Monthly rents order set to destabilize construction,rental housing

19Jan 2019
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Monthly rents order set to destabilize construction,rental housing

TOP officials of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development have over the past year or so occasionally reminded landlords to charge rent in monthly installments, not six months or even a year.

These appeals have usually gone unheeded as there is a lack of enforcement will among authorities or voluntary compliance among those whom the directive targets.

On that note, it has yet to damage prospects of investments and expansion of housing and rental space opportunities, but the danger is always present.

In a renewed emphasis on that directive early this month, deputy minister Angelina Mabula reiterated the trade union reasoning behind that appeal, underlining that paying six months or one year rents leaves the tenant in debt, "which is not good for Tanzanians."

Her remarks did not veer to look into problems that the landlords are likely to face to obtain rents each month, or rather month end from tenants, multiply is by number of tenants if it is rooms that are rented. It needs no training to realize that it is massive disturbance.

To see this directive in a welfare perspective requires that it has no effect on availability of houses or rooms for renting, that it will have no effect on rent levels and pace of construction of new rental premises.

Only in that manner will the pressure on premises be reduced and landlords accept rents that tenants can pay with relative ease, as any reduction in the pace of building rental premises soon affects availability of premises, and a concomitant rise in rental charges.

If the directive is enforced, many builders will convert their premises into something else; if all rents are reduced to monthly payments, the pace is slackened further.

Another method is for landlords to raise the charges to nearly double the current amounts, so that the trouble he or she is likely to face in collecting rents each month doesn't impinge on expected income, as each month's enhanced rates includes a premium for likely trouble, default, repeated lateness.

That too will not help the working class whom ministerial officials are seeking to represent their interests or point of view but in a one-sided manner.

They aren't focusing on the negative side - slackened pace of construction of renting areas, as well as a rise in rents to compensate for envisaged trouble in routine collection of rent.

Paying rents in six month installments or one year isn't just a lumpsum but it includes a bargain, that the rent amount is likely to be low enough so that the landlord can get a tenant quickly, and under those conditions.

In that case top officials of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development ought to know or take into account that 'the market hath reasons that the government (or trade unions) knoweth not,' and refrain from seeing six months or annual rental payments as merely a burden.

Even for the tenant, paying a lump sum and being free to collect energies for another day isn't a bad idea.