The Prime Minister, who is the leader of government business, has approximately one month to ensure that the proposed law seeking to regulate relationship between the landlord and the tenant make it to the floor of Parliament or else hell will break loose, local traders have warned.
Landlord and Tenant Bill, is currently in draft form. For the last 10 years, the Bill has been gathering dust in the government shelf, leaving the traders with no option but to either rent painfully or close business.
The leadership of Kampala City Traders Association (Kacita), working on the orders of its members, now want the Bill seeking to regulate the relationship between a landlord and a tenant be passed into law without any further delay.
“We have written to the Prime Minister notifying him that by March 15, if the Bill is not tabled, we will have a massive demonstration to express our dissatisfaction,” the chairman of the traders said on Tuesday while addressing the press.
He added: “We have been in touch with the Speaker of Parliament regarding this matter and it became obvious that the problem is not with the Parliament but the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.”
According to the correspondences between Kacita and Parliament, which this newspaper has seen, the Parliament said it will do its work (scrutinise, debate and pass) when the Bill is tabled in the August House.
Until then, the Speaker advised that the pressure should be piled on the Office of the Prime Minister and the relevant ministry.
The Kacita spokesperson, Mr Isa Sekitto said: “Our demonstration will be massive and peaceful. It will be for one day and we will match to the Prime Minister’s office and let him know how we feel about their delay to have this Bill passed into law.”
Among other things, the Bill seeks to introduce a tribunal that will settle agreements arising from disagreement of the two parties.
The Bill also wants tenancy agreement between the two parties to be mandatory by law.
At the moment, most tenants are not able to accrue tax benefits arising from the rental expenditure because the landlords are non-committal when it comes to issuance of rental receipts.
Critics of the Bill, among them Mr Phillip Karugaba, a Partner with MMAKS Advocates, argues that the draft Landlord and Tenant Bill can only have a dampening effect on the private sector efforts to bridge the housing deficit, currently at 1.7 million units, with Kampala alone having a housing deficit of 550,000 units.