Lawmakers pass Rent (Amendment) Bill 2023

Lawmakers pass Rent (Amendment) Bill 2023

Lawmakers on Thursday passed the Rent (Amendment) Bill 2023, tabled at the National Assembly  by Member for Serrekunda West, Hon. Madi Ceesay.

The bill seeks to make amendments to address the plight of tenants such as frequent increment of rent, high rent and to ensure that the rights of the tenants are respected and tenants are treated humanely.

The Bill seeks to amend clause 19, which states: ”A landlord shall not increase the rent for the rental premises; a. at a rate of more than five percent in every three years or such other rates as may be prescribed by the Minister by Notice published in the gazette, and subject to the condition of the facility; b. at an interval of less than thirty-six months.”

For clause 18 of the Bill, the committee recommended that the clause stand as part of the Bill without amendment.

During the debate on the Bill at the second reading stage, lawmakers who intervened on the bill said “the Bill is not controversial, it is timely and apt as it seeks to ensure respect for tenants”, as well as ensuring that tenants have a voice in the issues of rent payment and are treated humanely and have access to justice.

They said the “frequent increment on rent fees is improper and that it affects the tenants, and that tenants are asked to pay in foreign currencies notably in US Dollar”,  a nightmare the bill seeks to address.

Subsequently, the bill was committed to the Assembly Business Committee (ABC) for committal.

It would be recalled that the bill awaited the third reading stage, which was scheduled for Thursday 21 March 2024.

Hon. Madi Ceesay, Member for Serrekunda West, tabling the bill for the second reading on 19 December 2023, introduced a Rent Amendment Bill, which aims to regulate rents and make monthly rental payments more affordable in The Gambia.

Explaining the objectives and reasons for introducing the bill, Hon. Ceesay noted that the bill seeks to reduce the burden of paying six or more months of rent for low-cost housing rents.

“This bill seeks to improve on the Rent Act of 2014, by raising the value specified low cost of rental premises such that it is in line with contemporary times as well as enables ordinary persons to afford to pay [their] rent monthly rather than face the burden of paying for six or more [months] at any given time,” he said.

In the 2014 Rent Act, the rent cost is divided into low  and high cost. A rent fee of one thousand to three thousand dalasis is payable monthly, but any amount above three thousand is considered a high cost, which is paid for six or more months.

Source: The Point

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