Kampala city traders have assured Parliament that the proposed Landlord and Tenant Bill, 2018 will cure disputes between owners and tenants in the city.
Traders under their umbrella body, Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) who were before the Committee on Physical Infrastructure said that landlords in Kampala have been fleecing tenants in numerous ways.
The Chairperson of KACITA, Everest Kayondo called on fellow traders and owners to embrace the proposed law saying, “Even the 10 per cent annual rent increment which they are complaining about is way above the inflation rate”.
City traders are also in agreement with the provision in the bill to stop landlords from charging rent in foreign currency.
“This puts unnecessary pressure on our currency; we need foreign currency when we are moving out of the country not here,” Kayondo said.
Legislators also supported the move to have rent paid in local currencies instead of the US dollars which they said diminishes chances of the shillings gaining value.
“Tenants are suffering; I am in support that we completely get rid of foreign currency. When shall we have the sovereignty of our currency?” asked Makindye Ssabagabo Ssempala Kigozi Hon Rose Mutonyi (NRM, Bubulo West) expressed the need to charge rent in shillings saying it will strengthen the value of the local currency.
“You cannot introduce Uganda shillings in the US. If we don’t promote our shillings when will it gain value?” she asked.
Real Estates agents rejected the proposal to restrict rent payment in local currency on grounds that the shilling is often unstable.
Parliament was asked to consider establishment of a tribunal to handle disputes accruing from landlord-tenant relationships. Traders said the tribunal will save time and costs associated with courts of laws even in settling minor disputes.
Dramani Santino, a Senior Housing Officer at the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development said that the ministry supports dispute resolution mechanisms outside courts of law as long as they are accessible and affordable.
“The tribunal we are looking at should not be under the Magistrate court, it should include local council and be affordable by the poor,” said Dramani.
The object of the Bill is to regulate the relationship of landlord and tenant, to reform and consolidate the law relating to the letting of premises and to provide for responsibilities of landlords and tenant in relation to the letting of premises.