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Buganda kingdom proposes fines for landlords who annoy tenants

FILE PHOTO: Hon Kafeero Ssekitoleko, Chairperson Physical Infrastructure Committee

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Buganda Kingdom has proposed heavier fines instead of jail terms for landlords who annoy tenants.

The Kingdom says jailing landlords for breaching the Landlord and Tenant Bill, 2018 will kill the real estate industry.

Appearing before the committee on Physical Infrastructure on Thursday, the Chief Executive Officer of Namulondo Investments Limited, Lillian Ssentamu Kaddu said that jail terms in the Bill for breaches should be deleted or amended by setting heavier fines.

She told the committee that jailing landlords over illegal evictions, annoying tenants among other offences will instead worsen the relationship between landlords and tenants.

Namulondo Investments Limited is charged with managing Buganda Kingdom’s property portfolio and real estate business.

Kaddu added that the Bill criminalizes acts and omissions by landlords and yet it provides for termination of tenancy as the highest sanction for tenants who breach agreements.

Kaddu also told the committee to ensure that penalties in the Bill should conform to those that exist in the Contracts Act and related laws.

However, West Budama North MP, Richard Okoth Othieno wondered whether Kaddu objects to the criminal offences in the Bill because she is worried that the King of Buganda could be jailed for breaching the law.

The committee chairperson Kafeero Ssekitoleko also asked Kaddu and her delegation on whether it is necessary to include sanctions for tenants who annoy landlords in the Bill.

Clause 51 of the Bill states that a landlord should not subject a tenant to annoyance.

However Kaddu said that the term annoyance must be redefined because it is vague.

Buganda Kingdom also called on Parliament to enact two separate laws for commercial and residential tenancy because they are complex in nature.

However, if it is impossible to separate the Bill, then different sections should be introduced to include rent to own and other unique features relating to commercial premises.

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