14 February 2013

Tanzania: NHC Wants Illegal Tenants to Come Clean

ILLEGAL tenants occupying housing units of the National Housing Corporation (NHC) should come out and settle matters with the housing corporation in three months time or face eviction.

The NHC's Director of Property Management, Mr Hamad Abdallah, said the corporation has started an operation to identify tenants who do not have contracts with the housing corporation in its 17,000 housing units countrywide. "It is better for those tenants to turn up and consult nearest NHC offices to clear the matter otherwise they will be evicted and no notice would be given to that effect," Mr Abdallah told a news conference in Dar es Salaam.

There has been a trend by some dishonest genuine tenants of NHC to sub-let their housing units at higher rental fees than those charged by NHC. According to Mr Abdallah, in the year 2010, some 500 illegal tenants were found to be occupying the NHC units and yet they did not have any contract with the housing corporation.

"Some of these illegal tenants were allocated the respective units after they met set criteria while contracts with the original tenants were terminated," he explained. In another development, the corporation warned tenants who had not renewed their lease renewal within the next month, failure of which they will face eviction.

Until the year 2006, some tenants had entered into permanent lease contacts with the housing corporations but the pacts were terminated by the then Minister of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Mr John Magufuli. After 2006, lease contracts were for period of five years before there were recently reduced to three years.

However, the NHC official noted with concern that some tenants, particularly those in residential units have been reluctant to renew the contracts. According to him, paying requisite rents is just one among criteria for being a lawful tenant. This is because if a tenant has not renewed the lease contract then she/he would be evading government taxes such as stamp duty.

Tanzania faces a critical shortage of housing units for its growing population and the housing corporation just covers 0.2 per cent of all tenants countrywide. Tenants on the other hand favour NHC since its houses are strategically located in urban areas and also due to its favourable terms compared to private and individual developers.

The state-owned housing corporation allows tenants to make monthly payments and at affordable rates unlike private and individual owned units where tenants are forced to make annual or biannual payments.

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