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MPs Oppose Proposal to Penalize Landlords Who Annoy Tenants

Nzoghu, who doubles as the Shadow Works and Transport Minister, also argues that parliament shouldn’t be seen to be interfering with affairs between landlords and tenants but rather it should ensure that there is a mechanism of resolving disputes and streamline the relationship between the two parties.

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       The Physical Infrastructure Committee of parliament has resolved to delete a clause in the Landlord and Tenant Bill, 2018 that seeks to fine or jail landlords who annoy their tenants.

  

The Bill seeks to formalize and regulate the relationship between landlords and tenants. Clause 51 of the Bill seeks to bar landlords from subjecting their tenants to annoyance. 

  

However, legislators across the political divide agreed on Monday to delete the provision, saying it is vague and can be subject to abuse by tenants to the disadvantage of landlords and property owners. 

 

The Busongora North MP, William Nzoghu, says the committee found the proposal wanting in terms of research and evidence from the Lands, Housing and Urban Development Ministry on how landlords annoy tenants.       They also questioned why the clause doesn’t also allow landlords to sue tenants who annoy them. 

Nzoghu, who doubles as the Shadow Works and Transport Minister, also argues that parliament shouldn’t be seen to be interfering with affairs between landlords and tenants but rather it should ensure that there is a mechanism of resolving disputes and streamline the relationship between the two parties. 

  

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The Bulambuli County MP, Alex Burundo Musingo concurs with Nzoghu, saying the proposal is unfair to landlords who also get annoyed when tenants destroy their property and default on their rent payment as agreed.

 

He says that even if the proposal is amended to provide a penalty for tenants who annoy landlords, it is still vague, adding that landlords could deliberately provoke their tenants and claim damages from court. 

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The Kapelebyong County MP, Julius Ochen, said the proposal gives too much powers to tenants at the expense of property rights of landlords. He also notes that the proposal doesn’t fit the intention of the Bill, which essentially aims at improving the relationship between landlords and tenants.  

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Robert Kafeero Ssekitoleko, the chairperson of the Physical Infrastructure Committee

says the final report on the Bill will be ready soon. He however is not sure if he will be able to present the report within this year of parliament because the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga is expected to announce the end of the current year of the tenth parliament on Wednesday this week.    

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The committee has also to produce a report on the Physical Planning

(Amendment) Bill, 2018 before the end of the third session of the current parliament.

However, Kafeero says the committee had to process the ministerial

statements for the Lands and Works Ministries in April and also participate in the other budgeting processes, which took about three months.         Therefore, the committee had to suspend its scrutiny of the Landlord and tenant Bill and the Physical Planning Bill. He is confident that the committee will process and present

its report on the Physical Planning Bill in the next year of parliament.       Kafeero explains that the committee was constrained by limited funds, which slowed down the processing of both bills.     Kafeero says that the committee was allocated Shillings 300million in the 2018/2019 financial year and yet it had to process five bills, three petitions and the ministerial policy statements for Lands and Works Ministry for the 2019/2020 budget estimates.

 

The Committee scrutinized the Civil Aviation Authority (Amendment) and Roads (Amendment) Bill which have so far been passed by parliament. 

  

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Going forward, Kafeero says that the committee should be allocated more than Shillings 1 billion annually to process bills, motions and petitions.  For every bill, at least Shillings 500 million should be released so that the committee can make wide consultations, engage with the public and also travel inland and abroad to benchmark on best practices elsewhere.

  

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