieces. The smell of urine is inescapable.

The owners of the building, a company formed by a group of entrepreneurs, lost out on rentals of R375