Rent control imminent
A high-level government caucus on land has recommended the inclusion of provisions in the Consumer Protection Bill to regulate the property rental market as well as the conduct of estate agents and property developers.
An interim report outlining the decisions made during the caucus was tabled in the National Assembly by Swapo parliamentarian Bernadette Jagger yesterday.
According to the document, this proposal was made to “prevent the current exploitation of tenants by landlords”.
The caucus led by Minister of Justice Albert Kawana also decided to introduce, and to strictly enforce, measures that regulate the sale of urban land to private developers.
This would mean the amendment of the Local Authorities Act of 1992 and the Regional Councils Act of 1992. This meeting also resolved that foreigners who own urban land may only sell such land to Namibian citizens, with the first option granted to local authorities. These resolutions follow a call by International Monetary Fund delegate Jiro Honda that the Namibian government should urgently address the cost of housing.
It also comes in the wake of a vigorous campaign for affordable land by the Affirmative Repositioning movement led by youth activist Job Amupanda, which has given the government a deadline of July 31 whereafter land will be occupied.
The country’s housing backlog currently stands at an estimated 100 000 units, while the average house price is pegged at just over N$730 000. While this national median price does not seem overtly excessive, it is far below the average house price in Windhoek, where the demand for housing is the greatest.
WINDHOEK JEMIMA BEUKES