Family evicted over debt

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By KELVIN JOE
A 78-YEAR-OLD man and his family were forced to spend a night on the street in Port Moresby on Wednesday after the National Housing Corporation (NHC) evicted them for not paying outstanding arrears.
Henry Mora Bonou of Domara village in Central’s Abau, his wife and 11 family members, including five children and a baby, were locked out of the property they had called home for more than 43 years.
According to the family, NHC officers accompanied by police arrived at the Hohola 3 residence on Silkwood St on Wednesday to execute an eviction notice for non-payment of rental arrears that amounted to K22,000 over the last two years.
“We were forcefully evicted and locked out from our property because our father acquired this property through the low cost housing scheme since 1978 where he faithfully paid the rentals over the last 40 years,” his granddaughter Doreen Bonou said.
She said the family had written to the NHC in November to address the matter following an eviction notice but it was not settled.
“Now, our rights to access the property have been deprived,” she said.
“We, at least, tried to pay half of the outstanding arrears, but, they (NHC) wanted us to make the full payment.”
Bonou’s youngest daughter said when the ownership of the property was transferred to her in 2015, she had faithfully paid the K150 fortnightly rental to NHC until 2020.
“I was facing a financial situation where I was unable to pay the rentals over the last two years,” she said.
According to NHC in a statement, the avenues of its recovery exercise were exhausted after issuing 21-day, 14-day, seven-day and 24-hour notices had failed to get an adequate response.
“They were not complying with our tenancy agreement which it resulted in their eviction,” it said.
“You all must take note that evictions are normal business of NHC, and it is only evoked when all normal administrative processes such as notices are fully exhausted.
“This is how NHC generates its revenue through discharge of notices and the follow up actions of recovery.
“Being locked out, unfortunately, is the last and final recovery action if tenants are simply ignorant and non-compliant to notices served.”
Meanwhile, managing director Henry Mokono is expected to hold a press conference today to respond to claims made by the defaulting tenant.

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