Tenants union meets with Housing Minister regarding Tenancy Act

Male' city. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Afrah)

Male’ Tenants Union met with Housing Minister Aathifa Shukoor yesterday to suggest recommendations to the proposed Tenancy Act which is currently being drafted.

One of the founding members of the union, Shaain Yoosuf stated that suggestions such as the formation of a tribunal to mediate between tenants and landlords and the suspension of rent when such an issue is being heard in the tribunal were made to the Minister during yesterday’s meeting.

“We proposed measures such as providing legal aid to tenants by the government since the landlords would be stronger financially,” said Shaain.

No signs of rent control

Other suggestions included limiting the advance payment collections to one month and introducing a community land concept through the Community Land Trust or Housing Association. The Union has been a staunch advocate of a rent control system but admitted that the Minister did not share their views on the issue of rising rent in the capital in yesterday’s meeting.

“The Minister does not have any thoughts on implementing a rent control system. At first, She pointed out the fear of a black market emerging and secondly the lack of social housing to cater to the housing demand,” said Shaain.

The union also quoted the minister as saying that a rent control system could not be formed through the Tenancy Act and would need a separate law for the system. The bill will include eviction measures and safety standards in apartments.

The Minister has also met with other organizations for suggestions to the Tenancy Act. The Tenants Union was formed to address the difficulties faced by tenants in Male’ city and give them an official voice to share their issues.

A public meeting of the union is scheduled for Wednesday, 8:00  at Social Center.