Government to introduce rent control

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The Ministry of Urban Development and Housing which is concerned about skyrocketing rents is set to implement a new procedure which would prevent landlords from raising rents over a certain period.
The ministry proposed the idea last year but the then Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, rejected the idea fearing that forcing the landlords to set a price could incite price inflation in the rental housing market.
But the new Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed (PhD) is bringing back the proposal to ease the burden of tenants struggling with high rents.
The lesser and lessee regulation which is part of the real estate marketing development regulation aims to save tenants from unreasonable rental fees and rights violations.
The regulation is expected to be ratified by the Ministers of Council by September and is expected to improve the relationship between tenants and landlords.
The Prime Minister’s office fears government involvement in the rental market could lead to other problems.
Jantirar Abay, Minister of Urban Development and Housing told Capital that discussions will be carried out with landlords before the regulation changes go into effect.
“For everything there must be a line that keeps us from falling in to an unfair market, we know that some landlords raise rent every two or three months but tenants have no choice because there is no framework to protect them. We are in the final stages of applying the lesser and lessee regulation and we will meet with landlords to address concerns and clarify the rules.’’
With the low condo construction pace and the increasing population of Addis Ababa, house rents have skyrocketed over the last ten years. A three by three room which used to rent out for 300 birr ten years ago now rents for 1,000 to 1,500 birr in the outskirts of the city.  According to studies landlords often violate tenant’s rights.
The Ministry is also planning to call in foreign companies to build more houses.
“Our great priority is to local contractors but if we can’t fill the gap we will bring in foreigners’’ the Minister said.
Currently more than one million people in Addis are in great need of housing but the government has delivered around 150,000 condo houses in the past 10 years.