Budget 2013-‘Housing company to step up loan recovery’


Mr Palmyre

In an interview Wednesday, the HFC’s acting chief executive Ronny Palmyre told the media those lagging behind in their repayments will be summoned by the company to negotiate and if the clients still do not want to pay they will be advised to do so in writing.

If they still default their cases will be handed over to a lawyer leading to a situation where the client could regrettably end up losing his or her property if a court so rules.

Mr Palmyre said when the company stepped up its efforts last year it collected R14 million more from its clients.

A few people have been evicted from their houses although anti-social behaviour combined with – to some extent – arrears has been the main reason.

He said recently a client faced foreclosure but has discussed his case with the company, which is now monitoring his repayments closely.

“It is not the wish of the HFC or the government that anybody loses his house but if we exhaust all other options then we may have no choice left,” said Mr Palmyre.

He said despite the imminent separation of the HFC and the Property Management Company (PMC), people may continue to make their payments at the housing company’s Victoria House offices, noting the money for the two entities will go to different accounts.

Finance, Trade and Investment Minister Pierre Laporte talked about the proposed efforts to urge people to repay their loans when he made his Budget Address 2013 before the National Assembly on Tuesday.

He also talked about the separation of the two companies, a move Mr Palmyre said will help the two firms be more efficient, adding the divorce will call for more staff.

The HFC and the PMC used to run separately but were merged for synergy, but Mr Palmyre said with more government houses needing to be managed, for example with the construction of the major Ile Perseverance housing estate, the two organisations need to be re-established, the HFC falling under the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment with the PMC staying under that of Land Use and Housing.

In his address, Mr Laporte said the HFC has undergone fundamental changes in 2012, including splitting the functions of the institution into two distinct operations.

“The HFC is now incorporated as a company with its functions restricted to lending, while management of government housing is now the function of the PMC. The two institutions will continue to work closely given their complementarities,” he said.

During yesterday’s interview, Mr Palmyre urged home owners to ensure their houses are insured especially given the recent spate of fires which have consumed a number of homes, leaving the owners stranded.

He told reporters that some people assume when they finish construction their houses are automatically insured, saying this is not the case as the proprietors have to themselves approach insurers and pay premiums directly to the insurance companies.

Noting disasters like trees falling on houses happen even before occupation, he said the HFC is encouraging owners to insure their houses as soon as they finish roofing.

Unlike the case with HFC-financed houses, insurance premiums for people staying in PMC houses are deducted from salaries together with the company’s dues.
Mr Palmyre said this will be clearer when the two companies separate and occupy different offices soon.