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(Tenants too have a say!)

1.1 Background
Uganda Network for Tenants (UNET) is a non profit non government organization (yet to
be registered) targeting to empower tenants of all categories through protecting tenants’
rights as well as harmonizing relationships between tenants and their landlords. This will
be done in a number of ways as shall be mentioned.

In Uganda today, residential tenants constitute 70% of the entire household population;
and in work places, commercial tenants constitute 98% of the entire working population.
This means that UNET’s target group is large covering close to10 million people.

2.0 Mission Statement

UNET will make it possible for the voice of tenants to be heard by their landlords in a bid
to protect tenants’ rights and bring about everlasting harmony to cause social and
economic development in the people of Uganda.

3.0 Statement of the problem

Today the largest percentage of landlords feels like bosses of their tenants and hence
intentionally has no respect for their tenants. This has brought about abuse of tenants’
rights including unlawful evictions, violence, private life interference, unfair increments
of rent fees, sexual abuse, any other sorts of disrespect including harsh terms and
conditions placed by landlords.


In Uganda today, home owners constitute 30% and it is almost a socio-economic practice
that home owners build residential or commercial rental houses for tenants; these are
about 95% of home owners.
Statistics also show that 98% of the working population rent where they work including a
large potion of home owners.
Regardless the physical state of the rental facility need will always push tenants to
compete for any sort of rental facility.

Tenancy in a common man’s perspective is related to poverty especially when it comes to

residential tenancy except for a few tenants who can afford to rent expensive houses or
apartments. This perception has been accepted by tenants and landlords leading to an
inferior-superior relationship between tenants and landlords.
As a result, tenants feel inferior to their landlords and in reaction landlords abuse tenants’
rights through inhuman treatment without receiving any sort of defense from the tenants.

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3.2 Forms of residential tenants

1. Tenants who pay between 20,000/= to 40,000/= ($11 to $22) a month. These
mainly reside either in remote areas or slams. They live in structures that are
dilapidated, small and characterized by poor facilities and hygiene. These
constitute about 50% 0f the entire residential tenants population.
2. Tenants paying 50,000/= to 100,000/= ($27 to $53) a month. If it is a single room,
it is relatively descent with power and water available. If they are two rooms, they
would not be in a good state. This category takes about 30% of the entire
population of residential tenants.
3. Tenants who pay 100,000/= to 240,000/= ($53 to $126) a month. If it is a single
room, it is self contained, sizeable and descent. If they are two rooms, they would
be good if they take the upper price. This category takes about 10% of the entire
population of residential tenants.
4. Tenants who pay 250,000/= and above ($136 and above). Such tenants have a
wide choice of quality homes or apartments. These houses or apartments cost up
to $3,000 a month depending on where they are situated. These constitute only
less than 2% of the entire residential tenants’ population.

3.3 Forms of Commercial tenants

1. Tenants mainly market vendors who pay only 5,000/= to 20,000/= ($2 to $11).
These are normally given space where they erect temporary structures to work
from especially along roads. These constitute about 22% of the entire commercial
tenants’ population.
2. Tenants paying 30,000/= to 70,000/= ($19 to $37). These are tenants in markets
with small stalls or lockup shops in small and medium trading centers or renting
small spaces in corridors between building in big towns and cities. These
constitute about 31% of the entire population of commercial tenants.
3. Tenants paying 100,000/= to 150,000/= ($53 to $79). These are found in large
markets in towns and cities with small stalls or lockup shops or sub renting in
large shops in plazas and arcades. This category also covers people renting shops
in trading centers in city outskirts in small towns. They entirely constitute 29% of
the entire population of commercial tenants.
4. Tenants paying 200,000/= to 300,000/= ($105 to $158). These have big stalls or
lockup shops in large markets in the city and in big towns. It also covers tenants
in large shops in medium sized towns and others sub renting in city and large
town shops. They constitute about 10% of the entire population of commercial
5. Tenants paying 400,000/= to 1,000,000/= ($211 to $526). These occupy medium
sized shops in city and town arcades considering the upper price. They constitute
only 5% of the entire population of commercial tenants.
6. Tenants paying 1,500,000/= to 10,000,000/= and above ($790 to $5,500 and
above). These pay for large shops in city arcades and plazas. Some rent the entire
floor of buildings, plots or land where they establish their businesses. This is

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possible for individuals with large businesses or organizations and companies.
They constitute about 3% of the entire population of commercial tenants.


Majority of tenants pay ($11 to $53) and these are relatively low income earners. They
cover close to 80% of residential tenants; i.e. 10million people. These are the most
abused because they are considered poor and desperate because there is stiff competition
for rental facilities and many if not all are ignorant about their rights. Their common
problems include;

They reside in facilities that are poorly maintained by landlords. Such facilities are ever
depreciating but rental fees keep rising. They are commonly found in slams and small
towns and trading centers. These structures do not conform to the acceptable government
standards but because of high demand without available options, the government cannot
enforce standards upgrade. This has led to numerous accidents including fire outbreaks,
structure breakdown, diseases due to poor hygiene leading to life losses.
Though the 1995 constitution of Uganda, in Chapter 4, Article 39: Every Ugandan has a
right to a clean and healthy environment.

Unlawful evictions are common at all levels of tenancy. Some are evicted without
landlords giving clear reasons. As well, tenants are not given ample time to effect their
next move before their household property is thrown out of the house. Landlords stand in
the capacity as owners of the house and therefore do not compensate the tenants. In
normal lawful circumstance, if the landlord needs the house empty, he has to give a
notice to the tenant three months earlier and solicits no payment from the tenant as a
move to enable the tenant collect money to finance the next move. Unless the tenant has
been condemned of any crime or anti-social behavior; or when the tenant has breached
any of the agreements signed with the landlord that eviction is done by local authorities
and such a tenant deserves no compensation. But sometimes landlords connive with
corrupt local authority officials and effect unlawful evictions.
The 1995 constitution of Uganda, in Chapter 4, Article 26: Protection from deprivation of
property. 2b.The compulsory taking of a possession or acquisition of property is made
under the law which makes provision for:
1.) Prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation prior to taking of
possession or acquisition of the property.
2.) A right of access to court of law by any person who has an interest or right
over the property.

Violence is also common when landlords are demanding payments from tenants. Some
beat up tenants while others confiscate household property without agreement with
tenants. The laws of Uganda condemn this kind of behavior but few of the tenants have
courage to seek justice because of their feel of inferiority to landlords they take to be

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Article 24, chapter 4 of the 1995 constitution of Uganda states: “No person shall be
subjected to any form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or

Denial of rights to privacy of tenants by landlords; some landlords frequent tenants

residences and even enter tenants’ houses and search for any errors or damages inflicted
on their property in the auspice of supervising and managing of the property.
The 1995 constitution of Uganda, in Chapter 4, Article 27: Right to privacy of person,
home and other property;
1.) No person shall be subjected to;
a.) Unlawful search of the person, home or other property of this person
b.) Unlawful entry by others of the premises of that person
2.) No person shall be subjected to interference with the privacy of that person’s
home, correspondence, communication or other property.

Tenants are usually disrespected and treated unfairly on ground that they are thought to be
poor compared to their landlords who humiliate them. This arises especially when tenants
have complaints against their landlords regarding the facilities they rent or the treatment they
get from landlords. It gets worse if the complaints are handled by local authorities who also
handle the case with a view that the poor are racing against the rich. Normally the tenants
lose on the right side and landlords win though on the wrong side. This is why tenants lost
courage to fight for their rights abused by their landlords.

Discrimination is another common practice done by many landlords who discriminate tenants
in terms of religion, race, color, ethnic origin, tribe and political opinion as well as the
disabled. They foment conflicts against them, over charge their rent fees, and evict them
while others are barred from renting the property they desire.
The 1995 constitution of Uganda, in Chapter 4, Article 21 (2) a person shall not be
discriminated against on the ground of sex, race, color, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or
religion, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability.

Another sort of inhuman treatment practiced by landlord against tenants is when landlords
interfere with the social life of tenants and restrict them from having children (produced or
hosted for long stays) or hosting visitors. Some couples are evicted as soon as they get their
first child.
The 1995 constitution of Uganda, in Chapter 4, Article 31: Right of the family
1.) A man and woman are entitled to marry only if they are of the age 18years and above
and are entitled at that age:
a.) To found a family.
5.) Children may not be separated from their families or the persons entitled to bring
them up against the will of their families or those persons, except with accordance with
the law.

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There are some elements of sexual abuses that are common against female tenants who at
one point fail to raise the rent fees in time or totally and male landlords enforce a sexual
relationship to lift their eviction. There are some cases of attempted rape or rape when
offenders are male landlords against single female tenants or house wives left at home.
This has so many problems associated with it.


98% of work places are rented. Though similar problems affect residential and
commercial tenants, they are more rampant with commercial tenants because demand is
highest. There are more happenings of unlawful eviction, abnormal fees increment,
sexual abuses, harsh terms and conditions, etc…

It has been seen many times when landlords confiscate tenants’ stock, goods, and
physical facilities and at times they throw out stock or lock shop doors until certain
conditions are fulfilled by tenants. They do these unlawfully. Under such circumstances,
tenants incur grave losses and there is not any compensation they expect from landlords.

Another common problem is when service providers cut off supply to the rented facility.
It can be water, power, communication lines, etc… The tenants are affected as long as the
problem takes but no compensation is done by landlords who fail to fulfill their

Similar to the above problem, some landlord fail to pay obligations to government
especially taxes until government authorities close down the facility and business remains
at standstill until landlords satisfy the obligations. Regardless how long it takes, tenants
who are not part of the default are not compensated by these landlords.

3.6 Overview of tenancy in Uganda

In general, the tenancy status in Uganda has problems growing everyday and tenants’
rights continue to be abused as demand to rent increases tremendously. There is need for
a medium to have voices of tenants heard to uplift their rights. A lot of work needs to be
So UNET is positioning to be the voice of tenants. Unlike the courts of law where the
process of realizing justice is long and costly, UNET will make it quick and free in a bid
to enhance human rights respect and justice for all including tenants who pay as low as
$2 a month.


UNET has come out as a nonprofit organization that will associate with all sorts of tenants to
fight for their rights. We shall sensitize them about the rights they have and enable landlords
know such right and vice-versa since the laws are in place but either party do not know them.

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So, it is the role of UNET to ensure that there will be harmony between tenants and

5.0 Purpose of UNET

1.) UNET will sensitize the tenants and landlords about the laws that protect the rights of
both parties i.e. tenants and landlords.
2.) UNET will accept to handle all complaints from tenants and landlords. Though still,
tenants have more complaints arising from abuse of rights by landlords.
3.) UNET will try to settle any misunderstanding arising from abuse of tenants’ rights
that can be handled by professional counselors and cases involving break of the law will be
forwarded to government and followed until justice is realized.
4.) UNET will be one stop spot for tenants or landlords to harmonize their relationships
to avoid any possibilities of human rights abuse.
5.) UNET will assist tenants who log in their complaints and where need there is forward
the cases to government with light finances through provision of lawyers, and other
necessities until justice is realized.

After serving the above mentioned purposes, UNET will bring about harmony amongst
tenants and landlords. There will be no oppression by landlords that will remain mysterious.
There will be mutual respect for tenants, no violence, etc… and hence, human rights will be

UNET will focus on problems resulting from abuse of tenants’ rights by landlords as well as
help in the process leading to realization of justice. UNET will not be involved in punishment
of culprits or even enforce justice but will use other possible professional means that will
enable the law to clearly take its course on culprits.

7.0 Methodology
7.1 Introduction
UNET is to strategically locate in Kampala for its headquarters and four other offices
in the north, east, south and west. This would enable us have a nationwide coverage
since tenants are mainly located in and around urban centers.
7.2 Operation design
7.2.1 Sensitization
• This will be done through designing informative radio and
television adverts and programs and will able to reach all regions of the country. The national
radio and television stations have a nationwide coverage. We shall also use regional radio
stations and television stations.

• We shall also use billboards, brochures, news papers and

magazines to pass information to the public

• Workshops, exhibitions and any other outdoor events will be

used until our information reaches the public.

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7.2.2 Coordination
We hope to open up a maximum of five offices with headquarters in Kampala.
Each will have a public relations officer who will operate on telephone as a
medium for electronic reception. He / she will also receive letters, emails,
etc… from the tenants or landlords delivered to UNET. All complaints will be
handled professionally with respect. All offices will be adequately staffed.

8.0 Method of work

8.1 Work process
• When UNET receives a complaint, it shall be digested
• UNET shall write formal invitation to either parties which shall be delivered by hand
or post office. The invitation shall be effected by possible email or telephone calls.
• Parties will meet with our advisors, counselors or even lawyers. A discussion would
take place and a solution is possibly met. Resolutions would be drawn but if all fails, possible
cases would be forwarded to police or courts of law. After harmony or justice is realized, our
job would be done.
• We shall also use any other possible methods like paying for radio or television
programs where the public calls in with their complaints and we advise them on air.

8.2 Staff
The following shall be the staff positions (Chart 1)



(Secretaries, office
messengers & drives)


UNET shall have the following staff list

• National coordinator
• Assistant national coordinator
• 4 Regional coordinators

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• One Technical officer (lawyer or advisor) leading to a total of 5 officers for the
five offices.
• 3 Public relations officers and counselors leading to a total of 15 officers for five
• A secretary per office leading to a total of 5 secretaries for 5 offices.
• An office messenger leading to a total of 5 office messengers for 5 offices.
• A driver leading to a total of 5 drivers for 5 offices.

This would make a total of 41 employees.

9.0 Operational requirements

• Space (5 offices)
• Office equipment;-
1. 6 computers and 3 printers for headquarters,
2. 5 computers and one printer per other four offices leading to a total of 20
computers and 4 printers.
3. 5 photocopiers; one per office
4. 5 telephones and 5 faxes; one per office
5. Stationery for the 5 offices
6. 8 chairs for the headquarters and 28 chairs for the other four offices
totaling to 36 chairs and 36 tables.
7. Any other equipment that shall be required.
• Transport i.e. 5 vehicles… one for each office.
• UNET-public communication medium
9.1 Budget
9.1.1 Startup costs (Table 1)
1 Space (Rent) 1500 5 for 3months 22,500
2 Computers 650 26 16,900
3 Printers 400 7 2,800
4 Photocopiers 500 5 2,500
5 Chairs 110 36 3,960
6 Tables 150 36 5,400
7 Telephone 150 5 750
8 Fax 200 5 1,000
9 Stationery 500 5 2,500
10 Internet 200 5 1,000
11 Personnel 41 workers 21,315
12 Workshops & Meetings Monthly 10,000
13 Media & Press Monthly 21,063
14 Vehicles 45,000 5 225,000
15 TOTAL 355,371

9.2 (Table 2) Staff salaries

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Designation Monthly Salary ($)
National Coordinator 2,105
Assistant National 1,842
Lawyers / Advisors 1,579
Public Relations / 1,053
Secretaries 526
Drivers 368
Office Messengers 263

9.3 Costs for the next 12 months (Table3)


($) ($)
1 Space (Rent) 7,500 90,000
2 Electricity Bills 263.2 3,158
3 Water Bills 105.3 1,263
4 Telephone Bills 526.3 6,316
5 Fax Bills 350 4,200
6 Stationery 2,500 30,000
7 Internet 1,000 12,000
8 Workshops & meetings 10,000 120,000
9 Media and Press 21,063 252,756
10 Vehicle Maintenance 3,947.4 47,368
11 National Coordinator 2,105 25,260
12 Ass. National 1,842 22,104
13 4 Regional Coordinators 6,316 75,792
14 20 Technical & PR 21,060 252,720
15 5 Secretaries 2632 31,579
16 5 Office Messengers 1,315 15,780
17 5 Drivers 1840 22,080
18 Miscellaneous 1,000 12,000
19 TOTAL 85,365 1,024,380

9.4 Costs for the next 5 years

If all the other factors remain constant, each year UNET will spend $1,024,380
which will total to $5,121,900.

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10.0 Conclusion

In case UNET gets adequate sponsorship all through, the mission statement will be
achieved. Because tenancy exists to stay forever, it needs to be a permanent project
expanding its mission depending on the changing trend of tenancy in the country.
Given chance, UNET will change the social wellbeing of tenants of all categories and this
would lead to a clear protection of human rights resulting to everlasting harmony, social
development and peace in the country.

Yours faithfully;

Gilbert Lukyamuzi

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