NAMs tough on high rent
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
The issue of high rent charges in the country was the subject of debate at the National Assembly, during last Friday's adjournment debate as part of the second meeting of the Assembly in the 2009 legislative year.
An issue that continues to generate concern in The Gambia's National Assembly, the practice involves imposing high charges on tenants, thereby making life difficult for especially the low-income earners. The Majority leader and National Assembly member for Serrekunda East, Honourable Fabakary Tombong Jatta, was the first to raise the issue, and he implored municipal and area councils to take action. "We want to call on councils, their rent tribunals and officers to ensure that they apply and enforce the Rent Decree before it is amended. I am privileged to have received a lot of complaints. Some landlords are so wicked," the honourable member stated.
The practice of requesting for a minimum of six months advance payment in rent from a tenant is unacceptable as far as Hon. Jatta is concerned. He asked how a low-income earner who receives a salary of one thousand dalasis per month could meet such a demand. Rent fees, he said, are so high and "most of the so-called houses are not properly refurbished." The majority leader went on to reiterate that there is already a law in place, saying "if we all go by the law, most of our fears would be allayed." He stressed that neither tenants nor landlords should suffer, making reference to the objectives of the Rent Decree.
The National Assembly member for Wulli West, Honourable Sidia Jatta, who also described the trend as unacceptable, joined the majority leader in calling for fair treatment of tenants. He noted that what is happening in is outrageous, adding that the practice of landlords in asking for six months advance payment is a very serious issue. "People are desperate and the landlords take the advantage of the fact that there are so many people asking for rent. People suffer being sent out of their houses for non-payment of rent," he stated.
But what is even disturbing, according to the members, is the fact that some landlords increase rent fees anyhow they like and sometimes twice in a year. "The law says that even if you own a property, you do not determine how much should be paid for that property. There are institutions established for that purpose," Hon. Jatta indicated, while calling on the relevant bodies to execute their duties.
Author: by Hatab Fadera