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Tenants owe Wedco $300k in rent

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Tenants housed at Albert and Victoria Rows turned out in droves to hear the latest redevelopment plans by Wedco that will see the dilapidated buildings declared condemned.

The two-hour meeting on Thursday was split into two sessions.

The first hour focused on the project schedule for the new 20 units at Victoria Place, followed by a question-and-answer session.

General Manager Andrew Dias said: “It was the most well attended meeting that I have seen in the last ten years with a total of 21 units being represented, most of which were from Albert and Victoria Row.

“All tenants had the opportunity to receive answers to all of their questions.”

One of the main questions focused on rent and the new rates for the new units, in addition to relocation expectations.

Tenants who intend to move into the new complex were urged to make their intentions known as soon as possible to discuss options.

Rent for the two bedroom unit will be $1,650 a month, a three bedroom unit will go for $1,850.

Initial estimates were in the range of $1,900 for a two-bedroom unit and $2,100 per month for three bedroom units.

Rent for units at Albert and Victoria Rows currently run between $700 to $1,300 a month.

Prior to the meeting Mr Dias said the current rental rates were “unrealistic anywhere in Bermuda on today's market”.

The final barge with supplies is due to arrive on Monday and road trenching in the surrounding area of Victoria Place has been completed.

Reassurances were also given on the overall strength of the new buildings, particularly during hurricane season. Tenants were told the strength of the new complex “exceeds that of traditional Bermuda building methods” and exceeds Miami DAE codes.

The completion date was moved back a month to November.

In the weeks ahead Wedco's Business Development Department will discuss specific requirements with the tenants affected and alternatives if necessary.

The issue of rents in arrears was also discussed at length.

Mr Dias disclosed that Wedco is currently owed “in excess of $300,000 in residential rental arrears with 50 percent being more than 120 days”.

“We continue to actively pursue collections and encourage tenants to discuss their options before issuing notice of possession,” said Mr Dias.

“Tenants who are in arrears of more than $5,000 and/or 120 days late are being processed for eviction unless they have in place a current payment plan that does not lapse.”

He noted that Wedco is no longer using Bermuda Credit Association (BCA) for the collection of outstanding arrears.

“Anyone with an outstanding balance who has already been transferred to BCA will be advised by letter of their outstanding amount and how to proceed with repayments within the next week.

“If anyone is unsure of their balance or wishes to discuss payment options should contact the office to set up an appointment.”

“Overall I believe this section was positive, tenants participated by asking questions which cleared the misinformation provided by non-Wedco sources.”

Moving forward he said: “Assuming the new units are ready for occupancy at the beginning of November the tenant may need a month to transition and confirm that they would not be charged for two rents.

“These are the type of details which we will resolve on an individual basis,” said Mr Dias.

“After the meeting Wedco received confirmation from another five tenants who plan to meet with us to complete their transition arrangements.

“Many have already signed up and secured their unit,” he said.

In closing he stressed that Wedco “remains committed to providing current information” on all of their activities.

That information is posted regularly on their website at www.thewestend.bm. And he reiterated that he has an open-door policy always.

Wedco General Manager Andrew Dias
New homes: Some of the prefabs in Dockyard are nearing completion (Photo by David Skinner)

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Published September 07, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 06, 2013 at 11:56 pm)

Tenants owe Wedco $300k in rent

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