Mauritius looks to ensure proper allocation of low-cost housing units with tighter rules
Allocation of low-cost housing units of the National Housing Development Company Ltd (NHDC) is under investigation in Mauritius with Minister of Housing & Lands, Showkutally Soodhun setting up a Fact Finding Committee to remedy the situation and tighten rules to ensure proper allocation in the future. (Image: ionnews.mu)
Mauritius’Minister of Housing and Lands Showkutally Soodhun is setting up an internal Fact Finding Committee to be chaired by the Senior Legal Adviser at the Ministry, Robin Appaya, on the allocation of low cost housing units by the National Housing Development Company Ltd (NHDC) at Residence Le Flibustier in Trou aux Biches.
Following a site visit, Showkutally Soodhun announced: “The Committee would ascertain that the criteria for allocating the NHDC housing units to eligible applicants were respected and would run a background check on all the owners.”
“The Fact Finding Committee will deliver its report as soon as possible in order to present the document to Cabinet and take necessary actions with due rapidity,” he added.
It is to be notedthat the 76 housing units of Residence Le Flibustier were intended for low-income households with monthly salary of Rs 6,500 and were delivered in 2008.However, as many as 22 of the owners have monthly earnings ranging between Rs 46,000 to Rs 139,000 and the houses are being used as ‘villas’, or second homes.
Moreover, the extent of renovation of some of the houses is deemed to be vastly superior to others that are clearly vacant and abandoned and in sorely neglected conditions, with weeds choking the yards and posing a public nuisance to other residents.
“Following a survey conducted by the NHDC, it has been found that some 300 allocated NHDC Housing Units situated on 116 sites across the country are unoccupied,”affirmed the Vice-Prime Minister.
Accordingly, following the survey, the Ministry of Housing and Lands, in collaboration with the NHDC, plans to take necessary action to reclaim these vacant properties and enable vulnerable families to benefit from them. It may be noted that, currently, there arearound 17,300 applicants on the waiting list to obtain a low-cost housing unit from the NHDC.
In order to prevent such malpractices in the future and curtail abuses from certainindividuals who charge excessive prices on NHDC housing units and indulge in realty speculation, Showkutally Soodhun stressed that new contracts between the NHDC and housing beneficiaries will be amended with more strict provisions regarding property resale.
Thus, housing beneficiaries will not have the right to resell their allocated house as long as they do not meet their financial obligations, and they will not be able to resell the house during the first five years of occupancy even if housing payments have been settled.