Parliament; Tenants to pay rent in local currency

The Landlord and Tenant Bill 2018 was on Wednesday evening passed by Parliament, making it mandatory for all rent payments to be made in local currency.

Earlier this week, the Bill attracted mixed reactions among MPs, with a good number of them arguing that terms relating to the payment of rent should be agreed upon between the land lord and tenants. Speaker Rebecca Kadaga adjourned the house to Wednesday when all the clauses of the Bill had to be considered.

Among the Clauses, the one that attracted more reactions was the Clause 23 (3) which was seeking to making it open for landlords to charge either in dollars or local currency.

State Minister of Finance in Charge of General Duties Gabriel Ajedra, insisted that this should be maintained to cater for a number of landlords who mortgage their properties in banks to get loans in dollars.

He was backed by the chairperson of Physical Infrastructure Committee and MP for Nakifuma County, Kafeero Sekitoleko, saying that Uganda is a liberalised economy and this should be left to the landlords.

" Uganda is a liberalised economy. We should not limit landlords," Sekitoleko said in part.

Other MPs however rubbished the statement saying that payment of rent in dollars has caused more harm than good to Uganda's economy.

Mohammed Nsereko, the Kampala Central legislator argued that landlords should go and buy foreign currency at forex bureaus in case they need them.

Clause 27 (1) of the Bill also trigger reactions. This sought to stop landlords from increasing rent by more than 10% annually and even when an increase is going to be made, tenants should get at least a three months notice.

Sekitoleko said that limiting the increase of rent will limit the landlords who make revamps on their premises to increase rent.

" Limiting or putting a cap on the rent while limit people who redevelop their premises to increase rent. We should leave this to market forces," Sekitooleko said.

Betty Among, the Minister of lands said that at least we need a percentage because arbitrary increase is killing the tenants.

It was passed that a landlord will not increase rent for more than 10% of true initial figure in a year.

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