A survey carried out by The New Times has revealed that landlords are fronting the rise in the cost of living to make a quick buck off their desperate tenants.
The tenants say that rent has doubled or tripled in the last one year.
A spare parts dealer in Kigali City, who talked to The New Times, said that he was forced to move from the city centre to the outskirts after his rent shot from Rwf250,000 to Rwf700,000 within months.
“One day the landlord told me that the rent had been increased and it was unfair how much he was asking for. I later found out that he had made an arrangement with another person who later rented the premises,” he said.
In Remera, a city suburb, Bethel Church which owns close to 23 apartments near the taxi park recently increased its rent leaving the tenants with no choice but to pay because of the accessibility of the premises.
“We were told to pay double the previous rate. I used to pay Rwf50, 0000 now I pay 100, 000. This place is on demand, everyone wants to do business here,” one trader revealed to The New Times.
He added that two other tenants couldn’t cope after their rent was doubled from Rwf150,000 to Rwf300,000.
Emile Mukamana, a landlady who owns five residential houses in Kicukiro, attributed the hike to the increasing cost of living.
“Now if you go to the market for food it is expensive. Even the taxi fares were hiked,” she said.
Odette Munyaneza, a single mother and vegetables hawker in Kacyiru, said that her rent has been hiked from Rwf3000 to Rwf10,000 within months.
Solange Ngabire who decided to move from the roadside where she was doing informal business and got a loan of Rwf50,000 from Duterimbere, a local NGO, said that she is being hard-pressed by a variety of costs that include rent and taxes.
When contacted for comment, the Minister of Infrastructure, Eng. Linda Bihire, disclosed that an act has been drafted to address some of the queries raised by city residents.
“The act considers that a resident can deposit a minimum deposit of one month instead of the many months that a landlord usually requires,” she said.
She also revealed that the act addresses the issue of landlords terminating contracts because they have got better rent offers and also making sure that their houses are in good condition.
But she explained that the rent changes are determined by the market forces.