Minister of Housing and Urban Development Randall Mitchell has announced that, next year, the ministry and the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) will be cracking down on the subletting of HDC units.
He said there had been “consistent reports” of people receiving HDC units and renting them out to others at much higher rates than the HDC. He said subletting was contrary to the terms and conditions of the rental agreements, and the licence to occupy agreements, and the Housing Policy.
“This is manifestly unfair and it is wrong. If a beneficiary of a public housing unit from the HDC is subletting that unit, it more likely than not means that they are not in need of affordable housing.
This injustice has to stop. And I am putting those persons engaged in the practice of subletting on notice that we are going to treat very firmly with those matters.”
He said a system would be set up for confidential reporting the problem and, if found guilty, they would consider terminating the original arrangement with the person who received the HDC unit, and give priority to those actually occupying it once they qualified for public housing.
He said, “The HDC’s mandate is to provide affordable housing to low- and middle-income earners. The HDC’s mandate is not to provide opportunities for the creation of landlords to sublet these units to make big profits.”
He made the statement this morning at the housing allocation ceremony for the Bon Air North Housing Development at the Government Campus Plaza, Port-of-Spain. There, 93 units were assigned to HDC applicants, including 20 to members of the protective services.
However, the beneficiaries would not be receiving their keys just yet.
According to a ministry worker, in a new move to be more proactive with regard to delinquent clients, the beneficiaries would not receive their keys until their mortgages were approved by their financial institutions.
He explained that the units were allocated to people who were qualified for mortgages and were pre-approved by their lending institutions. Yesterday, they received their final sales agreement which they would take to their lending institutions to get their mortgages approved for the funds to be transferred to the HDC.
He said the process could take from a month to six weeks to be completed. Then, they would receive their deeds and their keys.