Tenants who purposely do not pay their rent and, consequently, owe the Government thousands of dollars in arrears are being told that while they may have rights, at the end of the day, the rights of landlords must also be respected.
This point was underscored by Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, who emphasised that it was negligent on the tenant’s part to “feel they could forego paying their rent”.
“Something is fundamentally wrong when individuals can occupy your space sometimes for years without paying rent, so I simply ask those delinquent tenants to make arrangements with the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation to address their rent arrears,” the minister stressed.
In relation to the BIDC, which falls under his portfolio, Inniss maintained that it was up to the corporate body to decide how best to deal with the situation of tenants failing to pay their rent, as within recent times they had sought to evict individuals or enterprises from their space.
He said: “There have been those who have been non-performing or refuse to make any effort to communicate with BIDC on settling their arrears… Even in the best of economic times some companies were just not paying their rent and I am mindful that there are a few … who adopt the attitude it is government and, therefore, you do not have to pay rent…
“It is a very unfortunate attitude to adopt because at the end of the day, all of us form the government… Politicians come and politicians go, but we must continue to survive and, therefore, it is wrong for anybody to figure that they are just not paying rent and they are not making an effort when they get in trouble to pay.”
He noted that stronger business development services coming from the BIDC was critical as they could not assist in the development of a business if they did not know who the businesses were and what challenges they were having.
“You cannot be an effective business development officer if you seek to spend all of your time in an office pushing paper,” the minister said, adding that those in the public service who were tasked with business development functions “must get out there, be proactive, roll up their sleeves, know who their clients are and commit to a partnership with them”.
He added that “good” business development officers would know when the company was in trouble or heading down that road and not wait for a note to come from the accounts department about rent arrears for a red flag to be raised.