September 25, 2016

Housing Ministry to clamp down on defaulters

By Devina Samaroo

The Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) will be moving to clamp down on defaulters within the housing sector.

During a news conference on Monday, Junior Communities Minister with responsibility for housing, Valerie Sharpe-Patterson made it clear that the Government would have zero tolerance for those persons who defaulted on their land allocations, including those who try to cheat the system.

Junior Communities Minister with responsibility for housing, Valerie Sharpe-Patterson

Junior Communities Minister with responsibility for housing, Valerie Sharpe-Patterson

She noted that a major problem t in the housing sector was that of affluent businesspersons purchasing “core houses” which were initially built to cater for Guyanese citizens who ranked within the low-income bracket.
Sharpe-Patterson explained that the opportunists would purchase the reasonably priced houses and then rent them out at exorbitant costs.

“They would somehow satisfy the requirements to get it (the low-income houses) and then rent them out. I can say to you point blank, we are coming after you,” Patterson firmly stated.

She also disclosed that though it was illegal for persons to sell house lots less than 10 years after acquiring them, persons were still engaging in the practice and measures would be put in place to stop this.

“All around the country we have found that persons having been allocated house lots they are selling house lots for gain. This is illegal. Our policy says you cannot sell within 10 years,” the Minister stated.
Moreover, the CH&PA will be going after persons who are yet to take up possession of land they were allocated.

CH&PA Director of Operations Denise King-Tudor explained that the idea was to give landowners an opportunity to make some progress in building their homes, but if they failed to comply, then the harsh measures must be taken.

According to the official, if persons who were issued land years ago are yet to take up occupancy, those allocations would be rescinded without hesitation.

However, there will be exceptions whereby persons will be given the opportunity to work out a plan with the Agency and given more time to make some progress building.

In other cases where limited infrastructure is preventing landowners from developing their land, they will be given leniency.

It was disclosed that thousands of persons are to be affected by this move given that only 60 per cent of all the land allocated is occupied.

The CH&PA is currently in the process of finalising the list of defaulters.

In fact, the Agency has already started sending out letters to landowners, informing them of Government’s intention to repossess the house lots and encouraging them to occupy their land.

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