The government will soon be introducing tenancy legislation to mitigate against unscrupulous landlords, among other things.
This indication was given by Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley, who promised that the new legislation is expected to be pushed forward by the incoming Trade Commission before it is moved to the House of Assembly.
With the expected influx of passengers coming from direct flights between the BVI and Miami in the US come next summer, Premier Wheatley was asked what steps were being taken to prevent current residents from being priced out of rental accommodations.
“They (the Trade Commission) have a number of policies and a number of pieces of legislation, which will be on the way and one of the pieces of legislation that we’ll be developing in the short term has to do with Fair Tenancy Act. Of course, it’ll be a big debate and a big discussion, but we can’t be afraid of the tough topics here in the Virgin Islands
,” Premier Wheatley said.
He continued: “A lot of times we avoid the tough conversations because we don’t want any fallout from a political standpoint, but I always believe in engaging in the issues. And you have to trust the process.”
He argued that people need to trust the process of engaging with stakeholders such as landlords, those who rent accommodations, and others in the community so that a solution that is best for all involved can be derived.
Gov’t responsible for creating affordable housing
He further noted that the government has a responsibility for helping to create affordable housing for individuals that ‘will not become like slums or will not become run-down’.
“We have to tackle affordable housing. We know some efforts were made in terms of the Joe’s Hill project [through the] Social Security, but we know that that’s also gonna be quite expensive for persons who are seeking to live in those accommodations,” the Premier added.