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Bahamas: ‘Residents Buying Homes Without Paying A Dollar Back’

THERE are “reckless” Bahamas Mortgage Corporation clients who have not paid one dollar toward home loans, Housing Minister Romauld Ferreira revealed, adding that in one instance a delinquency is 15 years old, dating back to 2003.

It is unclear if this is the most extreme case, but the minister told the House of Assembly there were many similar instances.

He painted a sober picture of the BMC’s financial state, which appeared to be pushed back in response to those who have castigated the government for evicting homeowners.

According to the minister, in many cases the corporation “bends backwards” in its attempts to accommodate borrowers with more flexibility than other lending institutions.

However, he said, most refuse to engage the BMC when they become delinquent, despite having “sufficient time” to do so.

Mr Ferreira spoke on the issue yesterday as Parliament debated a resolution for the BMC to acquire 2.91 acres of land where the former Ministry of Foreign Affairs is located on East Hill Street.

The BMC will relocate from its offices at Russell Street in Oakes Field because its needs and staff complement have outgrown the current facility. The cost of refurbishing and repairing the new location is $5m, money that will come solely from the BMC and not the government, the minister said.

“When a borrower becomes delinquent in mortgage payments, the BMC first, pursuant to the Homeowners Act, serves a demand letter firmly requesting payment of the arrears in 30 days and inviting the individual to come and speak with them, to talk, come to an arrangement where they could service their debts,” Mr Ferreira told Parliament yesterday.

“If there is no response within six months, documents are prepared and a writ is served on the client to pay monies owed. What happens then is that when the BMC is waiting for court rulings or court dates, we are actively reaching out to these individuals to come and talk to the BMC. Most of them don’t.

“The fact of the matter is from start to finish of this process, it varies between a year to two years for the initiation of the letter and the commencement of court, more than sufficient time for persons to come into the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation and come to an arrangement.”

He continued: “Mr Speaker recently the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation executed a number of these vacate orders and before I elaborate any further, let me advise that the BMC serves its orders as required by law, orders have to be served personally or by way of substituted service either be in the newspaper or at the address listed in your application. So when the vacate orders are issued its always with ample notice.

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