Principal Auditor slams Housing Department as rent arrears top £6m
The Principal Auditor has blasted the weak recovery action exercised by the Housing Department as rent arrears on Gibraltar Government properties peaked at over £6 million.
As of December 2015, arrears of unpaid rents stood at £6,019,854.68, with one tenant alone owing over £19,000. The total sum was provided to Parliament this week by Housing Minister Samantha Sacramento in answer to Opposition questions.
Moreover, the Housing Department failed to recover any arrears during the current financial year.
The department is finalising plans to crack down on those who do not pay their rent, but in the past year no letters were issued to defaulters and no persistent defaulters were taken to the Small Claims Court.
The Housing Department’s failure in this area is attributed to other factors such as prioritising other issues and a lack of staff resources, according to the principal auditor.
Rent arrears decreased marginally between 2008 where they stood at £3,508,556 and 2009 where the total amount owed was £3,460,915, but from there a marked deterioration in house rents arrears has resulted in year-on-year increases over the past five years.
In 2011, when the GSLP/Liberals first took office, rent arrears stood at £3,764,341.
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