The financially struggling National Housing Corporation (NHC) is moving to crack down on delinquent tenants.
Minister of Housing Denis Kellman has instructed the statutory agency to call in tenants who are lagging behind with payments in a bid to clear up the outstanding amounts.
Kellman told Barbados TODAY the situation could not be allowed to continue unchecked, particularly in light of the persistent financial issues that have been plaguing the NHC.
“I’ve asked the NHC to call in all those who owe, work out a plan with them . . . In order for us to help other people, we must be able to have revenue,” Kellman said.
While he could not say how much money was owed or provide an estimate of how many tenants were delinquent, the minister acknowledged that the issue was a “really big problem”.
At the same time, he was clear that the NHC would be taking a “people’s approach” rather than a hardline position, bearing in mind the ongoing economic challenges in the country.
“What I’ve said to them [NHC] is if the world is in a crisis, people would be in a crisis too. The same way we would have a deficit, they would have a deficit too, but the same way we understand that we have to [meet] our commitments, they have to understand they have to pay theirs,” Kellman argued.
“We would take a people’s approach to it and that is, ‘ok, you’re in arrears, start paying the current’. We don’t feel proud to have to send someone to collect or to post a notice. Most of the time you see that happen, we would have written and we would have asked people to come and they ignore us. You cannot owe and ignore.”
The minister indicated his intention to meet with tenants, pointing out that he wanted to explain the situation to them directly.
“I prefer to speak to them so they would understand there’s a human approach to it and after I have spoken and the officials have spoken, and they [tenants] ignore, then any number could play because they would have been given the opportunity to come and make peace with their souls,” Kellman added.