Haruna Sentongo, one of the leading real estate players in Uganda, has predicted doom for the sector if landlords and tenants fail to resolve the standoff over rent.
This follows the continued jostling between landlords and tenants on how rent arrears accumulated for the last three months during the COVID-19 lockdown should be handled.
Some landlords have insisted that all rent arrears should be cleared. Others like Sentongo have already exempted their tenants from paying rent for the three months the country was in total lockdown.
Sentongo said a quick solution needs to be found otherwise the standoff will cripple the sector.
“If you demand rent for the period of three months, it means a tenant has forked out between 18 million from the business. At the end of the day, he will not be able to break even. This means he will leave and the landlord will be out of business” he said.
He said landlords must resolve these issues now when tenants have the capacity to pay but if this goes beyond three months to six months they will not be able to pay.
Some of landlords who have failed to come up with payment plans for their tenants say they have huge bank loans which they pay back.
But Sentongo disagreed. He said the government allowed commercial banks to restructure loans and it was upon the landlords to go to the banks to negotiate new loan terms.
Since the opening of some arcades in the city centre, the struggle between landlords and tenants has escalated.