Govt wants rent control

July 9, 2015, 6:58am

Govt wants rent control

By Shinovene Immanuel

A SPECIAL Cabinet committee has agreed to change the law to regulate the property rental market in order to “prevent the current exploitation of tenants by landlords”.
This is included in a presentation made yesterday to the parliamentary committee on land and social issues. The special committee said it had adopted 89 resolutions on land and related matters. Another intended change in the law is the amendment of the Estate Agents Board Act to regulate the conduct of estate agents and property developers. 
According to the presentation by the committee, plans are in the final stage to amend the Local Authorities Act, 1992 and the Regional Councils Act, 1992 to introduce measures to regulate the sale of urban land to private developers.
The committee also recommended that amendments be made to introduce a ban on the sale of urban land through auction and to also prohibit ownership of urban land by foreigners. 
“Foreign nationals shall only be allowed to lease such land,” the committee recommended.
The new law would also allow the minister of urban development to direct that foreign nationals who own urban land, before the coming into force of the proposed amendments, should only sell such land to Namibians with the first option granted to local authorities.
The committee also recommended that all outdated urban and regional planning laws be amended and that a single planning legislation that will include the urban and regional planning bill be introduced.
The new law will not only affect the rife urban land transactions that have been used as a conduit to enrichment by the elite but it will also tackle the issue of agricultural land. Changes to the agricultural law include plans to shorten the time of expropriating land and the tabling of a new land bill to prohibit ownership of agricultural land by foreign nationals.
The Cabinet committee said that amendments need to be done to the law to ensure that foreign nationals who own agricultural land offer such land to the government. If the government does not want the land then it should be sold to a Namibian. 
“In the absence of a Namibian buyer, such land should be offered back to the State,” the special Cabinet recommendations said.
Another proposed amendment is to the Deeds Act to oblige the Registrar of Deeds and the Registrar of Companies and Close Corporations to share information on companies or close corporations that own land.
The law will also make room for the Registrar of Deeds to ask for additional documents to determine the nationality of the legal entity which is seeking to acquire land.
The special Cabinet report was compiled by the Ministry of Land Reform, Ministry of Urban and Rural Development and the Office of the Attorney General.

The Namibian