Botswana Housing Corporation has welcomed the Sectional Titles Bill recently deferred by parliament in the July session and said it will actually work in their favour and enable them to sell.
BHC spokesperson Gomolemo Zimona explained that the challenge they face is that in some of the units in the existing BHC flats, there are some foreigners who have been renting for quite some time. On the other hand, government policy prohibits the sale of any units by BHC to foreigners or foreign controlled companies. In its current form the Sectional Titles Act gives a sitting tenant the first right of refusal if the place where he is renting has been declared a scheme. It also prohibits the relocation of a tenant with the intention to sell the units in future, hence the need to amend the Act, which is being pushed by BHC to enable it to sell through this mode.
On the stringent mandatory requirements for developers as proposed in the amendment for developers to give citizens first option Zimona said the amendment would not disadvantage the Corporation in any way but rather enable it to sell high density accommodation. "The amendment could rather disadvantage or restrict the private sector because all along they were at liberty to sell to all occupants either citizens or non-citizens," said Zimona.
Efforts to get a comment from Real Estate Institute of Botswana (REIB) president Modiredi Maruping were futile as he had not responded to a sent to him two months back, despite promising to do so.
BHC recently rolled out the sitting tenant campaign whose intention is to encourage sitting BHC tenants to buy the houses they have been renting for many years to encourage and promote home ownership by citizens. The tenant purchase scheme is not available on sectional titles and its only available on conventional title and therefore the Bill would have no effect on the campaign.
BHC said it strives at all times to provide cost effective affordable housing to Batswana, primarily to promote home ownership and ensure human dignity. In executing this mandate, the Corporation is guided by its vision, “To provide affordable housing to the nation through appropriate solutions” and underpinned by its corporate values such as botho, excellence, innovation, transparency and teamwork.