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Possible problems

Government housing project.

The government programme transferring National Housing Units to longstanding tenants will also transferring a number of potential challenges to the new home owners.

That’s a fear of Independent Senator Dr. Frances Chandler, who said issues of maintenance, insurance, and major repairs could be problematic.

She was contributing to debate on the National Housing Corporation (Transfer of Terrace Units) Bill, 2013 this afternoon when it was discussed in the Upper House.

Chandler said there were a number of “practical issues” that were not being addressed in the legislation.

“With ownership comes responsibility … of maintenance and since these units are not individual units but are parts of larger units, how will the common areas be maintained or the maintenance of them be organised? For example, the wells…, which would be common to the properties.” she said.

“And what would happen if an entire block of units needed to have its roof completely changed? That is a considerable cost, but it is a cost that would have to be shared by all the units and who would organise this? Who would take on the responsibility of organising to have an entire roof repaired or replaced and of course to take care of the shared payment?

“What happens if a leak in one unit affects the other units? Who would see to it that this leak is repaired in the particular unit? They might be willing to live with it, but if it is affecting other units, who will make sure that it is repaired?”

“Would the owners of individual units then be allowed to paint each unit in a different colour? Who would see about coordination of all of this because I think it would be rather strange to see one in blue, one in purple, one in orange; it would be not too aesthetically acceptable.

“Which insurance company would be willing to insure one unit and not the other?” Chandler queried.

The senator said all of these issues “had to be ironed out before the properties are turned over to the new owners”.

“If all of it is not made clear I have visions of Government continuing to maintain the properties, although as we all know Government doesn’t have a very good record of maintaining properties,” she noted.

Failing this, she expected the properties to “fall into shambles”.

“I also hope that it is made clear to the new owners that they are expected to pay land tax like anybody else who owns a property and I hope that this tax will be collected,” Chandler added. (SC)

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