Business

Has the NHT sold my house?

TELL Claudienne

Claudienne Edwards

Sunday, September 02, 2018

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Dear Claudienne

The Tell Claudienne column on July 22, 2018, was about the sale of a home by the NHT because the account was in arrears. The complaint stated that it took the NHT what seemed like forever to finalise its process.

I have been in a similar situation.

I was in arrears with the payments to the NHT for my house and had made arrangements to pay the arrears. However, due to marital issues I made a request for NHT to foreclose on the property.

I later learned that the property was sold and this was later confirmed by the NHT after doing an investigation.

To my dismay I was told by the NHT that they were not obligated to give me information. And the NHT also refused to give the lawyer representing me information about the sale of the house.

I had to leave the island and up to the time of leaving I still could get no information about the sale of the house.

I heard that the house was sold in January 2018, and I left the island in April 2018.

I have received no letter or e-mail from the NHT and I believe the government needs to step in and resolve these unfortunate issues.

I have received no funds from the sale. My house is empty and I still have the keys and documents. I have never seen anyone visiting the house re its sale.

I need answers.

HB

Dear HB

Tell Claudienne asked the NHT to respond to your concerns and an e-mail we received from the NHT has stated the following:

“The NHT wishes to reiterate that the decision to sell a mortgaged property via either Public Auction or Private Treaty is never a first resort by the NHT. The NHT not only provides home ownership solutions for our contributors, but we also work to assist any mortgagor experiencing difficulties in meeting their mortgage obligations to us. The NHT has in place measures to preserve home ownership for all our mortgagors who are experiencing difficulties to include a one year moratorium and a break in mortgage payments among others. We continue to encourage any such mortgagor, to come in and avail themselves of these provisions. However, where individuals fail to keep their end of the agreements, the NHT will take the necessary steps to secure its interest.

With respect to the specific query raised, our efforts to work with the mortgagors towards regularising their loans did not yield a positive outcome as all arrangements established with them were not satisfactorily maintained. In addition, the mortgagor expressed that she was no longer interested in the property and is requesting that same be sold.

The NHT acknowledges that the subject property is being sold at public auction. The process began in January 2018. The sale has been delayed due to a breach identified, which is in common to the entire strata complex where the property is located. The nature of the breach identified was irregular and as such caused a delay in the completion of the sale process.

Our attorneys are now awaiting a Letter of Undertaking to commence finalising the sale and as is customary, a notification will be sent to the mortgagor upon completion of the sale.

A letter has also since been sent to the customer's attorney, advising of the delay.

The NHT looks forward to the resolution of this matter and will keep the mortgagor and her attorney apprised of the progress.”

Please let us know when the NHT informs you that the sale of the house has been completed.

We wish you all the best.

Dear Claudienne

I received my March 2018 electricity bill this morning via e-mail. The amount due for payment on April 7, 2018 is double the amount I paid for the previous month. In fact it represented four times my average kilowatt consumption for the previous month.

I called the Jamaica Public Service ( JPS) customer care and was told that my previous two months were estimated bills. Having read the meter for March, JPS Customer Care said that it was discovered that I had used more electricity than they had estimated. As a result, my previous JPS bill totalling $5,681 has ballooned to $10,865.50.

Is this in any way acceptable, for the JPS to be arbitrarily telling me that instead of coming to actually read my meter (which by the way is one of the recently installed “smart” meters so they are able to read it remotely from their offices) they are instead telling me they made an error, in their estimation, of what I had used, and are now seeking to recover their (loss) from me?

Is this INCREDIBLE scenario reasonable, or even legal?

This is a very serious matter for me as this amount is way out of line for my monthly electricity usage and costs.

NR

Dear NR

Tell Claudienne has been in communication with the JPS about your issues and having reviewed the matter, please note the following e-mail response that we received from the light and power company.

“A review of the account has shown that NR was estimated for the month of February for 160.31 kwh.in the amount of $5,686.04. The following month the bill he received represents an actual reading of 252.05 kwh in the amount of $10,865.50.

It is important to note that the fuel rate for March was one of the highest of the year at $22.594. This would have had an impact on his bill.

It is also important to note that the actual bill that NR received in March would have reconciled the usage between January to March.

Please bear in mind that estimations are calculated using the last three (3) actual readings as a guideline. On this particular account, the last three (3) actual readings (136.42-Jan, 123.57-Dec, 173.09-Oct) were lower and would have accounted for the estimate that he received.

A review of NR's account before and after March, shows that there has been usage between 170 to 250 kwh. It should also be noted that since March, the readings that have been received from the meter have been consistent with the reading obtained in March.

In relation to the concerns related to the smart meter, please note that:

- Having a smart meter does not eliminate, but reduces the number of estimates a customer may receive.

- An account with a smart meter may be estimated due to different reasons:

Power outage in the area at the time of reading

Low signal impacting communication

Please note that with the fuel rate for July at $22, NR's usage was 221 kwh and his bill $11,870.

Please feel free to contact me for any clarification you may need.”

Have a problem with a store, utility, a company? Telephone 936-9436 or write to: Tell Claudienne c/o Sunday Finance, Jamaica Observer, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5; or e-mail:edwardsc@jamaicaobserver.com. Please include a contact phone number.

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