Management says they “need to understand the issues”
Some of the homeowners at the Belize Yacht Club (BYC) are not happy with new developments on the property and have gone public with their frustrations. Their issues include concerns over rental money from the rental pool, the turning off of lights from common areas and the inconvenience of not having a functional pool at the resort. But according to the Manager of BYC Sergio Torres while the homeowners have valid concerns, they need to understand what has led to some of these issues.
Of the 44 units on the property 14 are owned by homeowners, while the others are owned by the management of the BYC. According to one homeowner, many bought their properties with plans of renting half of their property to cover expenses while they lived in the other half. “We are not wealthy people. Because Sergio Torres and his partner Michael Singh hold the hotel license issued by Belize Tourism Board, we must do all rentals through them. Accordingly, many of us have signed a Rental Pool Agreement allowing Sergio Torres (Island Club Resorts) exclusivity to rent out our units,” said a homeowner in an email to the media.
In an interview with The San Pedro Sun, Torres explained that of the 14 homeowners, only seven are in the rental pool with two more expressing interest to joining. “Most of the buildings are owned by us (BYC management) but the issue is not with the homeowners in the rental pool. The real issue is with those not in the rental pool who are making it difficult for others,” said Torres.
According to the frustrated homeowners one of the issues is that “despite the fact that there has been almost full occupancy for the past four months we have not received any rental money or accounting statements. The Homeowners Association responded by requesting a full accounting report be supplied by BYC Maintenance and BYC Rental Pool.” Torres explained that the rental pool has only been in existence since January 2013 and reports and payment to the homeowners are scheduled to be conducted quarterly. “We have just completed our quarterly report which is due for reporting by mid-month. We will make payments to homeowners quarterly and the full report will be done in the next few days,” responded Torres. He added that a few of the homeowners who are not in the rental pool are beginning to create mischief because of problems with the common areas.
In a letter to the media a homeowner wrote that “on April 2nd Sergio Torres’s response to our accounting request was as follows: He turned off the electricity to common area, he emptied the swimming pool, he turned all paying guests away thus denying us income. He refused admission to all agents and trades people working for the owners.” In response Torres said that the turning off of lights, emptying of pool and refusal of guest has nothing to do with rental pool inquires. “These people need to understand what the real problem is,” said Torres who added that “what is happening is that because some of the homeowners are not paying for maintenance of common areas we have to cut down on expenses. We cannot sustain running the pool and the electrical expenses and even paying for gardening if some are not paying for those services. Without a pool and some of the common areas not being kept, you cannot expect us to be renting the units,” Torres explained. He said that in the past, BYC had been subsidizing expenses for homeowners who were not paying for common area expenses. “We can no longer afford to do so,” said Torres. As such, BYC has been forced to take drastic measures until a deal can be struck with homeowners who have been piggybacking on those who pay. According to Torres, this is not the first time they have taken such measures to settle similar disputes and have even resorted to court action. As such, Torres said that BYC will be looking at the legal options to get those homeowners who are not paying, to do so through the court, since it is putting other homeowners at an inconvenience.
Some of the homeowners have written to the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) requesting them to revoke the home rental license for Island Club Resort. The homeowners have asked BTB to replace their license with one issued to BYC Homeowners Association. All attempts to speak to someone at the Quality Assurance Department at BTB were futile.
Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun