Saturday, October 22, 2005

Opposition quiz Government on renting at home ownership estates

GSLP/Liberals has expressed concern regarding the alleged renting out of flats at Harbour Views after receiving representations from tenants.

The matter has come to light following the fire in a flat at the estate this week.

An Opposition spokesman for Housing said:

"The tenants feel that the Home Ownership Scheme was launched with the condition that it was for owner occupation and not to be used as rented accommodation, to protect the public interest, given that this estate was intended to encourage home ownership, and also the interests of owner occupiers given the complications that arise sometimes when there is a mixture of rented accommodation and home ownership in the same estate.

The matter has already been raised in the House of Assembly. At first, Government claimed to have no knowledge that this was going on, and subsequently admitted the Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) was renting apartments in co-ownership estates but claimed that it was a matter for the person who owned the flat and was renting it and not for the GHA that was providing the tenant.

This is unacceptable. The GHA should not be encouraging a practice which goes against Government policy since the policy has not changed. We cannot see how existing tenants in Harbour Views and other estates can be made to observe the condition in the Head Lease and not rent out, when the Government itself condones this practice and the reason given in the House for the failure to act has been that the GHA might have to pay higher rent if they rented from landlords in the private sector owning private property as an investment.

Should public money be invested in encouraging home ownership and then those purchasing be permitted to use the property as an investment in order to provide rented accommodation? This appears to defeat the purpose of the original policy of providing free land for home ownership estates and 50/50 start-ups and presumably could lead to private landlords saying that they should also be subsidized to provide rented accommodation if they are going to be competing for tenants with property owners in home ownership estates.

This appears to be a far from isolated case. By condoning this practice and not enforcing the requirements of the Head Lease, or alternatively coming clean and removing the condition from the Head Lease so that people know where they stand, the Government is failing to conduct its affairs properly in this important area of public policy."

Related Article:

17 October 2005 - Government’s GHA rental dilemma


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As usual just repeat press releases and call it journalism

2:22 pm  

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