Jamaica: Woman homeless after NHT sold her home due to arrears

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Jamaica: Woman homeless after NHT sold her home due to arrears
Tanaika Wint with one of the letters she collected at the post office.
Tanaika Wint with one of the letters she collected at the post office.

(JAMAICA STAR) — Five years ago, Tanaika Wint bought a house in New Harbour Village in Old Harbour, St Catherine for $8.5 million. She borrowed half of the money from the National Housing Trust (NHT) to finance the purchase and pulled the remainder from her savings.

She claims she was paying over $23,000 monthly, over 40 years, for mortgage.

Wint, a vendor, said she left the island for the United States of America last July to try and work some money to pay down her accumulated loan balance.

“I go up every summer and spend like two weeks. I spent three months on my last trip because I was working to clear it up.”

However, when she returned on October 23, her unoccupied house was sold by the NHT in an auction the day after.

The NHT claimed that Wint accumulated arrears of $345,504. The Trust wrote to her on July 8, 2018, giving her 30 days to clear the amount. Wint insists that received no such letter.

PUBLIC AUCTION

“If letters come there, I would’ve received it. That is where my letters normally go. I don’t get any letter for no arrears in more than a year. I cannot pay $8.5 million for a property and yuh just take it away so. Me wouldn’t get dem letter deh and no do nothing! And they are not having any remorse!” she said.

On November 12, 2019, another letter was addressed to Wint – informing her that the property was sold at a public auction and that she is required to vacate the premises by January 30.

“It says I owe for 15 months when I made a payment in September. I paid $63,000 … over the regular amount cause me a try clear it up. And when I go to NHT no one is talking to me. I’m currently looking places and I have no luck. I have nowhere to go. I cannot live outside. That’s why I went overseas … to work up the money so I can pay it off, and I have the money to pay. I have nowhere to go,” Wint said.

The woman said she learnt that her house was sold when strange men entered her premises on October 30.

“Me go NHT the same day and nobody neva talk to me face to face. Me deh-deh and dem a talk to me over the phone. A me pastor tell me fi go the post office cause she’s a prophetess. A so me get the letter dem. … Di lady weh me talk to seh nobody caa help me get back the house … not even Andrew Holness.”

Danielle Edwards, communications coordinator at the NHT, told THE WEEKEND STAR that in cases of arrears, it’s standard for notices to be sent to the mortgagor.

“If you’re in arrears and you’ve not paid your mortgage, one can just imagine that this would’ve happened. However, we would have to run our own investigations to examine what the issue is,” the NHT representative said.

Meanwhile, Wint feels betrayed.

“I don’t know why dem being so hard. I am not going to stop until I get to the bottom of this. How can you sell somebody property for $340,000 arrears? That don’t make no sense. I paid $4 million cash on my property. I only took a $4,725,000 loan from NHT. I did not take the full money from NHT,” she said.

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