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Government’s housing policy was geared toward the mass production of houses and the provision of the necessary mortgage finance under existing incentives.
Government’s housing policy emphasized Urban Re-development and Slum Clearance.
The National Housing Authority was established on August 07, 1962 by Housing Act No. 3 of 1962 (Chapter 33:01). The Authority was created primarily to construct and distribute single-family units in large scale housing development projects for lower and middle income groups in the country;
Focus was on the promotion of aided self-help houses; the construction of flats and the acquisition of land for housing and the construction of decanting centres.
Focus was on the construction of apartment buildings and slum clearance. Upon the acquisition of land for development or slum clearance, it was found necessary to construct decanting centres.
Focus was on the provision of single family units for low-income families; the construction of flattened accommodations and the development of housing sites. Negotiations were concluded with the Inter-American Development Bank for a loan of TT$8.6 million to assist Government with the accelerated programme for the construction of low-cost housing in various parts of the country, and land preparation work that was being undertaken
Low and middle income housing programme which was initiated in 1969 was continued with the emphasis on the construction of housing units and high density flats.
Low and middle income housing programme which was initiated in 1969 was continued with the emphasis on the construction of housing units and high density flats.
The housing construction and the slum clearance programme continued as well as the re-planning of urban and sub-urban areas.
Focus was on the construction of low income houses and high density flats to target low income persons as well as assisting with the construction of private housing through the provision of mortgage financing.
Negotiations continued for the localization of the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Company, with a view to bringing the financial institution under local control in three years, resulting in the availability of substantial and sustained increase in loanable funds.
Negotiation for the localization of the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Financial Company was completed and final agreement was being prepared.
The strategy adopted was to provide financial assistance to persons who wished to build their own homes, since the population had shown a reluctance to accept the standardized designs developed for mass public housing projects.
Government’s housing policy focused on the construction of housing units and the development of serviced sites.
The Housing Policy focused on the provision of sites and services through the National Settlements Thrust Programme. Taxation measures with respect to housing were modified. Interest on mortgage loans, other loans /overdraft for purchase or home improvement were allowed up to a maximum of $24,000 per annum for no more than two properties, while rates, taxes, maintenance repairs and fire insurance were no longer allowed as deductions.
There was the implementation of the Settlements and Squatter Regularization Programme facilitated by a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for the development of serviceable lots, financing of housing construction and squatter upgrades.
The Settlement Policy stressed the importance of the accessibility of all strata of society to acceptable and affordable shelter, with particular emphasis on the needs of the most disadvantaged group in society.
The Government took fiscal measures to stimulate housing construction. Exemptions would be allowed on personal and corporate taxes until 2000 on all rental income accruing from residential, industrial and commercial property constructed between January 01, 1993 and December 31, 1994. That would also apply to all capital gains and profits derived from the initial sale of such properties.
The Government implemented an exemption from tax on rent under Section 42 of the Income Tax Act, Chapter 75:01 beginning January 1996.
The Sugar Industry Labour Welfare (SILWC) was established by Act No. 64:05 in 1951 to control and administer the sugar industry welfare fund. Its main goal was the improvement of housing for workers in the sugar industry.
The Sugar Industry Labour Welfare (SILWC) was established by Act No. 64:05 in 1951 to control and administer the sugar industry welfare fund. Its main goal was the improvement of housing for workers in the sugar industry.
In 1996, the relevant Regulation in the Act was amended so that workers employed on the Diversification Programme of Caroni (1975) Limited could also source loans and apply to the Committee for building lots. The SILWC was also engaged in the development of land for the provision of sites and services to beneficiaries.
In 1996, the exemption from tax on rent was introduced pending a review of the Rent Control Act. Additionally, the deduction of mortgage interest payment, including interest payments on bridging finance, for tax purposes was reduced from $24,000 to $20,000 per annum.
The Government indicated that its focus was to provide shelter to lower income families. This would include squatter regularization and infrastructural upgrades of squatter communities, development and distribution of serviced lots, core houses and full houses; technical assistance towards shelter construction and apartment refurbishment and replacement.
The Land Settlement Agency (LSA) was a body corporate established under the provision of the State Land (Regularisation of Tenure) Chapter 57:05, Act No. 25 of 1998. It was mandated to regularize certain squatters who illegally occupied State Lands prior to 1st January, 1998. As such, the agency’s role was to foster overall enhancement and improvement of the living conditions and welfare of persons living in designated squatter communities.
The Government through TTMF proposed to raise a $200M Tax Free Housing Bond in the domestic financial market for loans to low income earners for the purpose of home construction and/or acquisition. The Government was actually able to raise $100M which was disbursed through TTMF for financing home construction or acquisition. Additionally, property owners were allowed to claim an aggregate mortgage deduction up to a maximum of $18,000 per annum.
The ceiling on loans under the Approved Mortgage Company Lending Programme was increased from $300,000 to $350,000 with effect from January 01, 2001. Also, the stamp duty exemption was increased to show the new level of $350,000.
The Government launched a new and comprehensive national housing policy entitled “Showing Trinidad and Tobago a New Way HOME” and was publicly unveiled on March 26, 2002.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago entered into a loan contract on June 21, 2002 with the Inter-American Development Bank (National Settlements Program Second Stage Phase One) in order to establish a more equitable, transparent and sustainable system of affordable housing.
The then Ministry of Housing decided that, in conjunction with the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Company Limited, mortgage financing will be granted up to 95% of the loan at 6% interest rate.
The objective of the Accelerated Housing Programme was to provide affordable and adequate housing solutions for low and middle income earners. The programme consisted of two components: (I) Infill Programme (ii) Joint Venture Programme.

(I) The Infill Programme was geared towards constructing houses on lots which were developed by the National Housing Authority and were still vacant.

(ii) The Joint Venture Programme was a partnership arrangement between the National Housing Authority and developers to construct houses for low and middle income persons. Contractors /developers constructed low cost houses which would be sold at pre-determined selling prices agreed to by Cabinet. Measures were implemented to ensure that 10% of all contracts awarded for housing construction were given to small contractors.
The National Housing Authority Vesting Act was passed in 2004 to address the issue of residents on NHA housing estates who were not in receipt of proper title.
The Home Improvement Grant Programme was launched and was designed to assist pensioners and the less fortunate in the society with repairs to their homes.
The Ministry commenced the implementation of the Rent-to-Own Programme. This Programme targeted low and middle income beneficiaries who were financially unable to secure mortgage financing and would be given consideration for rental accommodation based on their income levels.
The Ministry and the NHA encouraged and supported on the job training by contractors via the Helping Young People Earn (HYPE) training programme. This training programme was also used to supplement construction skills in the Ministry’s housing programmes.
The Urban Renewal Programme was designed to improve the quality of life in low and middle income areas by constructing apartments for rental by persons who were unable to afford a mortgage. This programme also involved the reconstruction of dilapidated government housing units and addressed problems in the urban centers by providing improved services and infrastructure. Measures were implemented to ensure that 10% of all contracts awarded for housing construction were given to small contractors.
The Housing Development Corporation (HDC) was created by Act No. 24 of 2005 to replace the former National Housing Authority (NHA) and expand its mandate. The Corporation is mandated by the Act to:
Provide affordable shelter and associated community facilities for low and middle income persons.
Carry out the broad policy of the Government in relation to housing.
Over a 4 year period from 2002, Mortgage Interest Rates were reduced from 12% to 8% to 6%; there was also a reduction of mortgage downpayments from 10% to 5%
Reduction of Mortgage Interest Rates from 6% to 2% for persons with an income less than $8000 monthly and purchasing State housing with a value of $450,000 and less;
Reduction of Mortgage Down payment from 5% to 0% for persons with a monthly income of $8,000 and less. The repayment terms for the mortgage financing between 6% and 8% is 30 years to age 60 or age of retirement. There was also the added benefit of an additional loan if required of $15,000 approved for major appliances.
The Allocation Policy was amended to include the introduction of a weighting system to give long time waiting applicants, those with dependents and those with disabilities greater opportunity of being selected through the random draw process; the distribution ratio of persons considered for allocation was also changed to 60% national pool, 25% for special cases; 10% for the Joint Protective Services and 5% for senior citizens and persons with disabilities;
Post election, 2007 the Ministry of Housing was re-aligned and became the Ministry of Planning, Housing and the Environment.
A draft Social Housing Policy document (A Policy For Shelter) was prepared to provide strong justification for the expansion of the social housing programme. This policy specifically dealt with the need for the State and the private sector to provide rental properties for low income earners and vulnerable persons living in T’dad & T’bgo. The rationale was that an increase in the social housing stock would contribute to further sustainable development, address concerns around urban regeneration, and reduce illegal housing options such as squatting on state and private land. It was also the goal of the then Government to ensure every citizen to have access to adequate and affordable housing.
A PPP Unit in the Ministry of Finance was established on Aug 13, 2009 by Cabinet Minute No 2178; the Unit, with technical assistance from the IDB, was set up to focus on fostering good governance by strengthening execution and delivery capacity for PPP development;
Following the election May 2010, the Ministry of Housing and the Environment, formerly part of the Ministry of Planning, Housing and the Environment, was established. A new Minister (of the People’s Partnership Government) with responsibility for housing was appointed.
The Ministry won a CAPAM award for its category submission, “Innovative Use of Technology in the Public Service”. The CAPAM Awards promote the exchange of innovation, knowledge and practice in citizen-centered service delivery and public service management.
Cabinet Minute No. 3112 of November 2011, established a Multidisciplinary Committee to Spearhead and Oversee the Development of a National Building Code for Trinidad and Tobago;
The HDC established a Recoveries Department in May 2011 as part of its robust collection strategy to address the chronic state of arrears of all HDC’s developments;
The Government partnered with the IDB and other agencies to develop suitable strategies and actions to implement the Climate Change Policy. The aim of the Policy is to reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions from all emitting sectors; enhance carbon sinks, which seek to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through natural or artificial reservoirs through carbon sequestration; and enhance agricultural production and food security.’
In June, 2012 The Ministry of Housing, Land and Marine Affairs replaced the Ministry of Housing and the Environment.
In early 2012, A committee was established to develop an Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Policy Framework, Strategy, and Action Plan for Trinidad and Tobago;
The signing of ‘The Certificate of Environmental Clearance (Designated Activities) (Amendment) Order, 2012’ by the Minister of Housing and the Environment - to facilitate the transfer of the Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) process for quarrying, from the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs to the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Housing and the Environment – Environmental Management Authority (EMA).
Signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and the Toco Foundation for their environmental project ‘Water Harvesting in the Northeastern Region of Trinidad’ on May 14, 2012. The project would be implemented by the Toco Foundation in three (3) phases over a period of four (4) years with an approved Green Fund grant of $16,938,688.00TTD.
TTMF’s mortgage interest rate was reduced by 1% effective Oct 01, 2012 (with certain conditions being applied). This served to effect the mandate given by the Minister of Finance in his 2011 Budget Statement, to vary the rates from 6 to 5% and from 8% to 7% per annum.
Launch of the IDB funded Neighbourhood Upgrading Programme;
The GoRTT strategically embarked upon a policy of State Land distribution to alleviate the need for shelter among persons in the lower socio-economic strata of society. In so doing, the LSA will allocate 500 serviceable lots initially, as part of its mandate to deliver ten thousand (10,000) residential lots in the first phase of a three year programme.
The Property and Real Estate Services Division of the Ministry of Housing, Land and Marine Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Administration, launched the GoRTT Office Outfitting Policy.
CEPEP Marine was officially launched in Jan, 2012. The programme is aimed at removing and reducing solid waste (comprising of non-degradable, plastic and glass materials) deposited in marine areas, inland waterways and wetland areas.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development was created and replaced the Ministry of Housing, Land and Marine Affairs.
The Land Settlement Agency (LSA), hosted the first in a series of Construction Skills Development Fairs (CSDFs) targeting small scale contractors and individuals from the Borough of Chaguanas and the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation who were interested in being trained in various aspects of construction. The objective of the CSDFs is to stimulate micro-enterprise development in the construction industry by providing specialised skills training and employment opportunities through the (former) Land for the Landless Programme of the LSA.
On Monday 20 May 2013, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with The National Training Agency (NTA) to facilitate training and certification of the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) for the Contractor workers.
Government amended the approved monthly income ceiling of applicants of the Government’s subsidized housing programme from $25,000 to $45,000;
HDC introduced its Fire Prevention Programme for multi-storey estates.
Following the General Elections of September 2015 and the re-alignment of portfolios, a new Minister with responsibility for housing and urban development (from the People’s National Movement) was appointed.
TTMF and SILWC signed a MoU to offer ex-workers of Caroni (1975) Ltd the opportunity to access the 2% mortgage interest rate for the purpose of purchasing land, assigned to them under the VSEP package arrangements, as well for the purpose of constructing a dwelling house on said lot of land;
Installation of the first Board of Management for the Eastside Plaza and New City Mall.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, through the HDC, turned the sod for the first housing development using the first Public-Private Partnership procurement model. This model is being implemented to accelerate construction of housing developments for low to middle income groups at prearranged prices. Upon completion, the state through HDC, will receive and direct the units to mortgages facilitated by the TTMF. The GoRTT adopted the Public Private Partnership procurement model to attract excess liquidity from the private sector to provide affordable public sector housing for low and middle income persons in accordance with the HDC Act.
The introduction of regulations governing the provision of income tax relief for developers of newly constructed affordable multi-family developments. Additionally, there is a fifty percent (50%) tax relief as well as other fiscal incentives geared towards private investors willing to contribute capital, land and other resources for the construction of public housing.
The MHUD initiated the signing of an Agreement between major local telecommunications service providers and the Trinidad and Tobago Housing Development Corporation (HDC). This was precipitated by a desire to provide modern technology services to residents of HDC’s housing communities and was hailed as a “win- win situation” for all affected stakeholders, particularly the residents of the HDC’s housing communities, who had long been clamouring for this very basic necessity.
A review of the Ministry’s social programmes indicate that in 2016, 452 families benefitted from the Home Construction Subsidy; 423 families benefitted from the Home Improvement Subsidy and 163 families benefitted from Home Improvement Grants.
Cabinet approved the revisions to the Affordable Housing Programme Mortgage Financing by increasing the income bands and the value of the property being acquired. The qualifying income was increased from $10,000.00 to $14,000.00 for the 2% loan facility and from $14,001.00 to a maximum of $30,000 for the 5% facility; while the value of the properties being acquired will now be at $1M (2%) and $1.5M (5%) respectively;
The Victoria Keyes Housing Complex, on which construction began in 2006, was formally launched in February 2017. Two hundred and six units will be sold on the open market; Government will retain ten units and forty-eight will be allocated to qualifying applicants.
Launch of the Government’s Aided Self-Help Housing Programme on November 10, 2017. This programme targets persons without land as well as persons with land and offers both financial and technical assistance to those who need it. In the first phase of the programme, 1000 serviceable lots in central Trinidad will be made available to qualifying applicants at thirty percent (30%) of the market value. Successful applicants will also be able to access Trinidad & Tobago Mortgage Finance Company’s 2% and 5% mortgage facilities. Additionally, the applicants will have access to pre-approved house plans, registered contractors and technical assistance and oversight throughout the construction period.
The first cycle of the Government’s Aided Self-Help Housing Programme is being considered a success with close to 5,000 applications being received and processed between the start of the application process on November 20th, 2017 to the deadline date of Jan 12, 2018.
During the period, October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017, the Ministry disbursed: 705 Home Improvement Grants; 64 Emergency Shelter Relief Grants; 317 Home Improvement Subsidies and 249 Home Construction Subsidies.
In February 2017, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development reconvened the Joint Protective Services Housing Committee after it was dormant for the past 6 years. The goal of this Committee is to coordinate the efforts of the eligible members of the protective service and defence force so that they will be able to secure safe and affordable accommodation. An allocation of ten percent (10%) of all public housing distributions was decided for members of the Joint Protective Services.
Land Settlement Agency – During the Fiscal year 2017, the LSA was able to complete development works which benefited 3,564 families.
Land Settlement Agency – LSA has started distribution of four hundred and fifty-five (455) Certificates of Comfort prepared for the period 2016-2017;
Land Settlement Agency – In 2018, this will be the first government, since the Act (25) of 1998 came into effect, to grant over 1,000 statutory leases to CoC holders in exchange for a premium determined at 25% the market value of the land. The lease will be for a period of 30 years, at the end of which time a Deed of Lease for 199 years will be issued.
Urban Development Corporation of T’dad & T’bgo – Officially handed over the Mt. Hope/Mt. Lambert, Ackbar Trace and Blanchiseusse Community Centres to the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts during fiscal 2016-2017;
Urban Development Corporation of T’dad & T’bgo – Work continues on twelve (12) other Community Centres - o Blanchisseuse o Tarodale o Diego Martin South o Bagatelle Community Centre Diego Martin o Pleasantville o New Village o Las Lomas #2 o Chickland o Indian Trail o Techier o Quarry Village o Quarry Road
Urban Development Corporation of T’dad & T’bgo – During fiscal 2016-2017, UDeCOTT completed, outfitted and officially handed over three new police stations to the Ministry of National Security at St. Joseph, Besson Street, PoS and Maracas St. Joseph;
Urban Development Corporation of T’dad & T’bgo – Officially handed over the Mayaro Fire Station
Urban Development Corporation of T’dad & T’bgo – Completed and outfitted the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba and the Government Plaza in Port of Spain;
Trinidad & Tobago Mortgage Finance Co Ltd – In fiscal 2017, TTMF increased income bands and value of property that can be acquired.
Trinidad & Tobago Mortgage Finance Co Ltd – 332 persons accessed the 5% mortgage facility while 621 persons accessed the 2% rate which is almost twice the number of persons processed between 2010 and 2015.
Trinidad & Tobago Mortgage Finance Co Ltd – Partnered with the HDC for the conduct of the Mortgage Conversion Caravan and was able to convert 843 Licence to Occupy (LTO) and Rent to Own (RTO) accounts to mortgages.
Housing Development Corporation – Completed 1,089 housing units in the following developments – Malick, Fairfield, Princes Town; Victoria Keyes, Diego Martin and Exchange, Couva.
Housing Development Corporation – Resumed work on housing developments which were left unfinished during the period 2010 – 2015. Some of these include Real Springs, Valsayn; Vieux Fort, St. James; Lake View, Point Fortin; Malabar, Arima and Carlsen Field.
Housing Development Corporation – HDC has been able to collect $103m in arrears from delinquent tentants (rentals).
Housing Development Corporation – Despite economic challenges, a total of 23 developments are currently under construction. These should yield 2,600 housing units when completed.
Housing Development Corporation – Work commenced on the following new developments – Bon Air South, Corinth, Trestrail, Moruga.
Housing Development Corporation –The Government announced that it intends to return the HDC to its original moorings by providing affordable housing for low to lower middle income families with an emphasis on rental accommodations.