While some landlords have increased rental charges, others are struggling with tenants who can not clear their debt. PHOTO/COURTESY

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Could house pooling solve escalating rent charges?

What you need to know:

  • More folks are losing their homes to less convenient ones because the rent is not affordable anymore. So much so that some landlords are grappling with run-away tenants.

Needless to re-echo the further dwindling economy whose effects are being felt in every aspect of standard of living where accommodation has not been exempted, ‘how to cope’ is the million dollar question. 

More folks are losing their homes to less convenient ones because the rent is not affordable anymore. 

If you are a house owner you probably do not relate unless you are a landlord faced with big debtors and defaulting tenants yet this is your source of income.

Perhaps you are having many relatives or friends ‘seeking asylum’ from the rent unaffordability monster in your home, causing all sorts of inconveniences such as thronging the house with the properties they have moved with. 

Jackeline Aisu, an owner of three two-bedroomed houses that go for Sh600,000 each in Mengo, says some landlords are grappling with run-away tenants.

“Two of the tenants I had tried to be lenient with escaped, one with my six and another four months’ worth rent,” says Aisu. 

After several futile attempts to reach them on phone, Aisu opened the houses and found valueless clutter, as sign that they had escaped. 

Dalton Kintu stumbled into house sharing when he was forced to sell most of his belongings to pay accumulated rent arrears of three months and move in with a friend, in June this year. Rent in his one bedroomed self-contained home in Kirinya had been increased from Shs250,000 when he first entered in 2019 to Shs350,000 per month as of this year.

“It was no longer making any economic sense considering my salary of Shs500, 000. When he learnt of the debt I had accumulated, my friend who was also struggling to keep up with his rent suggested we stay together. I pay Shs200,000 and he tops up Shs300,000 until end of this year when we shall revisit the terms,” says Kintu.

Their two-bedroomed house in Kinawataka goes for Shs500,000 per month.

House pooling 

This is also known as house sharing. The most common type of share is where a flat or house is rented by a group of people under some kind of joint tenancy agreement. This is a concept common amongst students of higher learning institutions. 

Every tenant in the share is responsible for paying the rent and sticking to the terms of the contract.

In general, sharing one house between several people is cheaper than trying to cover costs on your own.

According to Anthony Muhwezi, of Amk associated Advocates, an advocate of High Court, notes that sub tenancy in the Landlord-Tenant Act, 2022 aids for instance one of the intending housemates to deal with the landlord directly as head tenant and then as sub tenants the other members can fulfil their rent obligations collectively in which case the landlord is cushioned from any inconveniences of rent delays or having to follow up many.  

“The biggest obstacle to this cheaper option is need for independence and concern for social status. If four young people put resources together, would they not afford flats and homes in good locations?” wonders Muhwezi adding that Indians and Somalis have embraced this and as a result, are staying in strategic high-end residents.

Gloria has been co-renting with a friend for four months now because she needed to be closer to town where both her church and workplace are located.

Benefits 

Gloria’s expenditures (rent, transport, feeding and utilities) were cut down almost half way and she got companionship. 

“Between work and services at my church, moving at night is inevitable yet risky on my own. I had to get someone with similar interest to move with for security purposes,” says Gloria. 

Some landlords of house shares include all utility bills on the rent averting unnecessary arguments amongst housemates that often lead to payment delays. 

For Kintu, house sharing presented him an opportunity to pay off his standing debt and still have access to a fairly convenient life as he is free to use his friend’s belongings.

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