By Tabora Bojang
The National Assembly’s next sitting beginning on Monday will consider a private bill tabled by Serekunda West NAM, Madi Ceesay, who wants a new legislation to address the country’s soaring housing costs, protect tenants and make rent more affordable.
The bill has been a plan since his re-election last year. Madi Ceesay wants sweeping set of new regulations to replace the 2014 and the 2017 Rent Act in order to address mounting renting issues which continue to hurt vulnerable households.
The bill will undergo first reading on Thursday 14 December.
When contacted for clarification, the UDP NAM told The Standard that his bill seeks among other things to ensure notice of vacations issued by landlords to tenants is upped from 30 days to 90 days.
“In the previous bill, D3,000 and below is considered low whereby landlords cannot ask tenants to make advance payments of between three to six months, but anything above D3000, landlords have the right to request for six months payments or so.
Now my bill seeks to amend that minimum to around D5000 and above because that is the minimum tenants pay now for a decent housing. So, this means now landlords can only ask for advance payments for rents above D5000 or so and not below that. This will help ease the burden on the low-income earners to be paying exorbitant amounts in advance payments before they could even occupy the house,” Hon Madi Ceesay said.
Ceesay said the new bill seeks to make sure that no landlord can increase rent to more than 5 percent.
“It will also capture the issue of notices. Instead of the usual 30 days we are considering 90-day notice to be given to tenants before they could quit. This bill is one of my campaign promises because many people are tenants both my constituency and elsewhere in the country. I am not in any way trying to underestimate the valuable services landlords are providing. I want a situation where both the tenants and the landlords would have a better way of living,” Ceesay said. He urged his fellow NAMs to support the bill to ease the burden on low-income earners and poor Gambians.