Thursday, April 25, 2024

Tenant demands refund from NHC

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Junior Roach wants back the $9 505 which he paid to the National Housing Corporation (NHC) to purchase his housing unit and he wants it with interest added.
The 45-year-old tenant, who lives at Government’s housing estate at Field Place, Bayville, St Michael, is angry that after paying the money to purchase the unit he has lived in for over 40 years, he still has not received the title deeds.
“I want them to put me back on a rental plan and give me every cent which I paid with interest. Up to this day they cannot give me the title deeds and all I am hearing is that they are not ready for these units yet,” an angry Roach stated.
He explained that back in 2004 he received a letter from the NHC informing him that the unit was being sold to him for $11 605 and he could start paying $500 a month until the full amount was paid.
Overjoyed at the prospect of owning the house which he had lived in with his mother from the time he was three years old, Roach faithfully began paying the money.
“I did not even know that the units were selling. I started to pay the money every month and then on May 4, 2008, I received another letter advising me to stop the payments because I would be getting the unit for free.”
At that time he had already paid $9 505.
He said he subsequently had a meeting at the NHC with Roger Ward, who outlined all of the conditions of the sale to him.
“He told me that the NHC would pay all of my legal fees to complete the transaction and that they would also do all the necessary repairs to the unit and close off my backyard,” said Roach, who resides in a four-apartment unit with another tenant living above him.
However, he charged that after waiting in vain for these things to be done, he went back to the NHC to find out what was causing the delay.
“Mr Ward was not there, so I was put on to Mr Wayne Speede. All he was telling me is that they were not ready to hand over the units. As far as I was concerned, it was a lot of hot air and I told them to give me back my money and put me back on a rental plan.”
Roach stated that since 2008 he had been to the NHC on several occasions, having meetings with different individuals, including general manager Lanette Napoleon.
“I wrote the Prime Minister, who is responsible for this constituency. I went to his office and spoke to his secretary and she told me that he would get back to me. Up to this day I have heard nothing from him.
“I also wrote the Minister of Housing Michael Lashley. I wrote Irene Sandiford-Garner. I wrote about seven different people, and up to this day nobody has responded to tell me what is going on.
“I am upset because I was comfortable paying rent. They can’t come to people and get their hopes high and then treat them as if they didn’t exist. In all the years I have been living here I have never called on them to do anything with the unit. I did all of the work which was needed myself. All I want them to do is to come and show me where my landmarks are so that I can close off my yard and do what I have to do. I am not going to do like the other people and build on things – I am following the law,” Roach cried as he pointed out that he had experienced several instances of vandalism.
“I am stressed out. I am not anything to do with any political party. I am about me and my rights. Whoever mess it up should fix it,” he said, pointing out that he would take the NHC to court to recover his money.
In response to Roach’s concerns, project coordinator at the NHC, Roger Ward, pointed out that there had been a problem with finalizing titles for the units in Bayville and several other estates.
 “With regard to finalizing titles to this and other units in the Bayville estate, as in several other estates, the corporation has been unable to proceed due to the presence of numerous illegal extensions and the corporation’s inability to secure the necessary Town Planning approvals. To remedy this problem, Cabinet has recently agreed to a legislative process,” he stated.
Ward, who manages the Free Transfer Programme, explained that when Roach accepted the offer to purchase the unit back in 2004, “at deposit, the corporation was unable to proceed with the titling of the unit as the surveying work had not been completed.”
He added: “Subsequent to this and on changing of administrations in January 2008, a new programme, Free Transfer of Units, was put in place by the new administration.
“Mr Roach also qualified under this programme and was written to so inform. One condition set by Cabinet was that there would be no refund to persons who previously fell under the sale programme but who now qualified under the free transfer programme.
“Cabinet determined in such cases that no further payments were to be made by the beneficiaries and that the corporation would absorb all legal costs for such persons. Mr Roach was informed of this condition.”
He stated that Roach had been persistent in his demand for a refund and the corporation has constantly reminded him of Cabinet’s decision.

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