Submitted by the People’s Democratic Congress (PDC)
Although we in Barbados are not going to be any time soon seeing the completion of the Population and Housing Census 2010 Report, most of us can vouchsafe still that far more Barbadians and Caricom resident nationals – not regional and extra-regional visitors – are renting residential commercial properties – apartments, houses, rooms, etc. on a monthly/weekly basis at this juncture more than at any other time, say, in the whole of the post-colonial period of Barbados, and perhaps, too, more than the number of Barbadians that currently own these rented and non-rented residential properties themselves (no 1 contention).
While individual Barbadians rent these commercial residential properties for various reasons, for example, for purposes of achieving independence away from families; for purposes of removing themselves from around estranged partners; for reasons of portraying status, it is the thought somehow still – that as more and more individuals and families of the masses and marginal middle classes get into the habit of residential renting – the more it seems that they are unable to have their own homes ( no 2 contention) – that is most unfortunate.
However, we in the PDC will seek to support those two contentions by presenting – at the end of this article – an amount of recorded circumstantial evidence contained in a very brief analysis of the responses provided by persons questioned as part of a person to person informal non-scientific survey that was conducted by the PDC in Bridgetown on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. During this time too a total of 23 persons – males and females – young and middle aged – were approached and were found to have their own homes – most with mortgage arrangements in place. They were, of course, found to be outside of the essential scope of this survey, even though their help in partially confirming contention no 1 was needed.
Nevertheless, that DLP/BLP Governments over the years would have put no social educational demographic material policy programmes in place to drastically reduce the overwhelming number of people who rent residentially in this country, is highly deplorable and disgusting, esp. from the standpoint that they have not been preaching that residential rent directly impacts on the propensity to save and invest (which are very important aspects of a country’s material financial affairs), and from the standpoint that many younger people when faced with renting residential properties especially at very high “prices”, with very limited income, are almost certain – unless they are very fortunate – to have their own homes only long after they have passed their productive familial best.
Well, instead of attempting to reverse such ignoble trends, these useless DLP/BLP governments have been over the years making things worse in some of the above senses by themselves following tradition, and simply putting down rented accommodation in so many ill-conceived housing estates across the country.
The number of Barbadians and Caricom resident nationals renting private accommodation esp. apartments and single rooms in Oxnards, Rendezvous, Kingsland, and in numerous other places have been growing substantially, esp. in recent years with the influx of Guyanese into our Barbadian shores.
Also, it must be expressed that financial institutions in Barbados would have seemingly been more than willing to lend money to persons who – invariably though would have qualified for other types of lending – would nevertheless still have been getting such money to provide build extra/spaces in the form of homes, apartments, rooms, etc. for the principal purposes of renting them out in order to provide additional sources of income in times of opportunity or crisis.
However, the fact that so many people would have gone and produced so much accommodation in the last couple of years, but before the start of this localized depression in 2008, at the height of the Guyanese influx, and too the fact that many many persons were also “purchasing” such spaces, rooms and even at some very outrageous “prices” and in some cases with dilapidation shambles at the back of it, but who would have been now faced with the present localized depression affecting the country and this residential rent sector and are fleeing some of these apartments, rooms, etc, does mean a time bomb is furiously ticking away within the sector.
That situation is made far worse when it is realized that millions upon millions of Barbados dollars in income go each year in UNPRODUCTIVE RENT PAYMENTS to property owners in the country – many of whom have mortgages on the rented properties.
For, many of these UNPRODUCTIVE RENT PAYMENTS by renters to these private property owners are undoubtedly then, in turn, converted significantly into UNPRODUCTIVE MORTGAGE PAYMENTS by many such landlords/landladies who are naturally indebted to the particular financial institutions. This process does not stop until such RENT PAYMENTS CUM MORTGAGE PAYMENTS become – on one hand – a massive part of surplus value – including wicked interest income – for the relevant mortgage institutions, and – on the other hand – a gigantic part of recycled financial debt ( more mortgage loans plus evil interest expenses – for many others in the country.
Amid this deepening depression in Barbados, there is evidence around that points to a serious private sector residential rent crisis that is taking place in Barbados, and which involves serious imbalances between the amount in rent payments and the amount in rent receipts in the residential rental accommodation sector in the country.
Hence, as this residential rent crisis truly worsens, and as it therefore becomes the ticking time bomb waiting to explode the private rent accommodation sector into smithereens, and too in circumstances where the cost of living, the cost of doing business, various utility bill costs are already skyrocketing high, where the NHC has been painfully slow in reducing its waiting lists, there is going to be no respite from this vicious crisis as thousands upon thousands of renters will continue to end up after renting residential properties for years – with no property ownership no physical property value whatsoever – derived from renting such properties – no anything of the sort to show after having been renting for all those years, and as property owners try to salvage what little money income they can from prospective renters by properly compromising on their mortgage arrangements or moderating their hunger for much money.
Such situations are awful, and are indicative of a failure in social political engineering!!
But, it is important to note that a future PDC Government shall be putting policies in place to help bring about greater growth and stability in the private/government rent accommodation sector in Barbados.
Three such policies are, (1), making sure that after a Barbadian has rented a house, dwelling or unit – private or government owned – for 8 continuous years that he/she will be entitled to own such a property; (2), making sure that a regime of rent control is instituted in this country for residential accommodation among other building accommodation; and (3), making sure that the cost of residential as well as other types of building is brought to the lowest levels possible in the country by the removal of TAXATION, INTEREST RATES, MAKING SURE THAT IMPORTS ARE ZERO-“PRICED” AT ALL POINTS OF ENTRY, etc.
Finally, as promised earlier up, here are the results of the non-random survey that was done on the particular days in question.
These results do support the contentions that, (1), more Barbados and Caricom nationals rent more than the total number of Barbadians that own homes in Barbados, and, (2), that the more and more individuals and families in Barbados esp. those that are from the masses and marginal middle classes, get deeply into the habit of residential renting – the more it seems that they are going to find it hard or impossible in the long term to have their own homes, in this a cruel social system in Barbados.
Well, the total number of person surveyed for purposes of understanding their rent status in Barbados was 33 persons – 24 males and 9 females of various social professional backgrounds and ages. In three cases there was information supplied by 3 others acting in their capacity, but after careful consideration these were not allowed to be part of this analysis.
The types of questions posed to the 33 persons were as follows:-
a) How long ( approximated to the last full year) have you been renting??
b) How much do you pay in rent – per month, per bi-weekly, weekly – which if any utilities were included or excluded?
c) How much income do you get per month per fortnight, per week?
d) Do you save with a bank, credit union?
e) Is the rate at which you pay rent greater than the rate at which you save – or vice versa?
f) Do you expect to rent in the long term ( 1 yr and over from the days on which surveying was done), at the same place or elsewhere?
So, here is the very brief analyses of the total responses from those persons sampled to the particular questions asked. Whereas, a total of 5 persons have been renting for more than 15 years – a total of 5 persons have been renting for less than fifteen years but for 10 years and more – a total of 9 persons have been renting for less than 10 years but for 5 years and more, and a total of 13 persons have been renting for 5 years and less – 1 person’s response could not be figured out even after taking down the response.
Whereas, 3 persons pay BDS $1000 per month and over, 21 pay between BDS $ 999.00 and BDS $ 500 and more per month, whereas 8 pay between BDS $ 499 and BDS $ zero dollars per month – 1 person did not make it clear how much they pay.
Whereas, 14 claimed to get BDS $ 1800 and above per month, 10 claimed to get less than BDS $ 1799 but more than BDS $ 1200 per month, 3 persons got less than BDS $ 1200 per month. Three 3 person did not state their incomes, and 3 persons were unemployed.
Whereas, 13 persons claimed to save with financial institutions, 13 persons claimed NOT to save all, 5 persons claimed to hardly save, whereas 2 responses were not properly received.
Whereas, 20 persons expressed that they were able to get rent faster than savings, 3 persons doubted that they were able to get rent faster than savings, whereas the rest were non-responsive or were not taken note of.
And, finally, whereas a big number of people – 26 – stated that they expected to be renting in the long term, 3 could not say that they expected to be renting in the long term, whereas 1 person said renting was only on a short term basis, the others were not in a position to say or could not have been recorded.
What was also found from the sample that we took was that only 1 person was a renter in a government housing estate, which gives some a little credence to the view that the private rent accommodation market would have taken off tremendously in Barbados and that many people in spite of the higher costs of private residential rent accommodation still found it more desirable than government provided rent housing.
It is also important to realize that the number of persons having their own homes were outdone by those who rented accommodation from the private/government sector, and is therefore ominous as it relates to too many people in Barbados still renting homes in this country.
Where some or all utilities were part of the rent paid or were excluded, we have avoided any serious comment on such for the simple reason that we don’t wish to complicate the analyses any further than we have.
So, we oblige.