How Illegal Middlemen Cheat Tenants


JF-Expert Member
Aug 2, 2010
Sunday,September 11th 2011
| [URL=""]Tanzania[/URL]

The Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlement Development, Professor Anna Tibaijuka

The ‘go betweens’ or middlemen who operate with impunity in the housing industry in Dar es Salaam are piling misery on people who look for accommodation.

Operating in different parts of the city, they siphon money from prospective tenants but enjoy ‘tax holiday,’ proving a big obstacle to efforts of the city to widen its scope to generate revenue.
In Kiswahili, they are called “madalali” and frequent pubs, sometimes from as early as eight in the morning. Their pass time is to play pool table game, spend heavily on alcohol and women.
The business is illegal, admits Juma Rajabu Kaniki, who is a ‘go between.’ “But lack of jobs forces youths to “reap where they did not sow, at the expense of desperate potential tenants,” he adds.
It is common for the middleman to demand price equivalent to what a landlord asks for one month, Kaniki informs The Guardian on Sunday in an interview along Ali Hassan Mwinyi road – his favourite sphere of operation.
Bernard Kihiyo, is manager of Parasol Real Estate Agent and Development. He says an independent regulatory authority is the way out of this situation – to deal with land and real estate management. Its absence has brought confusion in the industry.
“This (housing industry) is one of the fastest growing which should be conducted transparently so as to bring more income to the government,” he says, adding that unqualified practitioners have invaded it because of the absence of a regulator.
Kihiyo, whose company deals in letting of offices and residential accommodation and property management, says establishment of such a regulator would enable the industry to conduct activities “in a sound manner.”
“If well regulated the housing industry would contribute up to 40 per cent to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP),” he said.
Tanzania is facing a shortage of three million houses and each year a shortage of 200,000 houses surfaces.
Minister of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development Prof Anna Tibaijuka said last month in Dodoma that the government was considering lowering taxes on construction materials. She was inaugurating residential houses construction project undertaken by the National Housing Corporation (NHC) at Medeli.
The spiraling of prices of construction materials is major factor that hampers development of housing industry in Tanzania.
During the 2010 general election campaigns Chama Cha Maendeleo (Chadema) election manifesto contained a proposal to put aside tax on construction materials to enable Tanzanians to own decent houses.
The mushrooming of institutions of higher learning in the city has contributed to the hiking of rent by landlords as students prefer to stay off campus because it is cheaper that way.
Emily Ajwang had just landed a job at TMJ hospital and she wanted to occupy a room in the neighbourhood. She was advised to seek the service of middlemen and commissioned a man in his forties Alex Maneno for the job.
“I will give you a call, when I am ready,” said Maneno after exchanging contacts. The next day Ajwang was in the middlemen of a trap unknowingly. She was taken round the Mikocheni A area, introduced to a fake landlord and had to part with all her savings.
“To my great astonishment, the following day I was greeted by a rude poster on the door that the house is not for sale, neither is it for lease but Maneno’s phone ‘was not reachable,’ ” said Ajwang. A cross section of housing stakeholders interviewed by this paper cautioned over inadequate housing, especially for the poor describing it as a silent menace and a bomb waiting to explode.
“The leaders tend to forget lack of affordable housing facilities for the poor majority is dangerous,threatening the lives of millions of people,” said Abdallah Hamis, a resident of Kijitonyama inDar es Salaam. “We need institutions that work for providing housing facilities to all the people,” he added.
Data availed from ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlement Development shows 75 percent of houses in urban areas are built in unplanned areas.
In Dar es Salaam’s Jangwani, Manzese, Buguruni, Tandika, Kimara, Mbezi Chini, Mbagala, Temeke and Kigamboni suburbs buildings are shaping up in unplanned settlements.
According to a Un-Habitat report, almost one third of the world’s urban population lives in slums without access to decent housing or basic services, and in the neighbourhoods where diseases, illiteracy and crime are rampant.
The report reveals that shelter conditions have a direct impact on human development, including child mortality, education and employment.
Children in slums are more prone to waterborne diseases and respiratory infections than those in rural areas and the women in slums are more likely to contract HIV/Aids than their counterparts in rural areas, it adds.
By Edwin Agola, The Guardian


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