Ethiopia Sets to Regulate Housing Rent

The House of Representatives has approved the Housing Rent Control and Management Proclamation, passing the House Rent Control and Management Bill during its regular session.

In an explanation given by Mr. Tesfaye Beljige, a government spokesperson, it was noted that despite various efforts by the government to improve housing provision, it still fails to meet the high demand.

Mr. Tesfaye added that there have been excessive rent increases in Ethiopian cities, surpassing tenants’ ability to pay. This surge in housing rent costs has led to numerous complaints among low-income city dwellers, disrupting their peaceful living.

The government perceives housing rent as a significant contributor to the escalating cost of living, particularly in urban areas. Consequently, governmental administrative intervention is deemed necessary to address this issue, leading to the formulation of a decree to regulate housing rent.

Mr. Tesfaye further elucidated that the primary aim of the decree is to establish a transparent and equitable housing rental management system, ensuring a balanced treatment of landlords’ and tenants’ rights.

Urban and Infrastructure Minister, Mrs. Chaltu Sani, explained to the council that the proclamation is tailored to alleviate the financial burden on low-income government employees and city residents.

She emphasized that citizens should not allocate more than 25 to 30 percent of their income to rent, and the decree grants tenants the right to a two-year tenancy without any rent increase.

Justice Minister, Gideon Timotios, highlighted that disputes between landlords and tenants will be resolved through administrative justice by the supervisory body, bypassing direct court involvement.

The decree is slated for implementation in cities grappling with widespread housing issues, with detailed execution entrusted to municipal and regional governments.

Council members expressed confidence that the decree would curb unjustifiable rent hikes across the country. They noted that the previous approach lacked systemization and unduly favored landlords, whereas the new decree strikes a balance between tenants’ and landlords’ rights. Previously, landlords could increase prices arbitrarily, whereas the approved decree mandates annual government reviews to determine price adjustments based on prevailing economic conditions.

The decree also mandates that landlords can demand payment not exceeding two months’ rent and must provide tenants with two months’ prior written notice for eviction.

Following deliberations, the council ratified the Housing Rent Control and Management Decree with a majority vote, despite three abstentions.

Ethiopia ranks as the second most expensive African country after Cameroon, with citizens spending 43 percent of their income on rent.

By ethionegari@gmail.com

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