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Equal opportunities commission wants two laws for property rent

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga receiving the Equal Opportunities Commission annual report (FILE PHOTO).

KAMPALA- As the Committee of Physical Infrastructure continues, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has asked the Committee to separate the bill and make different laws as the case is in Kenya saying the law in its current form wouldn’t serve the two parties ably.

The Commission had appeared before the Committee today to present their views on the Landlords and Tenants Bill 2019, which seeks to harmonize the relationship between the tenants and property owners.

Joel Cox Ojuko, member of the Commission said; “The Commission also notes that whereas most provisions are practical for commercial premises, they may not be practical for residential premises. Parliament should consider enacting two laws for commercial premises and another for residential premises such as in Kenya.”

The commission welcomed the enactment of the Legislation arguing that the Bill will be critical at protecting tenants who are many times vulnerable, against highhanded evictions and other forms of ill-treatment adding that the Bill goes to the root of the Commission’s mandate in as far as it seeks to promote fairness, equity and harmony within society.

With the Bill providing for the establishment of the tribunal to which tenants and landlords can file their grievances, the Commission welcomed the move but called on Parliament to give the tribunal up to ninety days to hear and determine any complaints brought under this law.

Clause 50(1) provides that a landlord may charge a service fee for any extra services provided to the tenant including services related to security, sanitation, the Commission argued that while this provision is justified, it is crafted in such a manner as to give the landlord absolute rights to determine the amount the amount payable.

The Commission warned that the danger of this particular provision to advantage the landlord who may use this provision to indirectly charge an extra cost on rent, with the Commission arguing that this provision should be amended such that the tenant gives consent to the extra service.

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