Minister calls on landlords not to increase rents
Jason Hayward, the Minister of Economy and Labour, has called on landlords to ensure “affordable rents”, saying that housing costs are the main driver of Bermuda’s high cost of living.
The comments provoked controversy on social media as a number of people reacted to Mr Hayward’s tweet by demanding to know what the Government was doing about the situation.
The Women’s Resource Centre Bermuda called for the Government to expand rent control, stating that many of its clients spent virtually their entire income on keeping a roof over themselves and their children.
The minister provoked the online debate by stating: “The main contributor to Bermuda’s high cost of living is housing.
“The Government will continue to provide support and affordable housing options to ease the pressure on families.
“However, landlords must assist by providing reasonable and affordable rent rates.”
Juanae Crockwell, the executive director of the Women’s Resource Centre Bermuda, urged the Government to bring more properties under rent control.
Ms Crockwell told The Royal Gazette: “There is some rent control, but it does not cover all properties. We would like to see more properties under rent control.
“There needs to be more people covered by rent control.
“It is putting the average Bermudian earning the average wage in a tough position.
“They are not able to compete with rents that can be paid by people working in corporate Bermuda.
“Particularly, women in Bermuda who have childcare issues. For many of our clients virtually the entire pay cheque goes on rent.”
A government insider said: “I really don’t think the Government can do anything really.
“When we transitioned as a country from focusing on tourism to international business as the main pillar of our economy, Bermudians went from building homes for Bermudians to building homes tailored to IB executives and workers.
“So the pricing went up. That’s where there is the supply and demand issue.
“That’s where the housing market went through the roof.”
Mr Hayward was recently at the centre of a political squall for stating that he does not need the votes of people who think he is not engaging with them or doing a good job.
The minister also used the controversial House of Assembly speech to praise Robert Mugabe, the former dictator of Zimbabwe.
Mr Hayward then said that the backlash that followed his speech amounted to a “character assassination”.
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