June 24, 2013
The Ministry of Urban Development & Construction (MoUDC) is to begin research to assist it in drafting a bill that will regulate rental home provision, by private home owners and the government.
“The law will set minimum standards for living conditions in rented houses,” Mekuria Haile, the MoUDC’s minister, told Fortune. “For instance, there are landlords that prohibit tenants from using kitchen or toilet facilities; the law is designed to guard against this.”
There are currently 600,000 families living in rented homes in cities, according to an MoUDC estimate. Government housing provides shelter for 373,000 of these families, but 70pc of such homes are made from mud and wood. The rest are accommodated by the private sector.
The draft of the recently ratified government housing strategy included an element intended to direct the government to construct 5,000 houses – to be managed under the Government Housing Agency (GHA) – but the final version was ratified without this element, which was left instead to the private sector. The government will only take on a regulatory role, said Amare Asgedom, head of the Land & Housing Construction Bureau, when speaking at a press conference, three weeks ago.
“Of course we cannot restrict the private sector too much, as it is a free enterprise,” a higher official within the Housing Development Strategy & Legal Affairs directorate at the Ministry told Fortune. “But, certain necessities should be provided, and the law must regulate by setting up standards.”
Those standards will be part of the bill the Ministry will start working on when its research has been finalised.
The Ministry has delayed the presentation of two other bills to parliament, in order to present them as a package with its new bill. These include – the real estate law and the law that penalises those that unlawfully register or take a house.
“We have decided to present all three documents to parliament at once, rather than going for each one at separate times,” Mekuria told Fortune.
The package will not be presented to parliament before the next fiscal year, according to Mekuria.