As the country returns to work after the Covid-19 lockdown, youthful tycoon Haruna Sentongo has good news for tenants on his buildings. They will not have to pay rent arrears during the three months their businesses were closed during the total lockdown.
“Some landlords are hesitant to write off the lockdown rent arrears but eventually they will. People have been home and they don’t have money,” Haruna said.
Several of Sentongo’s structures are located in downtown Kampala with tenants being everyday business people who were hit hard by the lockdown. Matooke Republic spoke to Sentongo at his Segawa Marketing building located along Mwanga 2 Road in Mengo Kisenyi, Kampala.
The three storied structure sits on 1.5 acres and has 500 shops and ample parking. It is quickly establishing itself as the new motor-car spare parts centre in the country. Sentongo had good news for prospective tenants saying they will get three months’ rent free of charge as they restart their businesses.
“The lockdown has been hard on people. I’m offering three months free rent to new clients as my way of contributing to kick-starting the economy,” he said.
After avoiding the rent issue during several Covid-19 addresses to the nation. President Museveni finally gave guidance on the rent issue but he didn’t make a pronouncement. He left the matter to landlords and their tenants though he said tenants shouldn’t be evicted.
Museveni advised that landlords should sit with their tenants to discuss the issue of rental arrears. Most landlords in Kampala have asked their tenants to defer payments to a later date but they have not waived the rental arrears. Sentongo on the other hand has waived the rent.