Campbell On ‘OBA’s Lack Of Understanding’

May 30, 2012

For the OBA to say the Government has entered into direct competition with private sector landlords through projects such as the 100 homes planned by WEDCo is “misleading and demonstrates a lack of understanding of the dynamics of the local housing market,” said Vance Campbell, the PLP Candidate for Constituency 9, Smith’s West.

“The market place does not provide sufficient housing to meet the needs of all of the families who are struggling to manage and contain the cost of providing themselves with affordable shelter,” Mr. Campbell said.

“It is then left to the Government, through agencies such as WedCo and the Bermuda Housing Corporation, to fill this void. If the Government is fulfilling a need that is not being met by the market, how then, can it be in competition, direct or otherwise, with the landlords in the market?’ Mr. Campbell continued.

Reflecting on his experience whilst at the Bermuda Housing Corporation, Mr. Campbell indicated that “whilst some private sector landlords were willing to rent to the clients of the BHC many more were either not prepared to rent to them and/or were not prepared to lower their rents to meet the needs of this demographic. ”

This reluctance, he believed, may be in part due to the “notoriety of a minority of BHC clients which has made it difficult for the majority who are respectable tenants.”

“The 236 names [individuals and families] currently on the BHC waiting list are a testament to the fact that the market place is falling short on providing the housing required in this area,” Mr Campbell said.

“Many of these individuals and families are living in inadequate accommodations. ‘It would appear that, under the OBA, the housing plan for these individuals and families would be one that throws them into a market place that has historically failed them.

“Fundamentally, this is a question of values. The PLP has dramatically expanded the number of affordable housing units and introduced geared to income housing because we’re on the side of struggling Bermudians.”

‘I would like to thank those landlords who have worked with the Bermuda Housing Corporation and those that continue to do so. I would also encourage landlords with vacant apartments to make them available to the clients of the BHC through its Private Sector Rental Program by calling 295-8623,” Mr. Campbell concluded.

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Comments (64)

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  1. Rory says:

    *sits with bucket of popcorn*

  2. SDLP says:

    explain to me how raising the rent to $1600 is providing more affordable hosuing for those 236 families?

    Having been a part of the BHC does not give you any creditibility, in fact it is quite the opposite.

    • Clairvoyant ? says:

      You beat me to it .
      Just what rate of rent can these 236 individuals and families really afford to pay anyway ?
      I bet it doesn’t even come near the $1600 per month that is projected for the Dockyard/WEDCO development.

      Rents are too high across the board anyway and it’s really getting laughable seeing landlords putting their just vacated units back on the market for the same asking price they were getting 5 years ago , while others are lowering and still not finding tennants after advertising for a year. We’re still a way from the big crash , but when it happens I hope these 236 families and individuals will finally find something they can afford from landlords who will be anxious to rent to them .

    • Zombie Apocalypse says:

      Yes, exactly. How does doubling rents and charging $1,600 to $2,100 do anything any different than the current rental market, with all the empty apartments?

  3. hmm says:

    Well said Vance!

  4. Cha says:

    Wait…didn’t Weeks say this was not a Government project? Seems this bloke thinks it is; gotta love their consistency. Incredible.

    If their is such a need why don’t they move these people to the monstrosity on North shore. At least they will be occupied and they have so many more going up they could still try and sell some.

    Anyway just a thought.

    • Truth (Original) says:

      It is a Govt project when it comes to taking credit for providing “affordable housing” not when it comes to being accountable for costs.

      • Zombie Apocalypse says:

        Sorta looks like Vance Campbell is the one with a “lack of understanding”.

        What a pity. First time he comes out and says something he makes a complete mess of it.

        Breaks your heart doesn’t it.

    • Come Correct says:

      I could be wrong but i think your compass is up side down lol

  5. navin johnson says:

    Mr. Campbell you have clearly demonstrated that you are clueless with regard to supply and demand and basic economics… see Mr. Campbell we have an oversupply of housing in Bermuda and a lack of demand(think Grand Atlantic) with many Bermudians unable to rent their apartments and homes… the Wedco idea to feed their friends and family is to replace 42 units with 100 units and to double the rent from $800 to $1600…..and now that I read that you were with Bermuda Housing I fully understand your lack of knowledge ….another rocket scientist candidate….

    • LMAWTFO says:

      We need those houses family.
      This is why I say history is important:
      Last recession we had we were under the govern of the then UBP party. During said recession, they refused to build new homes on the grounds that there was enough homes on the market and that (like OBA and others are saying right now) that people wouldn’t be able to afford the current rents or pending future ones. Post recession, there were not enough houses or apartments on the market to meet the peoples needs which then saw rents increase to towering figures. This recession will not last forever, we will come out of it no matter if its OBA or PLP who prevail a the next election. Note: If we follow in the footsteps of the old UBP then we would find ourselves right back in the history books repeating the mistakes of old.

  6. (Faverne Lurbert) Come correct says:

    This lot will say anything won’t they? On the side of struggling Bermudians? They’re struggling worse now than before due to your incompetance and lack of responsibility with the public purse. Hey I’m all for this, keep building please, soon I’ll be able to afford one when the value of everyone elses homes plumets into the ground due to your “lack of understanding of the dynamics of the local housing market”. Idiots.

    They paved paradise and put up a housing block
    With rumours of a hotel, a casino as a tourist hot spot

    Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone
    They paved paradise and put up a housing block

    They took all the trees and put ‘em in a tree museum
    And they charged all the people $25 just to see ‘em

    Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone
    They paved paradise and put up a housing block

    Hey builder, builder, put away that machine
    Give me a studio appartment but leave me the birds and the bees (please!)

    Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone
    They paved paradise and put up a housing block

    Late last night I heard the tree frog cry
    And a big yellow tractor took away my beautiful home away

    Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone
    They paved paradise and put up a housing block

    Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone
    They paved paradise and put up a housing block
    They paved paradise and put up a housing block

  7. We Like says:

    Finally someone with sense. 236 Families are on the waiting list OBA.. What is your plan for them? Leave them on the waiting list? You are so good at asking questions, why don’t you provide answers.

  8. welldone says:

    Good statement Mr Campbell. Though low profile Mr Campbell is a very thoughtful and analytic person. He doesnt speak just for the sake of being heard but speaks when he has something important to say.
    While this wedco project may not be perfect, his statement was right on point. The govt does have a responsibility to those who are struggling in the free market. It cannot always be ‘survival of the fittest’. In addition, I wonder what the OBA would do to regarding providing affordable housing in Bermuda. They are doing a lot of crticizing on every single issue but are very short on suggestions/solutions.

    • Zombie Apocalypse says:

      So: is it a government project or not? Can the “thoughtful and analytic” Mr campbell enlighten us? Or does he have to check with Weeks first?

  9. Zombie Apocalypse says:

    Yesterday Weeks said that this isn’t a government project. He said it’s Wedco, which is quango, which according to Weeks is completely disconnected from the government. He complained about what he called the “misinformation” being spread about the project. He said “It is not, repeat not, a government contract”.

    Today, Campbell says that it is the “Government, through agencies such as WedCo” who is “fulfilling a need”.

    So which is it? Is Weeks correct or is Vance correct? The two of them are saying opposite things.

    Presumably, Vance Campbell is one of the people that Weeks was yesterday complaining about when he said there was “misinformation” being put out. I am not sure why Mr Campbell would add to the “misinformation”. Perhaps it’s his political inexperience.

    It makes them both look like they are making things up as they go along. They will say anything to try to muddy the water. One day it’s not a governemnt project, the next day it is. Neither one of them has any idea. And still, no answer to all the questions about the tenders and contracts, of course.

  10. Bewildered says:

    Who is to be believed in the 100 homes planned by WedCo – Vance Campbell who says it’s up to Government, through its Agencies WedCo and BLDC, or the Public Works Minister Weeks who yesterday held a press conference to make it clear that the Government had no involvement? Talk about confusion within the ranks. No wonder the public are also confused.

  11. Pitts Bay says:

    ““It is then left to the Government, through agencies such as WedCo and the Bermuda Housing Corporation, to fill this void. If the Government is fulfilling a need…”

    So, is it a Government initiative or a WEDCO initiative? Mr Campbell and Mr Weeks can’t have it both ways.

  12. Truth (Original) says:

    Mr. Campbell, I am not sure which rental market you have been observing but a cursory glance at Bermuda’s rental market will reveal that there are literally hundreds of empty apartments all across Bermuda. It would also reveal that prices have come down substantially in the 3-4 bedroom ranges and less so in the 1-2 bedroom ranges, but they have decreased nonthless.

    It is blatantly disingenuous of you to suggest that 100 additional units in Somerset will in no way effect landlords who are depending on the rental income to make ends meet. It will flood the area with an additional 50+ units that are to be priced somewhere in the 1600 – 2200 range. That, Sir, is market prices and it will fails to fill the void of which you speak.

    The void that it will fill is the void in Government finances by competing with everyday Bermudians for rents that they depend on.

    You should be ashamed of yourself because I know, you know better …or at least you should.

  13. Philip Seaman says:

    Vance, That is the way that I see it.

  14. GMS says:

    If this implied subsidy that BHC housing was giving their “clients” were added to their capacity to pay, then they could readily find rental units at market value. The BHC provides housing at below market levels by spreading the cost for doing so across all taxpayers, not just their “clients”. It is only in this way that Govt and the BHC are able to service that demographic.

  15. Truth (Original) says:

    For further emphasis- The places that WEDCo are potentially bringing online would be as unaffordable to the BHC clients as places that are already on the market seeing as though there isn’t much difference in pricing.

    Not only that but the people that are currently living in Albert Row et al, are they able to afford the proposed increases? If they can’t then you will be effectively replacing one family in need for another ..just depending on who can pay the most.

  16. Larry Burchall says:

    “The 236 names [individuals and families] currently on the BHC waiting list are a testament to the fact that the market place is falling short on providing the housing required in this area,” Mr Campbell said.

    If these 236 families are made up of all the ‘worst case’ tenant clients in the BHC client list, then they do need to be housed. Best option is to house them in existing housing inventory and then subsidize them.

    This means using housing units that already exists, and BHC agreeing to pay the landlord an agreed rent. The BHC ‘client’ pays rent to BHC and BHC guarantees the ‘state of the property (rental unit)’. The landlord deals only with BHC and not the ‘client’. This option costs the difference between what the ‘client’ can and does pay and what the landlord receives.

    Assuming that all 236 ‘clients’ can only afford between $500 – $800 a month and that rents range $900 – $2,000; this 236 person BHC client group can be housed for a total annual cost to BHC (thus the taxpayer) between $1,500,000 – $2,000,000 a year. This because the 236 would include singles, couples, two-parent households with children, as well as single parent families.

    That $1.5m – $2.0m annual cost will be money flowing directly to Bermuda landlords. It will not be siphoned off to foreign suppliers. The $1.5m – $2.0m annual cost is far lower than the cost of re-housing in newly built accommodation, even spreading that new build cost over 30 years.

    In 1999, Bermuda had excess housing inventory. In 2005 Bermuda still had excess housing inventory. In 2012, Bermuda has a housing glut in that it has about twice the 1,900 empty units that it had in 1999. In 2012, Bermuda actually has over 3,500 EMPTY housing units in all price/rent ranges.

    Yes, those 236 BHC ‘clients’ are a problem. But also yes, in 2012 there is now a massive supply of empty housing stock available for them.. Since 1999, there has always been housing stock available for them.

    Building new is the wrong answer. Using existing stock is the right answer.

    NOTE: I was Chairman of the BHC 1999 – 2000. I do know whereof I speak.

    It would be nice for the BHC or for Vance Campbell to tell us all just how many empty units are in the BHC database as of this date. Tell us that. How many empty housing units are there in Bermuda today? Tell us.

    Larry Burchall

    • navin johnson says:

      Larry there you go again making too much sense….

    • Bewildered says:

      Now here’s the voice of common sense, and with a solution. Well said.

    • Bermyman says:

      Fantastic suggestions!

    • Rory says:

      How about landlords lowering their rents?

      Isnt that how the free markets work?

    • LMAWTFO says:

      Wait a minute, didn’t you fail at your job as chairman of the bhc?? Just curious as I was told that by someone.

    • Barracuda says:

      It’s tragic how some people see the logic, and some just don’t want to .

  17. 1minute says:

    I am guessing the Mr Campbell is looking for political points as he isn’t an MP and only a candidate…
    From what I read, the OBA were more concerned that the project wasn’t properly tendered and was given to a foreign company.

  18. More with less says:

    How ironic the title of this article. Too funny

  19. Soooo says:

    This is the same Vance Campbell that was General Manager of the Bermuda Housing Corporation from 2003-2006, is it not? The same Vance Campbell that was head of the BHC during the Orange Hole project? The same project that the Auditor General feels requires further investigation?

  20. Amazed says:

    Does the OBA think that $1600 is not affordable at all or just to the dockyard tenants?? Yes some rents have come down but many more have not!! the bottom line is that landlords now have to be competetive as the entire market has changed but many refuse to change and keep hanging on to a hope that our economy will rebound so they can continue to charge high rents. The good times are over and while the economy will get better it will not reach the heights it was at any time in the near future.

    • Concerned says:

      okay, they are paying 1600 now – what do you think after all the updates (stainless steel this, that and the other) the rent is going to stay the same. These people will have to pay, that is why they are concernedddddd.

      Good times were over for many 10 – 13yrs ago Mate but it will take just a tick on the ballot to move our country forward, giving people who at one time had, thought they had and now are living near the knot in the end of their rope, HOPE!.

  21. Allen G says:

    Our economy will rebound eventually, but the number of people who cant maintain an affluent lifestyle will mushroom. Many seniors, undereducated, convicts do not have the cash flow to live in housing at current market prices. We know that these numbers will increase so the demand of housing that meets their need also will increase. Its a catch 22.

  22. Zombie Apocalypse says:

    There’s another major angle to this as well. Larry Burchall makes an excellent point, that the most logical approach would be to utlize current empty apartments.

    So why won’t they do that?

    Consider this. With a $36m contract to an overseas firm, there are finders fees, commissions, consultant fees, costs, charges, of all types. Plenty of scope of 10%-15% of the total contract price to be syphoned off as “frictional costs” into one or two ‘favoured’ places.

    Hence the otherwise inexplicable reluctance to have the contract properly tendered, or to explore the options to house people in existing empty apartments at a far lesser cost. Those “frictional costs” are lining the pockets of people.

  23. Rory says:

    So we have to bail out greedy landlords by subsidizing their rents?

    I should just buy a house with 2 apts charge 9000 per month and wait until Gov’t pays some of it.

    LOL. Why dont the landlords register their property with the BHC?

    • Concerned says:

      I have heard some landlords stories and a few left me timid re BHC tenants. I have a single lady tenant and she is absolutely wonderful, don’t want her to ever move. Meaning that I know what I have, don’t know what I am going to get.

      • Rory says:

        If landlords prefer to get nothing at all instead of the possibility of the unknown then they should not be complaining about empty units correct?

        Having said that, then Larry’s proposal would not appeal to many landlords if they have teh same mentality non?

        • Zombie Apocalypse says:

          Rory, what is it that is so hard to understand? Larry’s idea saves us, Bermuda taxpayers, tens of millions of dollars at a time when we don’t have it. And it houses people who apparently need housing.

          Of course you wouldn’t ‘overpay’ landlords. On the other hand, the current government has defined ‘affordable housing’ to include rents of $2,100 a month, and Grand Atlantic condos. Obviously its not $9,000 a month for BHC clients.

          • Rory says:

            Zombie… Why dont landlords lower their rents? a decent 1 bedroom is still 1800-2200 per month. I say decent because units below 1600 usually are garbage i.e. mouldy outdated appliances.

            Again, why dont we let the market do what it is supposed to do?

            • Zombie Apocalypse says:

              Landlords ARE lowering their rents.

              • Rory says:

                Obviously not low enough to rates to meet the demand if they are still complaining about vacant units.

                • Concerned says:

                  A person charges $1000 for a fully furnished one bedroom apartment – government was paying something like $230 – 280(?) and the tenant was responsible to pay the rest. Months later after receiving cheques from government for their part and one payment from the tenant the landlord encouraged the tenant to move out. As it was the person was coming to the apartment well after 11pm with children in tow. The tenant moved in two days leaving the apartment very very nasty and the electricty had been turned off unknown to the landlord who found mail pushed behind the mailbox and the wall. Apartment has not been rented since.

    • @Work says:

      Landlords are greedy. I wonder why? Houses cost a lot of money both in monthly payments and upkeep.

      • Rory says:

        If you are based your mortgage on rental income that is a BIG gamble..

    • Truth (original) says:

      Rory-YOU are not subsidizing landlords. Period. WE (the taxpayers) are subsidizing those who cannot afford to pay market rents.

      You have it a little twisted friend.

      • Rory says:

        Why cant we let the market adjust itself?

        The market is inflated… Why should the taxpayer assist in keeping the market unattainable for many?

        It does not make sense. The whole argument that “we need rents to pay mortgages.” is BS. My young landlord stated that lucky for them, they did not base their mortgage on their rental income… while rental income helps them out, they dont need it to pay their mortgage.

        They understood the risk of basing your mortgage on rental income. Why didnt others do the same?

        People made a risky investment purchasing proerty for an investment… even if IB stayed, the amount of highrise condos that will be built will still would have diluted the market.

        Again, why dont we let the market determine price?

        Im not an economist but increase of supply and decrease in demand equates to lower prices non? So why arent prices dropping lower if landlords are desperate for tenants?

        • Truth (original) says:

          “what don’t we let the market determine the prices”- I agree wholeheartedly.

          Tell your govt to stop artificially manipulating the market.

  24. Larry Burchall says:

    Vance Campbell,

    Primary question that needs an honest answer…How many empty housing units are there now? BHC should know this and it should factor in their decision and in WEDCO’s. How many units?

    If 236 people need housing, simple competition means that some landlords – 1 in 8 out of 1,900 landlords have to agree to BHC terms/conditions. OR – in 2012, 1 in 14 of 3,500 landlords have to agree.

    Simple market competition and the needs of landlords fixes the matter. In a renter’s market of this kind, BHC – not the landlord – sets the rents.

    Vance, how many empty housing units are there? Reveal, don’t conceal. How many?

    Larry Burchall

    Keep the analysis on the basics. Don’t float off into emotional euphorics.

  25. Serious says:

    There are numerous 1 bedroom apartments with washer n dryer(no coins needed) and they are renting for 1400 -1600. lets be serious, if this housing is to affordable it should be below market value.

  26. A little WISDOM says:

    LOW COST housing is not a solution for the poor. Education and discipline are. Give these people a hand up not a hand out. Welfare only serves and a yoke around the people’s necks, and a ball and chain around their feet. Help them and show them that with some discipline and forward planning how they can improve their lots and move out into the free market. How many who rented or bought into Cedar Park, Top Square, Boaz Island, etc have used this opportunity to advance themselves. I have seen too many use this as a crutch and opportunity to lay back because “Government has my back, I am OK jack, I don’t have to do anything”. They will never get off the plantation!!!!!

    • We Like says:

      Wow, looking down your nose at others I think.

      Has it ever occured to you that some in life don’t want that. Has it ever occured to you that some peopele are comfortable doing just what is needed to get by so that they can enjoy life and family?

      This is the most arrogant post i think i’ve ever seen.

      • Zombie Apocalypse says:

        Well, ok, but if you go through life doing ‘just enough to get by’, you can’t necessarily depend on handouts from all the other dumbasses who don’t mind working harder than you.

      • A Visitors Perspective says:

        I don’t see any arrogance in the post.

        Is your point that if people want to spend their whole lives living in housing subsidized by government, you’re OK with that? Do you think that’s an appropriate function for government? Do you think that the people that *don’t* think that way will be OK with a portion of their taxes being used to subsidize other people’s housing costs?

        If someone wants to get by “doing just what is needed”, then that shouldn’t involve a government subsidy of their housing (or any other) costs.

  27. Back to basics says:

    Mr. Campbell let’s not forget that a major reaon that there is still a long waiting list at the BHC is the failure of some of the tenants to obtain suitable references from past landlords. When tenants refuse to meet their monthly rental obligations it is not the responsibility of government to bail them out. It would be intereting to get statistics on the numbers that fall into this category. Indeed, I am sure Wedco has a similar problem ibn that non payintg tenants simply will not be able to rent another apartment. This does not mean that there is a shortage of affordable rentals, simply that non-paying tenants are now reaping what they sow.

    • Sooooo says:

      BtoB…. I would love to see some numbers:

      How many BHC and WedCo ownd properties are more that 90 and 180 days in arrears?
      How many BHC rented (privatly owned) properies are more that 90 and 180 days in arrears?

      This has been an issue for yeard with BHC property, it’s like working for Government, once your in the door you have to almost “TRY to get fired” to actully get fired.

  28. Rory says:


    Rents have been inflated for sometime now…

    None of you complained when rents were soaring out of reach for many Bermudians…

    Now many of you are desperate to keep the high rents so you can take your twice a year trips, buy a new car every 6 yrs etc etc…

    Let the market dictate the rents and value of properties… that is the basis of valuation.

    The only think I agree with is what some of you stated… the prices per unit WEDCo is renting is not that affordable… drop it down about 300-400.

  29. Bum-By says:

    WEDCO being a Quango or qango is an acronym meaning quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation. This means that this Project will be overseen by the Government that being US as a people through WEDCO.
    Another course of progress is to implement what is known in America as Section 8 Housing Rents subsidised by the assistance of Government making a partial payment and the Tenants making a greater part of that rental payment providing this is Policed correctly it is Possible for this to work.
    Ultimatly if Coldwell Banker were not allowed to Create a control of Pricing on our Real Estate that created this Fiesco back in the Eighties we would not be in this perdicament today.
    Another Issue that needs to be addressed is ther are many home owners that are still trying to rent their Units to us locals as if the applicants were employees of the Exemp & REinsurance Companies.
    REmember REcently REsidence REvealed REvelations RElative to REsession not REInsurance REight!!!!!!