Thu | Feb 21, 2019

Pay up and get your titles - HAJ

Published:Tuesday | January 22, 2019 | 12:24 AM

Gary Howell, managing director of the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ), is pleading with the residents of Norwood, St James, to complete outstanding payments for their lands so that they can collect their titles.

“We have been trying to get you to pay, and then we can give you your titles,” Howell told residents of the northwest St James neighbourhood during a community meeting on Sunday.

“We still have about 1,200 titles still available to issue. We have some challenges that we are working through in distributing the titles, but what we are here to ask of you, the residents, is just to partner with us to help us to get you to where you ought to be,” said Howell.

According to the HAJ boss, while significant strides have been made by the Government and the Housing Agency in the issuing of titles, far too many homeowners are complacent about certifying their possession.

Howell warned the residents, many of whom have lived in the community for years, that their neglect would put them at risk of being viewed as squatters.

“We have been working with you over the years, trying to get you guys regularised.

We have put in some level of infrastructure, we have been working with the community, and we continue to partner with you,” noted Howell in emphasising the need for the residents to become formalised.

“I know you have seen the team going around, because we have been doing a lot of house-to-house visits.

We want to just work together in the partnership,” continued Howell.

“Yes, you may not have all of the money to pay at once, but we have systems in place where you can pay incrementally.”

Howell also explained that there is an arrangement in place between the HAJ and the National Housing Trust (NHT) for contributors to the NHT to get mortgage benefits.

“You can get a benefit for your mortgage. It’s not a big loan, so it’s not going to be a significant payment for persons,” he said.

Howell also asked residents who knew of landowners who have died to inform the HAJ so that steps may be taken to prevent the system from being clogged.

“We want to know whether there is a family member (of the deceased) or whether we need to look at assigning the lot to somebody else,” said Howell.

“So if you know that your neighbour has migrated or no longer has any interest in the property, let us know as well.”