By YOURI KEMP
The Bahamas Real Estate Association's (BREA) president yesterday called on landlords to be lenient in a bid to ease the shortage of affordable rental housing post-Hurricane Dorian.
Christine Wallace-Whitfield, pictured, said rental units priced between $1,000 to $2,000 per month were almost fully taken in New Providence due to the influx of Dorian evacuees from Grand Bahama and Abaco, with the few properties available priced at $2,500 and upwards.
This is likely unaffordable for many of the displaced, she said, adding that this would result in a shortage of rentals with property owners now scrambling to put people in short-term housing.
For those who have reached out to BREA for assistance, Mrs Wallace-Whitfield said: "We've been trying to put families in with other families in an attempt to get them into a rent-sharing arrangement so they can share the financial costs."
"We have also been asking landlords, where they can, to waive the security deposit and reduce the rent prices if they can. We're also making a special appeal to apartment building owners to put available and prospective units on the market with us. We're looking for affordable properties for evacuees, and trying to avoid landlords who may take to price gouging."
Mrs Wallace-Whitfield added: "Even though we have not had a substantial report of any particular landlords price gouging, what we have gotten was more of a register of shock and alarm from a property seeker on the high prices of rental units in New Providence."
She is also encouraging evacuees and displaced persons to find a licensed real estate agent "if you are seriously looking for a place to rent, or if you're a landlord and trying to find the right tenant".
"Keep reaching out. Keep helping people. Reach out to a firm that can help. Reach out to us because we're looking to work with reputable organisations in helping people find homes," Mrs Wallace-Whitfield said.