Government is going after delinquent tenants who have ignored their warnings to settle outstanding rent, estimated at more than a million dollars.
Since Monday, tenants in state-run housing estates, have been receiving notices to quit, with at least one tenant in the Country Park High Rise apartments on Country Road, St Michael, opting to pack up and leave for cheaper accommodation and a private landlord.
Another resident, who admitted that she had been issued with at least three eviction notices before the NHC took her to court said she had managed to get some assistance in clearing her $3,000 debt.
However, speaking on behalf of some of the other defaulters, she said there were many genuine cases of persons who simply could not afford to pay.
“I know there are people out there who would say, ‘but it is only $75, or $90, or $150 per week, but things are really, really tough for some people,” she said. “A lot of people have been laid off and it real difficult out here,” she stressed, pointing out that one of the neighbours, who is a schoolteacher, was among those contemplating whether she should leave.
“Some of these people owe $4,000, and in some cases $12,000 in rent. When I went to court and heard some of the figures that totally blowed my mind, because here I was thinking that my figure was a lot,” she told Barbados TODAY.
Another Government tenant, who is facing eviction, pointed out that while the NHC was currently demanding its monies, a number of them were single mothers, who were owed child maintenance by the court.
When contacted, the General Manager of the state-owned Corporation Lynette Napoleon-Young would only confirm that eviction notices had been sent out and that the authorities would be visiting the various housing estates. However, she refused to go into details.
Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman also said he was aware of the situation, although he told Barbados TODAY he had made a recommendation to the NHC management on how to deal with the arrears.
“The approach that I had suggested, and hope would get the confirmation of the board, is that you allow people to get current [with their rents] and pay on the arrears.
“It is no different to when I was Minister of Small Business. That is the same approach,” Kellman said, explaining that “if the world is in difficult times, then it means that people would also be in difficult times, because it is people that make the world.”
However, he issued a warning to those who continually ignore rental notices to honour their financial obligations, saying that in circumstances where people simply ignore their payments, “the minister doesn’t have a choice [but to evict]” since,“The corporation has to pay its bills too,” he stressed.
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