Cabinet on Monday approved the legislation to regulate the relationship of landlords and tenants under the Housing sector.
According to State minister for Housing and Urban Planning Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, the drafted the Landlord-Tenant Bill, 2018, which will consolidate the existing law, will balance the responsibilities of the land lords and the tenants.
The Cabinet decision comes on the backdrop of a petition by Kampala City Traders Association(KACITA) to the Parliamentary committee on trade complaining of paying rent in US Dollars .
Also, during the 2016 Presidential campaigns, President Yoweri Museveni promised to halt land lords from charging rent in dollars.
Dr Baryomunsi, in a press release, outlined the high rate of defaulting rent and utilities by tenants, the poor maintenance of rental premises and unilateral increase of rent and arbitrary house evictions as some of the reasons for drafting the Bill,.
The Bill also addresses problems like lack of privacy on the part of Tenants, poor quality of rentable premises that lack the minimum infrastructure standards and reluctance of landlords to rent their premises to vulnerable groups which they consider as “risky groups.”
The objectives of the Bill, according to Baryomunsi is to define the duties and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in respect of rentable premises.
The Bill also promotes access to adequate housing and other rentable premises and creates a mechanism for proper functioning of the rental market for both residential and commercial premises;
In 1933 and 1959 the British enacted laws on governing the rental housing sector. These laws include the Rent Restriction Act (Cap 231) of 1959 and the Distress for Rent (Bailiffs) Act, Cap 76 of 1933.
But Baryomunsi argued that lack of a regulatory framework for rental premises has often resulted into unresolved conflicts and violation of rights for both the landlords and the tenants.
“This situation has greatly undermined the harmonious relationship of Tenants and Landlords, resulting in poor quality rentable premises, forceful evictions and destruction of property on either side, calling for the need to regulate the relationship between Landlords and Tenants,” he explained.
Baryomunsi also explained that the decision to come up with the law was reached by Government through a wide stakeholder consultative process.
Some of the stake holders who were consulted include all government ministries and local governments, the Uganda Law Reform Commission, the Association of Real Estates Agents (AREA), the Uganda Home Builders Association (UHBA), Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA), the Housing Tenants Association and the Uganda Law Society, among others.
The Landlord-Tenant Bill, 2018 will be tabled before Parliament for debate and enactment into law.
“After enactment and assent to the Landlord-Tenant law, commence implementation of the law with financing by the Government of Uganda. Funds for its public awareness and implementation have been budgeted for,” Baryomunsi added.