Homeowners urged to turn to Housing Corporation to ease shortage
Landlords have been called upon to help boost the island’s dwindling reserves of affordable housing by partnering with the Government’s housing quango.
Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said it was “neither reasonable nor sustainable” to ask struggling families to meet the island’s high rents.
The minister yesterday appealed “directly to landlords who are declining to rent their units for a variety of reasons” – highlighting the Bermuda Housing Corporation’s ability to manage rental properties in the owner’s stead.
The move can “increase the number of rental units available” – but Colonel Burch added: “The key here, though, is the BHC will not pay market rates, but reasonable rates as we assume the responsibility of rentals.”
He said homeowners could benefit under the programme by getting the rental property refurbished by the BHC at no upfront cost.
Under the agreement with landlords, the BHC handles the rental until the costs of repairs and upgrades have been recovered.
Colonel Burch said: “This programme helps to increase the supply of affordable rental units to the public while serving as a great tool and resource for homeowners looking for the stability of having a long-term tenant without the hassle of rent collection and property supervision.”
The remarks came as he highlighted the efficiencies and savings through merging quangos. The BHC has been appraised in the process.
It marks ten years since the BHC was urged to step in as housing prices soared, and to bring vacant homes onto the market – in a 2012 report by the Sustainable Development Roundtable.
Echoing remarks made in October in the House of Assembly, Colonel Burch yesterday said that out of the BHC’s 137 older units planned for renovation, 77 were “not in use”.
Those units would be earmarked for a “rent geared to income programme” in which rents would be set at one quarter of the household revenue.