Landlords can now evict you in 30 days

Members of Parliament during plenary session. PHOTO / DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • The Bill first set a condition that landlords who are found liable of unlawfully evicting their tenants would be subjected to a fine of 250 currency points (approximately Shs1m).

Parliament has granted landlords and property owners powers to evict tenants who fail to meet their rent obligations after 30 days.

The proposal is contained in the Landlord and Tenants Bill 2021 which was passed on Tuesday.

It also permits the landlord to access the tenant’s premise and take their property as a means of recovering the accumulated rent arrears.

“Provided that where the default shall continue for a period of more than 30 days, the landlord shall be entitled to re-enter the premises and take possession thereof in the presence of the area Local Council officials and the police, without prejudice to the right to recover the rent arrears,” the Bill reads in part.

The landlords are also required to issue a 60-day notice before increasing rent charges.

Relatedly, the increment of rent should not exceed 10 percent when the landlord considers making revisions.

The Bill seeks to harmonise the relationship between property owners and tenants. It was processed by the Parliamentary Committee on Physical Infrastructure chaired by the Iki-Iki County MP, Mr Robert Kasolo.

“The Bill has now made it mandatory that you have to make a tenancy agreement. Therefore, there will always be agreements in any transactions that involve using somebody’s premises,” Mr Kasolo told Daily Monitor.

The lawmakers reason that the tenancy agreement is meant to clearly stipulate the exact rent charges to be remitted.

This is purposed to minimise the likelihood of conflict between landlords and their clients.

This will also enable the government to realise actual revenue from the landlords who are accused of declaring lower amounts.

In the course of formulating an agreement, the two parties will have to agree on how utility costs such as electricity, and waste disposal would be settled. 

The Bill demands that tenants remit their rent in local currency as opposed to the previous demand by landlords that compelled tenants to remit payment in US dollars.

The Bill first set a condition that landlords who are found liable of unlawfully evicting their tenants would be subjected to a fine of 250 currency points (approximately Shs1m).

This was amended and now requires the landlord to compensate the affected tenant fee equivalent to the amount that would be paid for three months as rent fees.

Traders react

Traders in Kampala have decried the Landlord and Tenants Bill 2021  saying it favours the landlords.

Ms Nuliat Namugga, a tenant in one of the malls in downtown Kiseka, said: “It is unfortunate that the landlords have been bestowed with such powers. This only shows that our lawmakers did not consider the struggles that we face as tenants.”

She added that tenants risk losing their belongings to landlords, who have been granted permission to confiscate property of the tenant to recover rent arrears.

“I believe the President we have is very considerate and kind to the tenants. I, therefore, believe that he will not sign that law because he cares for us,” Ms Namugga said.

The Kampala City Traders Association (Kacita) spokesperson, Mr Issa Ssekitto, promised to solicit the views of the tenants and forward them to President Museveni.

“We wanted an equitable law that favours both the landlord and tenant,” Mr Ssekkito said.

He added: “We are going to get a copy of the Bill from the Clerk [to Parliament] so that if there are prominent issues that we need the President to look at before he signs then we shall ask him to consider our voices too.”

Mr Ssekitto recommended that tenants and landlords agree on the mode of recovery of the rent arrears as opposed to confiscating the tenant’s belongings.