By Abraham Kizza
State Minister for Housing Hon Chris Baryomunsi has said that the Landlord–Tenant Bill 2018 which was approved by Cabinet on Monday is aimed at regulating the behavior of both landlords and tenants.
”The law aims at regulating behaviors of landlords and tenants so that there is harmony between the two. When I was at campus the landlords would switch off power when we wanted to watch because he didn’t have a DVD. It looks at mending such,” he said.
Hon Baryomunsi who was addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Centre on Tuesday added that the Bill also gives guidelines to landlords on how to increase rent fees since most of them are fond of increasing it without any justification.
“The existing laws between landlords and tenants are very old. Therefore Cabinet decided to bring into place the landlord-tenant Bill. This was concluded after Government did enough consultation & hearing a lot of complaints from people,” he said.
He added that among those 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, The Uganda Law Society, The NGO Forum, Housing Finance Bank (U) Ltd and Uganda Bankers Association.
Minister Baryomunsi explained that the main objectives of the Bill are; to define the duties and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in respect of rentable premises, to promote access to adequate housing and other rentable premises and to create a mechanism for proper functioning of rental market for both residential and commercial premises.
Others are; to establish a Landlord/Tenant dispute resolution mechanism and to repeal the Rent Restriction at 231 and Distress for Rent (Bailiffs) Act, CAP 76 of 1933.
“The Bill also looks into how the tenant and landlords can agree. With this, we believe much as investors increase in the country, citizens will still be protected,” he said.
He also pointed out some of the reasons that necessitated the drafting of this Bill as; the obsolete laws relating the rental housing subsector, the high defaulting rate in rent and utilities by tenants, poor maintenance of rental premises, charging of rent in foreign currency, unilateral increase of rent and arbitrary house evictions, 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.”