Housing Development Corporation offices in Port of Spain.

One family illegally occupying a house in Wellington Gardens, Debe, has been given a brief reprieve from eviction, by the Housing Development Corporation (HDC).

According to an official statement released by the HDC on the matter, the family is actually subletting the property from a licensee. HDC says it investigated the matter and issued an eviction notice, but has given permission for the family to remain there for another two months, because of the current COVID-19 crisis.

The full text of HDC statement, follows…

HDC RECOVERS HOUSE FROM ‘SUBLETTER’

The Trinidad and Tobago Housing Development Corporation (HDC) has issued a Notice To Quit (eviction notice) to the licensee of a Wellington Gardens, Debe house, who has been subletting the property to a family. The decision was made after a thorough investigation was conducted by the HDC. Notwithstanding the culpability of both parties, the HDC is aware of the current effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on many citizens. As such, the HDC has reviewed the current occupant’s status and has granted the family permission to remain in the house for two months, following which a complete assessment interview will be conducted.

The HDC maintains a zero-tolerance position in relation to subletting since all HDC property agreements explicitly state that an HDC tenant cannot abandon the property or assign, sublet or otherwise part with possession of the property without the written consent of the HDC. Further, all HDC agreements provide for the termination of the tenancy, if the tenant breaches these terms.

According to HDC Managing Director, Brent Lyons:

“The core mandate of the HDC is to provide affordable housing solutions to low and middle income families who rely on the state for assistance and intervention. Therefore, if someone opts to sublet his/her unit, that indicates to us that the person may not have been truly in need of a Government-subsidised home and, is in essence, denying other deserving applicants from accessing shelter. The HDC therefore wishes to send a message to ‘subletters’ that their unjust actions will not be tolerated.”

Once the Stay At Home measures have been relaxed and regular operations resume, the HDC will continue to conduct the necessary investigations in other communities in an effort to treat with the issue of illegal subletting. Those who are found in breach and guilty of subletting will have their agreements terminated and consideration will be given to current occupants, once they meet the qualification criteria. However, in light of the clandestine nature of subletting, the HDC also encourages all those with information on subletting within our housing communities, to provide details via a private message on our Facebook page.