While there is a housing project after a housing project that is being completed in the Maldives - there are related various issues in addition to the problems that it fixes.
The heavily populated Greater Male’ area, without a doubt, has needed housing projects to fix the rising costs of renting an apartment in addition to the difficulty in finding apartments in general. With the population living in the Greater Male’ area being significantly higher than the amount of space available to house and shelter this number of people, housing projects that house thousands of individuals per project appear to be one of the most effective solutions to an increasing problem.
With this, the Viranes housing project was announced during President Abdulla Yasmeen’s administration. Located in an ideal area, the apartment complex caught the attention of many as 1,413 applications were submitted for the apartments which cost between MVR 2.5 million and MVR 3 million. Towards the end of 2022, the Government finally announced the beneficiaries of the Vinares flats, and with this, for over 1,000 applicants the dream of moving into their own apartment complex was closer to becoming a reality.
One of the things that were required by the beneficiaries of the flat at the time were booking fees, which according to Urbanco in 2022 was MVR 50, 000. This booking fee acted as a guarantee that the individuals would be allocated an apartment. Later on, however, this booking fee was cancelled as Urbanco stated that much like the other housing projects, the individuals who got the Vinares housing flats could also use bank loans or instalment payments as a valid form of covering the cost of the housing.
While this took away the stress of having to pay MVR 50,000 at the time, now individuals who got the flats are being faced with yet another unannounced charge that Urbanco decided to impose recently. The company is now stating that each individual who got an apartment in the Vinares housing flat must pay a fee of MVR 3,000 as a financial evaluation fee as the company will be outsourcing this process, meaning that the proceeds of the fee will be paid to a third-party company.
One of the beneficiaries who got short-listed while talking to MFR stated that she got an email from Urbanco on the 30th May 2023, asking to make the evaluation fee payment of MVR 3,000 before 02nd June 2023 - which is just three days' notice.
Another applicant said that he has been requesting Urbanco to view an actual apartment, with no positive response, and now has suddenly informed to make a 'surprise' evaluation fee.
"I thought they have already done enough evaluations before publishing a list of beneficiaries. Besides, I have opted for bank financing. So is it not the bank who will do the financial evaluation?", said the applicant.
Though Urbanco has never talked about such a fee during the initial process of announcing and carrying out the selection process for the individuals who would get the apartments in this housing complex, with each individual paying MVR 3,000 as a financial evaluation fee, the total cost of the fee adds up to around MVR 4 million.