Rent Control Bill undergoing refinement and scrutiny: Uutoni

The Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Erastus Uutoni said he will bring the Rent Control Bill to Parliament once the draft bill has gone through the relevant structures and scrutiny.

“We have a draft bill, but it is still undergoing a refinement process. The ministry has engaged a team of experts to assist in this process. And we are also getting legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General to ensure a fine balance between the Constitutional provisions on the right to property and the other interest,” Uutoni said last week (Thursday) in the National Assembly (NA).

He was responding to questions regarding the status of the long-awaited Rent Control Bill by Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) lawmaker Maximalliant Katjimune.

Katjimune had asked why Minister Uutoni was dragging his feet into bringing the bill to Parliament. He noted that the legislation is essential to regulating rent prices in Namibia. The ministry has been working on this for the past six years.

However, Uutoni assured that the ministry is making progress, adding that the draft bill is undergoing scrutiny and is expected to be presented to relevant structures before it is tabled in the NA.

“I wish to report that progress is evident from us as a ministry responsible. I thus request for a little patience from the house and the nation at large to allow us time to have it right,” the minister said.

According to Katjimune, the soaring housing costs have left hundreds of thousands of ordinary Namibians without choice but to become tenants. He said in this situation, tenants are exposed to exploitative rental fees.

“This crisis ought to have been resolved by the proposed Rent Control Bill, which is earmarked to operationalise the Rent Control Board in an effort to control renting prices in our city, towns, and villages,” he said.

“It does appear, however, for reasons known only to himself, that the minister has been dragging his feet in bringing this crucial piece of legislation, which would bring relief to tenants across our country, to Parliament for debate.”

Source: The Namibian Press Agency