Windsor Estates residents say being victimised after objections to hike in homeowners’ fee

Some residents of Windsor Estates, on the East Bank of Demerara, yesterday accused the developer of the gated community of seeking to victimise them after they protested an increase in their homeowners’ association fee.

Some residents told Stabroek News yesterday that some of them decided to withhold the monthly fee to protest the increase, which they say is being charged for maintenance of facilities, including those that were promised but are not yet in place.

However, they said the decision resulted in management of the community barring some residents from using the main entrance.

A handful of residents yesterday tried to enter the community using the entrance but they were denied access and told to use an alternative entrance. But residents refused, explaining that the alternative entrance, which is used by the contractors who are working on phase two of the housing development, is too muddy for them to use.

Windsor Estates is being developed by  Navigant Builders Inc, a US-based company.

Resident Marva Parker told Stabroek News that she found the move by the company to prevent them from using the main entrance to be “bullying.”

“It is so illegal to block someone’s access. We are some of the earlier homeowners and we had an agreement when we purchased and it spelt out the obligations of the homeowners and the obligations of the company…,” she explained.

A promised community swimming pool is under construction

It was claimed that some of the maintenance works undertaken have been shoddy, while a promised community playground and swimming pool have still not been delivered.

Parker said that with the contract she signed, they were required to pay a $10,000 per month fee that was only to be paid when all the amenities are installed. “But they had not installed the infrastructure and came to us to pay a fee even though the contract said the fee cannot be raised before two years,” she explained.

She stressed that they are currently seeking to raise the fee by 5% per annum, which must be paid in US or Guyanese currency at an exchange rate of $216 to $1.

“They want another raise. This is from the people who have not completed their part. But I went and took the fee with the whole 5% increase but they did not accept it,” Parker explained.

The company has said it refused to accept payment after refusal by the customer to adhere to the standard exchange rate being utilised by local commercial banks.

The residents explained that they decided to cease paying the monthly fee since October but it was only two weeks ago that they were barred from using the main entrance.

A section of the alternative road some residents are asked to use to enter the community.

“We can stick up in that road and they are not concerned when you tell them when you want to use that gate. You have to drive and come here and tell them you want to use that gate, then a security rides to that gate and we have to wait for it to be opened,” Parker’s husband interjected.

President and CEO of Navigant Builders Inc. Danny Sawh yesterday stated that to his knowledge only two home owners were denied access from entering through the main entrance. “The others I am thinking [are] standing in solidarity with the ones that are locked out,” he said.

Sawh explained that his company is still subsidising 30% to 35% of the maintenance fee. He noted that when the homeowners purchased the homes, they were informed of the fees and the amenities that it would cover.

“We are just the developers but we have agreed to do it because the majority of owners in there they prefer not to form a homeowners association because they said it won’t work in Guyana,” Sawh stated, while adding that his company decided to start up the association because it wanted to maintain a standard.

He, however, insisted that they are not locking anyone out of the compound but they are cutting the services provided to them since they have not paid the fees.

“We had an agreement that say that homeowners who do not pay over a certain period of time will have to use the alternative entrance,” he disclosed.

“We tried to work with them but they refused and we eventually had to do this and if everyone stop paying the place would become like any other place and not be Windsor Estates anymore,” he added.

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