Problem: Landlord vs Tenant

A story carried in the Nation newspaper with the headline NHC Evicts Tenant on the 29 September 2022 caught the eye. The tenant was evicted after falling $100,000 in arrears. It became a court matter in 2014 and a court order was issued by the Barbados Court of Appeal to evict handed down in April 2022 according to the report. The report suggested the tenant felt comfortable racking up the rent because she was a close friend of a politician affiliated with the government of the day. for sure other reasons are at play.

There are several issues inquiring minds should want to unpack arising from the report.

We understand a culture of nepotism operating in Barbados is entrenched to the point it is defended as a right of practice. That a tenant would feel emboldened to occupy a taxpayer subsidised housing unit since 2011 and refuse to pay a single cent in rent is probably the tip of the iceberg. Let us not forget the decision government took regarding squatters at Rock Hall in order to be politically expedient. 

  1. Why did the case take 12 years to reach a point an eviction order was finally issued by the Court of Appeal in April?
  2. What does it say about inefficient processes required to seek justice?
  3. What does it say about how the NHC as agent for government prosecuted the matter?
  4. Who dropped the ball in this matter to the point taxpayers are left holding the bag to the tune of $100,000 plus legal and other cost incurred with the case?
  5. Stories are heard daily about the grief landlords have to endure with uncooperative tenants. If the government had to initiate a 12 year process and tens of thousands dollars to evict a single tenant, what hope is there the process will be less accommodating for John Citizen? 
  6. One suspects there is more to the matter detailed in the Nation newspaper – isn’t there enough historical information to support we have a problem?

A problem that can be defined by the sloth of government bureaucracy, a moribund justice system AND a citizenry unwilling to actively exercise its civic duty.

See Nation article.

NHC evicts tenant 

Almost $100 000 in arrears, says state-owned entity


A WOMAN WHO OWES the National Housing Corporation (NHC) close to $100 000 in rental arrears accumulated over a 12-year period, was finally evicted yesterday from the unit she was occupying at Country Park Towers, Country Road, St Michael.

Court marshals swooped down on the third storey unit early yesterday morning and began moving out furniture and other household effects in the presence of the woman and her daughter.

The rental arrears is said to be the most owed by a tenant in recent times.

Last April this newspaper reported that the NHC had won a judgement in the Court of Appeal for $86 000 against the delinquent tenant for the outstanding arrears while the court had also granted the state owned entity permission to take possession of the unit. Since then the arrears had continued to increase and was said to now be at $94 000.

When contacted about this matter, the NHC issued a statement through its public relations department indicating that the action, though unfortunate, was unavoidable.

Court order

“The eviction process this morning was carried out by court marshals in accordance with a court order issued. This has been an ongoing legal matter dating as far back as 2014, when the court originally granted an order for eviction as a result of outstanding arrears. At that time, the tenant was granted leave to appeal the order. However, she took no further action and the court reinstated the order last year. This process was completed today,” the statement read.

It added: “This is an unfortunate situation, one which we at the NHC worked hard to avoid, as we normally do in these circumstances. Long before this became a court matter in 2014 our finance department sent numerous statements advising of the outstanding arrears. Several letters were also sent and many calls were made to the tenant in an attempt to come to a suitable arrangement to settle. These are steps the NHC ordinarily take when clients are in arrears. However, during this time the tenant made no attempt to cooperate with us either by making payments towards the arrears or rent. Evictions are not taken lightly by the NHC, especially in these times. This is definitely not the route we wish to take. We tried everything in our power to come to a mutual agreement to avoid what eventually unfolded today.”

Reports indicate that the woman moved into the high rise unit in 2011 shortly after it was built but never paid a cent of the $207 weekly in rent even though she was gainfully employed.

Sources revealed that when summoned to a meeting at the NHC, the woman had indicated that she was “a very close friend” of a politician from a previous administration and was recommended by that person to occupy the unit.

A source said following last year’s court order the NHC served notice on the woman to vacate the premises but she did not move out, which forced them to go to the chief marshal for possession.

The source further revealed that the woman’s possessions which were taken away by two trucks yesterday, would be marked and placed in storage and she would be given an opportunity to collect them.

Speaking on this matter back in 2020, George Edghill, deputy chairman of the NHC board, had pointed out that when the new board was appointed in June 2018, the tenant was already in arrears of over $55 000. He said the board had at that time instructed the legal department to

take all appropriate legal action to repossess the unit.

Yesterday an NHC official reiterated that while the NHC always worked with tenants who were going through financial hardship, it would not tolerate tenants who were employed but refused to pay rent.

During the court proceedings the NHC was represented by attorneys Roy Alleyne and Nicole Gibson while Kings Counsel Michael Lashley appeared amicus curiae for the tenant after her attorney Denis Headley asked the court for leave to withdraw.

13 thoughts on “Problem: Landlord vs Tenant

  1. @ Northern Observer October 8, 2022 1:04 PM

    “Kings Counsel?
    I thought we had stopped all that?”

    What bloody joke for a bellyful of laughs!

    The miller long ago predicted this folly would occur after the Queen departs the monarchical stage; republic or no republic.

    From a bunch of aping QC’s to a prideless pack of KC johnnies running a monkey race in their banana republic.

    Bajans can now consider themselves to be the laughing stock of the world and not just of the English-speaking Commonwealth.

    Trollope was indeed spot on when he wrote: “No people ever praised themselves so constantly; no set of men were ever so assured that they and their occupations are the main peg on which the world hang”.

    Go ahead Barbados, King Charlie and His Successors have your back holding that Sterling cheque for Reparations

  2. I am occasionally accused of jokes in poor taste, but the retention of a monarchical title takes the cake. What could be more embarassing? A Minister not aware of key decisions within their remit?

  3. John Beale in a recent column pointed out that the GG attended the funeral of the late Queen titled as Dame Sandra, so until the Knights and Dames give up their titles don’t expect the lawyers to relinquish their KC’s.

    Please note that one of the first act of the PM was to grant her father a knighthood, anyone wants to bet that he won’t be going back to plain Elliot?

    Canada still recognizes KC3 as Head of State, but its citizens are barred from receiving Knighthoods etc. from Britain. PM Chretien famously objected to Conrad Black receiving a peerage from Britain and Black had to renounce his Canadian citizenship to accept the title.

  4. @NO
    I wanna rent from the NHC
    Is a Gov’t politician your friend? The woman said she refused to pay rent because she was a close friend of a politician affiliated with the Gov’t of the day.

    The politician is not named, I am free to assume that the politician was a friend with benefits.

  5. @Sarge
    1. It was our President, not the GG who attended the funeral.
    2. I have no friend in politics, I would just like to live rent free for umpteen years without eviction.
    3. Don’t expect the Sirs or Dames or Kings Counsel to give up one shite. For some it cost them a lot of money.

  6. Compulsory purchase
    By Dr William M. A. Chandler The Government’s proposed compulsory purchase of private St Lawrence lands for private development presents us with the prime opportunity to discuss the long-standing, unsettled debate on the meaning of “public purpose” in law.
    The matter may be approached in different ways. This approach is mine and I invite others to offer theirs as a public service. Compulsory purchase defined Compulsory purchase is a sovereign power (a prerogative) enabling the government to buy property from someone against his will on behalf of the state. Consequently, this “prerogative” interferes with the right to property and the freedom to disassociate since its “compulsory” nature both (1) denies a person his right to exclude government from his property and (2) denies a person his freedom to refuse doing business with the government. It is, therefore, a power to be used in only the most pressing circumstances.
    Public purpose vs public interest
    Constitutionally, where the Government wishes to infringe civil liberties (rights, freedoms, et cetera) it must demonstrate that it has a legitimate reason to override them. Thus, the Constitution’s “Bill of Rights” makes our civil liberties “subject to respect for the individual rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest”. Consequently, there will be times when we are asked to “give up” our right to something for the greater good: the public interest.
    Commensurably, even though the Land Acquisition Act allows “compulsory purchase” for a “public purpose”, it is subject to the Constitution’s “public interest” test since “compulsory purchase” (1) is a form of forcible “taking” which (2) interferes with our constitutional rights. While courts usually interpret the statutory term “public purpose” to mean both (1) a pure government cause and (2) a private cause with public benefit; the constitutional
    term “public interest” is usually narrowly construed to mean a “necessary”, thus overriding, objective.
    Constitutional duty
    This overriding objective must be something that will not only benefit the public but justify the breach of a right by either (1) strengthening that right, (2) strengthening other rights or (3) enabling the government to perform a specific constitutional duty. Consequently, the public purpose requirement can be seen as a broad public policy consideration with deference given to the government while the public interest consideration may be seen, under the doctrine of necessity, as a strictly legal test, giving deference to the rights holder.
    Thus, the government always carries the “burden of proof” to demonstrate “public need” as opposed to mere “public want”. As a result, our best understanding of “compulsory purchase” must be that “forcible takings” of property must be done for a public purpose in the public’s interest.
    The Legal Dimensions
    To the extent that “compulsory purchase” interferes with a constitutional right, any issue arising from exercising that power will always be a constitutional issue. It matters not whether the “purchase” is done under a statute as opposed to the Constitution. It matters only that it “touches and concerns” a constitutional provision.
    Separately, the fact that the “compulsory purchase” is a government power makes it a constitutional power in itself. Thus, even statutes and case law on the matter will attract constitutional interpretation. The same goes for human rights law as a distinct body of law since the right to property and the freedom to disassociate are human rights as well.
    To be clear: “compulsory purchase” is a government power infringing the right
    to property and freedom to disassociate in both constitutional law and human rights law.
    This is an important point to note since most people often fail to understand that constitutional rights and human rights are two different things, even though a good set of those rights exist in both areas of law. Constitutional rights arise from an individual’s relationship with the government as a subject of the legal system government administers. Human rights arise from an individual’s relationship with other social actors as a subject of civilisation’s political system. We can, therefore, have separate constitutional and human rights claims against the compulsory purchase power.
    Similarly, to the extent that a government relies upon the rules within the law to guide its actions, there can be administrative law claims against a government’s exercise of its power. Hence, from the one power to “compulsorily purchase” property can arise at least three claims in public law: constitutional, human rights and administrative.
    I won’t go further here but suffice to say that there could also be other public law claims, such as criminal claims; and private law claims, such as trespass to property in tort law. Consequently, legislation can be winding as governments try to cover all bases. An astute lawyer must sift through the subject matter and choose the right course of action, paying careful attention to the best possible outcome given the relevant facts.
    Dr William M. A. Chandler is a published political economist, legal scholar and business consultant. Email:

    Source: Nation

  7. @Sargeant October 8, 2022 11:01 PM “The politician is not named, I am free to assume that the politician was a friend with benefits.”

    Fair enough for a politician to get himself/herself a friend with benefits.

    But since we the tax payers were not getting any of the benefits why have we been stuck with the bill for the rent?

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