Published On: Tue, Sep 11th, 2018

Judge visits SMHDF homes in Belvedere to assess damages

Judge visiting damaged homes Belvedere - 20180911 BS

BELVEDERE — Not many court cases end with a judge personally visiting the site of a case in question. However, on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 11, 2018, a walkthrough of the homes of tenants fighting a court case against the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF) took place in the presence of  the presiding judge, the court recorder and the lawyers of the parties involved. SMN News was the only media house that had access to the homes during the walkthrough. With permission StMaartenNews.com publishes an excerpt of this news report. The full report can be found online at SMN-News.com.

According to SMN-News.com homeowners in Belvedere who filed a court case against the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF) after the foundation failed to conduct repairs since the passing of hurricane Irma managed to show Judge Sander van Rijen the conditions under which they are living even though paying their monthly rent.

At least one day before Tropical Storm Isaac hits St. Maarten the 15 homeowners managed to display their leaking roofs, cracked walls, flooded bathroom, moldy homes to the judge and the other legal representatives as well as the representative of SMHDF, SMN-News.com reported.

Maria Richardson, representative of SMHDF, told the judge that the foundation was waiting on the World Bank Funds, she said just two months ago the foundation received funding and they ordered materials such as windows.

When SMN News asked Richardson how much materials were ordered and when they expect to receive the materials, Richardson said that she has no idea when the materials will arrive on St. Maarten, the only thing she knew was that the materials were ordered probably in Puerto Rico.

The technical assistant for SMHDF told the judge that the homes were built by contractors in the Netherlands and they were all faulty homes that cannot be easily fixed.

Many of the homeowners told the judge that they have been living in their homes for years and the foundation does not conduct any maintenance.

Geert Hatzmann in discussion at Belvedere - 20181109 BS

Attorney for the Belvedere homeowners Geert Hatzsmann (seen here to the right in the photo above) told SMN News that the SMHDF foundation is claiming that they do not have the funds to conduct the repairs but also stated that the homeowners rented the homes to own and most of them have paid double the amount for owning the homes but so far SMHDF do not want to respect the agreement and hand over the homes to the tenants who he said paid off their homes in full.

For more details, read the full SMN-News.com report online here.

Below are photos by SMN News depicting the conditions of the homes visited by the judge.

Damaged home Belvedere - 20180911 BS

Damaged Belvedere home ceiling - 20180911 BS

Damaged Belvedere home - 20180911 BS

Click here to view more photos online.


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