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OPINION: Landlord – Tenant Bill Is Retrogressive

By Ben Ssebuguzi

Recently I was pleased to read in the dailies that some Members of Parliament have rejected some proposals in the new Landlord and Tenant bill, which tends to give supreme powers to the tenants at the expense of Landlords.

Clause 51 of the bill requires the Landlord not to annoy the tenant; which defeats logic and  is outrageous to common sense on who is supposed to be the owner to the property hence taking away the entitlement to a right  to own property and enjoyment of property as per the 1995 constitution hence killing the momentum  of the investors in the Uganda property markets.

As crusaders for investor promotion, we applaud the decision of our Members of parliament because they have done their constitutional mandate of making laws that are in tandem with the development plans of our country. According to the Uganda National Housing policy, it seeks to increase the production of adequate housing for all income groups from 60,000 to 200,000 housing units per annum so as to meet the housing needs by 2022

Looking at our population forecasts, more people will be living in the city given our already high rates of urban migration. Currently Uganda housing stock is estimated at about 8,021,000 units with an average size of 4.7 persons hence creating an estimated need of  200,000 units per year, which calls for not only a good legal regime to increase investment in real estate sector, but also asking for tax waivers in order to spur up the growth industry.

A survey by Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) points to an improvement in the housing conditions in the country related to steady per capita economic growth with Kampala alone having 550,000 housing units. This is partly because of the many developers mostly private who have invested heavily in the housing sector.

We have seen in the previous weeks the launching of  Kingdom Kampala,a multibillion shopping complex at former Shimon school, another one: Speke Apartments-Kitante, on Yusuf Lule road, a modern and self contained housing units that gives  it’s permanent occupants and people on holiday real  value for money. It should be noted that good buildings are also enablers to tourism promotion in our country.

In a nutshell therefore, if the bill was left to go unchecked with toxic clauses, then it would demotivate Landlords who are the investors, of which then it would be detrimental to government plan of reducing the housing deficit in the country.

Ben Ssebuguzi is the Secretary General,Uganda Poor youth Movement.

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