IF you are a happy-owner of a house, and you live in it, you are an owner-occupier. But not everybody owns a house and, in our urban areas, some 70% of the urbanites live in houses which they do not own. They are tenants, and the owners of the houses in which tenants live are known as landlords or landladies.
One public housing institutions, the NHC, was created to, among others, provide rental housing. We read about its recent activities in Moshi, in a news item titled: “NHC threatens to evict tenants for failure to pay over 44m/= ‘in rental fees’” (Custodian 9th March, p. 4).
This is how the Custodian’s correspondent opens the story: “The National Housing ‘Cooperation’ (NHC) in Moshi District, Kilimanjaro region, has threatened to evict its tenants who have failed to pay ‘rental fees’ totaling 44.3m/=.
National Housing ‘Cooperation’? According to the writer, yes, for he continues: “The ‘cooperation’ has been able to collect 1.9bn/= which is equivalent to 73 percent of its collection targets from July 2018 to February 2019.
As if that was not enough on “cooperation”, the NHC regional manager is reported to have said: “Currently, the ‘cooperation’ has a total of 730 customers in Kilimanjaro region. We have been officially writing to remind them to pay ‘fees’ on time”.
The manager had tough words for those tenants who owed the NHC, money: “We will take measures including eviction ‘to none payers’.
The NHC has the honour of being the first parastatal organization in the Country, created in 1962, soon after Independence in 1961. It is a body corporate, meaning, it is known as a Corporation, not a Cooperation, whatever the latter word would mean in these circumstances. NHC stands for “National Housing Corporation”, not “National Housing Cooperation”.
There is no doubt, however, that the NHC has cooperation arrangements with other institutions interested in housing, such as financiers, real estate agents and the like.
The money you pay to occupy a house that is not yours is known as “rent”. There is no need to beat about the bush, calling it “rental fees” or “fees”. If you do not pay your rent on time, you are in default, you fall into arrears, and ultimately, you may face eviction. You may be a non-payer, but not a ‘none payer’ as our correspondent would like us to believe.
Some governments have in place legislation to protect tenants from wanton increases of rent by landlords, or from eviction, but, in the last resort, the tenant is under obligation to pay rent, in order to have the quiet enjoyment of the rented property.
Besides food and housing, urban dwellers spend a lot of money on transport, mainly on public transport buses. The most ubiquitous buses in Dar es Salaam are those known as daladalas.
The Custodian broadsheet carrying the article on housing referred to above, has a lovely photograph on its page 7, showing people pushing a daladala. The caption raises eye brows: “Passengers join hands with the driver (?) and the conductor in pushing a commuter bus after ‘developed technical fault’ and ‘dropped dead’ along the Ilala boma stretch of Dar es Salaam’s Kawawa Road, yesterday”.
I can count five people trying to get the Eicher bus to move, but I wonder whether the driver is one of them. If that is the case, who is at the steering wheel? Mind you, the photograph shows people seated in the bus, much as it is being pushed. It is highly unlikely that it is driver-less.
But, on an equally serious note, have you ever heard of a bus “dropping dead”, even if this is “after developed technical fault?” It is creatures with life in them that can drop dead. To “drop dead” means to die suddenly and unexpectedly, eg from a heart attack.
It is more likely than not that the bus developed a technical fault and stopped working. It “stalled”. If a vehicle, or its engine stalls, it suddenly stops working. My re-write of the caption is as follows:
“Passengers join hands with the conductor in pushing a commuter bus after ‘it developed a technical fault’ and ‘stalled’ along the Ilala boma stretch of Dar es Salaam’s Kawawa Road, yesterday”.
See you next week!