Mon | Dec 5, 2016

Property tax seizures may worsen housing crisis

Published:Friday | February 27, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I make reference to the front-page story headlined 'Off with your land!' (February 25, 2015). I totally endorse the proposal for a provision for the remission of property tax at the discretion of the minister to be made for persons over 65 years of age, pensioners, and disabled persons.

However, based on what the headline said, am I to understand that the power to sell the property of landowners applies to every outstanding property tax (three consecutive years), no matter how much it amounts to?

My reason for asking is that there are some properties that do not have a high market value and, therefore, the property tax would not necessarily be a lot. With the financial constraints that most Jamaicans are facing at this time, many homeowners will not be able to pay the outstanding amounts.

I can understand Section 7(4) of the Property Tax Act being enforced as it currently stands, but if that is to be changed to what is proposed and the property sold, where will a lot of Jamaicans live? Is the Government willing to find housing for these persons who are displaced?

I am in no way advocating that homeowners should not pay up their outstanding property taxes. However, I am requesting that further consideration be given before such a change is enforced.

C. WELLINGTON

Kingston 6