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Why are million-dollar homes ‘rent to own’?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Why is the HDC selling million-dollar homes on the “Rent to Own” scheme?

It has been discovered that the HDC has selected 46 people to acquire the million-dollar condominiums at Victoria Keys under the “Rent to Own” scheme. There are many questions on this decision to the Board of HDC and by extension the Minister of Housing.

We have been told many times that the HDC’s mandate is to provide housing to low income families and those in dire need of shelter. It is a fact that the previous administration went against this mandate and constructed million-dollar condominiums which would target the middle to upper class in the society. Low income housing should be for low income citizens.

In the situation where the government has a cash flow problem one would think that these million-dollar condominium units will be sold outright, thereby increasing the funds available to the HDC. There are banks and mortgage institutions which are willing to offer mortgages to buy these units. From information in the public domain the sale can easily generate over $46 million dollars.

The following questions are directed to the HDC’s Board:

• On what basis were the purchasers chosen to get into the “Rent to Own” scheme?

• Who decides and approves the recipients of this scheme?

• What down payment is required to seal the deal?

• What are the constraints on sale or subletting of the units?

The HDC should provide the people of Trinidad and Tobago with a list of the successful persons.

This is a case where TT Transparency Institute and the opposition should demand that the government provide answers. We cannot let a few chosen persons acquire million-dollar properties with a mere one-month rental fee. This is highly discriminatory.

I expected a tremendous negative reaction from the public, opposition, trade unions, social welfare groups etc, but this matter is not being discussed or questioned.

The Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister should be asking the same questions.



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