Owners of residential houses in the City of Kigali currently used for business operations have up to three months to submit the project proposals to the Kigali Construction One-Stop Centre to modify their usage to commercial or face closure.
The decision was reached during a meeting convened to present a report of a technical team tasked to carry out a feasibility study and to devise solutions to the problem of residential houses used for business activities in the city.
The team which was instituted in March, included experts from KCC, the ministries of Infrastructure, and Trade and Industry, Rwanda Development Board, the Private Sector Federation (PSF) and the National Land Centre.
According to the minutes of the meeting, chaired by Albert Nsengiyumva, the Minister of Infrastructure, all residential houses being used for business without the necessary requirements, but with enough space for expansion, will be given one year, effective October, to implement their architectural designs which will be approved by the city’s construction centre.
Owners of the residential houses which do not have room for expansion were also given an opportunity to submit their project proposals to the construction centre for approval.
They will, however, be given up to one year to relocate if their proposals to not meet the required standards.
However, residential facilities which are in a poor state and pose a threat to security and health of their occupants and cannot make any necessary refurbishment while in use, face immediate closure.
They will only be reopened after the owners have got the green light from the district construction and inspection services after completion of the required facelift.
The city Mayor, Fidele Ndayisaba, advised owners of the facilities to apply for change of usage to commercial. “Every usage has its appropriate requirements; any change of usage without the approval of the authorities is illegal.”
Most of the residential houses which are used for commercial purposes lack enough parking space, drainage systems and toilets to accommodate their clientele.
Those affected by the new directive will incur further costs to acquire new land documents, such as lease contracts and land titles.
The meeting, held at the PSF premises in Gikondo, was also attended by, among others, Stanisilas Kamanzi, the Minister of Natural Resources, and PSF chairman, Robert Bayigamba.