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Tenants, landlords express mixed reactions on landlord-tenant bill

FILE PHOTO: Committee of Physical Infrastructure

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Tenants and Landlords have expressed mixed reactions to the Landlord and Tenant Bill, 2018.

The bill that is before the Physical Infrastructure Committee, seeks to regulate the relationship between landlords and tenants. It also seeks to provide for responsibilities of landlords and tenants in relation to renting of residential and business premises and related matters.

It also specifies duties of tenants and landlords.

In Kifumbira and Kikoni zones rent for business or residential premises ranges from 30,000 to 150,000 shillings per month.

Some of the tenants of Kifumbira Zone in Mulago III and Kikoni Zone 2B are happy with the Bill.

They argue that the bill will stop landlords from increasing the rent beyond 10% annually or annoying tenants.

Some tenants who are University students in Kikoni oppose jailing landlords who will be convicted for annoying tenants.

Rose Byamukama, the Local Council Secretary for Women’s Council, Kifumbira Zone, says that the Bill applies mainly to the elite, rich tenants and landlords.

Byamukama says that since most tenants in residential and commercial premises pay between 30,000 to 80,000 shillings in Kifumbira zone, there is no need for a tenancy agreement.

She also opposes provisions that oblige tenants and landlords to settle disputes over rent in court.

Some residents say the government and the MPs are fronting the Bill to defraud landlords.

However, landlords agree with Byamukama on tenancy agreements, the right of the landlord to admit a tenant and resolving disputes outside court to recover rent and also evict tenants.

Steven Komakech, a landlord says that one of his tenants has consistently failed to pay rent. He wants the Bill to put in place fines and penalties for tenants who annoy landlords.

Some tenants also want parliament to amend the Bill by removing jail terms for landlords and include sanctions and penalties for annoying errant tenants.   They also want Local Council I chairpersons to handle disputes and if they fail, dissatisfied parties can go to the Magistrate Grade I Court.

The Physical Infrastructure Committee has been conducting public hearings on the Bill.

The committee has so far met officials from the ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Property Developers Voice Uganda Ltd, Knight Frank Uganda Ltd, Buganda Kingdom and Equal Opportunities among others.

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