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New bill repeals rent decree

Apr 14, 2010, 11:12 AM | Article By: Alieu Jabang & Sainey MK Marenah

The Rent Tribunal Bill was recently passed by the lawmakers meeting in Banjul, who also repealed the Rent Decree No. 67 of 1996.

Pierre Biram Tamba, the Minister for Local Government and Lands, tabled the bill before deputies called the Rent Tribunal (Establishment) Bill 2010, which will set up tribunals to regulate and exercise control on rent and related matters.

The Minister told deputies that this would go a long way in solving unnecessary problems between landlords and their tenants.

Under the new bill, no landlord shall make it a requirement or condition of granting, continuing or renewing a tenancy that rent shall be paid before the beginning of the rental period. It shall also be an offence under the bill for a landlord to compel the payment of rent in a currency other than the currency of the Gambia.

"It shall be a condition of a tenancy of any property that the tenant shall afford the landlord access to the property, and all reasonable facilities for executing therein any repairs which the landlord is entitled to execute," the bill indicated.

Also under the same bill, a dispute between a landlord and a tenant shall, notwithstanding any other course of action available to them in law, be referred to a tribunal for adjudication and the decision of the tribunal shall be binding on both parties.

A person who commits an offence under the act or any regulation made there-under is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding D5000 (five thousand dalasis) or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or both.

Seconding the motion, Honourable Paul L Mendy, member for Kombo South, said the new bill would go a long way in helping people to have a residence to stay without any difficulty.

"The new bill is very clear," he said, adding that it is not one-sided, and it is in the interest of every individual residing in the Gambia, be it a landlord or a tenant.

Also contributing to the debate, Honourable Sidia Jatta, member for Wuli West, said all laws are important, but some are more important than others.

"This bill is long overdue, and it should have been done a long time ago," Hon Jatta said.