Gov’t urged to act as Covid-19 inflicts havoc on tenants

Mamos Media

By: Adama Tine

The issue of house rent has become very difficult for many in The Gambia nowadays, with many landlords being hell-bent in charging high rentals or inflating rent prices.

 What makes it even more worrying is the corresponding strict rules attached with some of these apartments for let. A room and a parlor that used to be priced at D1500 per month has now doubled the initial price. While those going out for D3000 are now twice the initial price.

Ridwan Othman, a registrar at the Kanifing Magistrates Court, said during the Covid-19 pandemic, people have been going through a lot of financial constraints due to the lockdown period. “Around that time we received lots of cases mainly from the landlords because of rent arrears,” Othman said.

According to him, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a hard time for tenants most especially during the lockdown period when most of them could not go out for their daily activities, noting that at the end of the month they could not add up to their rent fees which sometimes are too high.

 Mr. Othman added that the Covid-19 pandemic has been very tough and difficult on tenants and within that time they had received the highest number of cases on tenants due to lack of payment of rents by tenants with some landlords not being able to accommodate most of the tenants because of such constraints.

 “Within a short period of time we had registered too many cases on tenants and within a month, we receive around 30 cases. Most of the cases are either tenants not paying on time or they are not paying at all which is as a result of the lockdown,” he explained.

 Some tenants, he said, would owe landlords up to around three to four months due to the lockdown and most of them when brought to court, would say the pandemic has affected their source of income and also that they had family burdens on their heads which include feeding and payment of school fees, among others.

Lamin Yabou, a tenant called on the Kanifing Municipal Council to help stop agents from intruding in rental issues especially during the Covid-19 period as they are making life unbearable for tenants.

 “The Covid-19 has really affected us tenants but landlords and agents polarised that only rich people can have rooms or apartments in this country. We are low income earners so we are finding it very difficult to rent even a single room because of their exorbitant charges,” he said.

AT/COB/DAJ/9/11/21

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