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Lookout houses sale to tenants, face challenges as their state are in disrepair

_3018874236When the Honourable Easton Farrell-Taylor as Minister of Agriculture, Housing, Land and the Environment, made the announcement that Government would sell Lookout houses to the tenants, it awoke their ire  and that of those who had been concerned about the standard and condition of the houses Opposition leader of the Legislative Assembly (LegAss), hon. Donaldson Romeo.

The concern of persons has to do with the state of repairs that several of the houses that the tenants are told they can own outright by paying whatever is owed on the land. In an answer to the Hon. Romeo’s question in the LegAss. “In assigning families to these units, a lease/purchase agreement was drawn up, giving the sitting tenants the opportunity to purchase the property outright or on a rent to own basis. ..In arriving at the decision to transfer ownership, government looked at the amount paid in rent over the 14years…The values that are being used are post-dated values which were established in a valuation report which was done in 2001,” the Minister explained, noting that, “…to suggest that the houses have no value is indeed misleading.”

The minister was asked, “To explain exactly why the decision was made to transfer the houses to tenants given the dilapidated and vulnerable state of the Force 10 houses.”

In March this year Romeo had written to the Minister, reminding that Governor Barnes Jones had, “commissioned a study on the conditions of Force Ten and other houses in Lookout, Davy Hill and Shinland built by DfID and the Government of Montserrat (GoM) in 1998/9 for displaced people here in Montserrat.”_4935876618

He pointed out that the report, “expressed serious concerns on the state of the houses and their vulnerability to hurricane and earthquakes. These houses have long since proved to be quite unsuitable to climatic conditions,” he observed suggesting to the Minister, “…a site visit will fully confirm.”

He said further, “In 2007 – DfID admitted that their temporary houses were past their intended use…”

Minister Farrell gave a lengthy response in the recent LegAss. “…I must agree that some of the properties are in need of some repairs, but to suggest that the properties are in a dilapidated state is misleading as our records indicate that there are only five (5) houses that are considered to be in a dilapidated state on the government housing-stock register… None of these properties are situated in Lookout and none of these are force 10 units,” he told the honourable house Assembly, in part.

The reports dating back even prior to 2007 says otherwise. Informed opinions however, have said that the would-be owners can not be receiving a fair deal, primarily because of the deteriorated condition of the houses which have not been maintained by government for many years, causing hardship on the tenants who suffered further difficulties with their own maintenance responsibility .

_1585185989The Minister in his response in the Assembly also said, “The values that are being used are post-dated values which were established in a valuation report which was done in 2001.  Madam Speaker, may I suggest that property values have increased.  And it is for this reason why we encourage persons to consider this offer and not to be misguided by anyone – there are occupants in some Force 10 houses who have seized the opportunity and have already purchased their property based on the sale agreement which the tenants had established with government 14 years ago.”

We have discovered that the management of these houses has not been near what it ought to have been in many ways. One matter that presents itself is that the document that controls the parties involved in the houses, may not stand legal scrutiny. But more importantly is that government may face legal challenges over monies paid and asked to be paid.

Information reveal that government had not been meeting their obligation to carryout repairs, according to them, because of lack of funding. Premier Meade confirming the sale plan, said also: “…Now people will possibly claim why are you giving them houses that are not in the best of condition,” he said.

He continued, “Government does not have the money to fix the houses, neither can we continue the maintenance cost, the maintenance costs are high, which is why we want to work with the people to provide for them the concessionary financing so they can do the necessary improvements…,” he told reporters.

The first observation one source told TMR, “How can they find money to finance loans, but have none to meet their obligations?” they asked.

Tenants, who have support from the Opposition Leader Romeo and elsewhere, are rallying to challenge government on what a report said among other things in 2007 should be done : ‘Halting the rapid corrosion of steel supports and metal patio bars on 80 Force-10 units.  This should be done annually but has not been done since 2005.; Replacement of corroded galvanized roofs and external doors on all estates.’

The opposition leader is asking government about the decency of now selling those houses, giving them to the tenants at what they call the cost of the balance owed on the lands.

_2462695452 _1730731752

 

 

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_3018874236When the Honourable Easton Farrell-Taylor as Minister of Agriculture, Housing, Land and the Environment, made the announcement that Government would sell Lookout houses to the tenants, it awoke their ire  and that of those who had been concerned about the standard and condition of the houses Opposition leader of the Legislative Assembly (LegAss), hon. Donaldson Romeo.

The concern of persons has to do with the state of repairs that several of the houses that the tenants are told they can own outright by paying whatever is owed on the land. In an answer to the Hon. Romeo’s question in the LegAss. “In assigning families to these units, a lease/purchase agreement was drawn up, giving the sitting tenants the opportunity to purchase the property outright or on a rent to own basis. ..In arriving at the decision to transfer ownership, government looked at the amount paid in rent over the 14years…The values that are being used are post-dated values which were established in a valuation report which was done in 2001,” the Minister explained, noting that, “…to suggest that the houses have no value is indeed misleading.”

The minister was asked, “To explain exactly why the decision was made to transfer the houses to tenants given the dilapidated and vulnerable state of the Force 10 houses.”

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In March this year Romeo had written to the Minister, reminding that Governor Barnes Jones had, “commissioned a study on the conditions of Force Ten and other houses in Lookout, Davy Hill and Shinland built by DfID and the Government of Montserrat (GoM) in 1998/9 for displaced people here in Montserrat.”_4935876618

He pointed out that the report, “expressed serious concerns on the state of the houses and their vulnerability to hurricane and earthquakes. These houses have long since proved to be quite unsuitable to climatic conditions,” he observed suggesting to the Minister, “…a site visit will fully confirm.”

He said further, “In 2007 – DfID admitted that their temporary houses were past their intended use…”

Minister Farrell gave a lengthy response in the recent LegAss. “…I must agree that some of the properties are in need of some repairs, but to suggest that the properties are in a dilapidated state is misleading as our records indicate that there are only five (5) houses that are considered to be in a dilapidated state on the government housing-stock register… None of these properties are situated in Lookout and none of these are force 10 units,” he told the honourable house Assembly, in part.

The reports dating back even prior to 2007 says otherwise. Informed opinions however, have said that the would-be owners can not be receiving a fair deal, primarily because of the deteriorated condition of the houses which have not been maintained by government for many years, causing hardship on the tenants who suffered further difficulties with their own maintenance responsibility .

_1585185989The Minister in his response in the Assembly also said, “The values that are being used are post-dated values which were established in a valuation report which was done in 2001.  Madam Speaker, may I suggest that property values have increased.  And it is for this reason why we encourage persons to consider this offer and not to be misguided by anyone – there are occupants in some Force 10 houses who have seized the opportunity and have already purchased their property based on the sale agreement which the tenants had established with government 14 years ago.”

We have discovered that the management of these houses has not been near what it ought to have been in many ways. One matter that presents itself is that the document that controls the parties involved in the houses, may not stand legal scrutiny. But more importantly is that government may face legal challenges over monies paid and asked to be paid.

Information reveal that government had not been meeting their obligation to carryout repairs, according to them, because of lack of funding. Premier Meade confirming the sale plan, said also: “…Now people will possibly claim why are you giving them houses that are not in the best of condition,” he said.

He continued, “Government does not have the money to fix the houses, neither can we continue the maintenance cost, the maintenance costs are high, which is why we want to work with the people to provide for them the concessionary financing so they can do the necessary improvements…,” he told reporters.

The first observation one source told TMR, “How can they find money to finance loans, but have none to meet their obligations?” they asked.

Tenants, who have support from the Opposition Leader Romeo and elsewhere, are rallying to challenge government on what a report said among other things in 2007 should be done : ‘Halting the rapid corrosion of steel supports and metal patio bars on 80 Force-10 units.  This should be done annually but has not been done since 2005.; Replacement of corroded galvanized roofs and external doors on all estates.’

The opposition leader is asking government about the decency of now selling those houses, giving them to the tenants at what they call the cost of the balance owed on the lands.

_2462695452 _1730731752