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Pre-approved lots for HDC hopefuls

Saturday, November 11, 2017
Housing Minister Randall Mitchell during the launch of Government’s Aided Self-Help Housing Programme at the Ministry’s headquarters in Port-of-Spain yesterday. Photo by:ABRAHAM DIAZ

The Housing Development Corporation yesterday launched a new initiative aimed at giving potential home-owners easier access to pre-approved housing lots.

Housing Minister Randall Mitchell said the Aided Self-Help Housing Programme, a spin-off of Land for the Landless, complements the private/public/partnership model where developers are given State lands to construct homes.

Mitchell identified at least 20,000 potential homeowners in the East/West corridor that can afford a home costing between $750,000 to $1.5M.

This demand, he said, should be able to provide any financial capital that developers may need.

Addressing the launch of the land use project, Mitchell said the aim is to clear up the 174,000 housing application backlog at the HDC. Mitchell said the 1,000 initial lots were already approved and are now ready for distribution.

The programme is two-fold—for landowners seeking to construct a home and for those without land or house willing to purchase land to construct a home.

The average cost of the land, all in Central Trinidad, Mitchell said will be sold at 30 per cent of the market value and estimated the costs to be between $45,000 to $80,000 per housing lot.

Applications for the lots will begin on November 20 and will last for two months following which there will be a vetting process and a randomly selected draw.

All applicants must be 21 years or older, a resident of the country and working for a monthly income not exceeding $21,000 and does not own a home of their own.

Mitchell said the programme offers two and five per cent mortgages with the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance but successful applicants could seek to fund their homes from other financial institutions.

HDC will also provide if wanted, a list of registered contractors and pre-approved house plans for applicants to choose from if so desired. Successful applicants have two years to complete the home and have a ten-year wait before they can sell or lease the land.

Mitchell said anyone in violation of this will be breaching the contract but could not say what penalties, if any, are in place to deal with errant landowners who either sell or rent their property before the allotted time.

Mitchell said none of the lots was on agricultural lands and all had the necessary approvals.

He added that HDC tenants in rental apartments are encouraged to apply for the land and those who receive them should vacate their rental properties and make room for others to utilise them.

He said the difference between this programme and the Land for the Landless, was that the current administration was focused on the citizens to benefit from it while the past administration seemed focused on the land developers who profited from preparing the allotted parcels of land.

Mitchell said current HDC applicants awaiting housing can also apply and those who may have a dilapidated home on a piece of land may be able to access technical support to reconstruct a new home.


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