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Kenya housing law gets backing

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 10 – Housing Finance (HF) has thrown its weight behind the proposed Housing Bill which is awaiting Cabinet approval, saying it will speed up housing development through facilitating access to land and related infrastructure.

HF Managing Director Frank Ireri said the Bill safeguards land zoned out for purposes of housing and human settlements. He said that it further promotes joint ventures between local authorities, developers and landowners in urban and rural areas’ infrastructure development.

“It also quickens the process from end to end in terms of approvals and in terms of conveyance for those who are taking mortgages to buy houses,” he said. “It also looks at planning which is a very key factor.”

According to the 2009 National Population and Housing Census, Kenya has a population growth of one million people annually. Mr Ireri pointed out that the high rate of population growth has adverse effects on spending in infrastructure, health, education, environment, water and other social and economic sectors.

“The rate of rural urban migration that has been published through the census is alarming and does definitely create a sense of panic in terms of the pressure that it is causing especially within the Nairobi metropolis on the basic infrastructure and housing,” he said.

The Housing Bill proposes the establishment of the Kenya Housing Authority whose functions will also include facilitating housing development.

It seeks to create and maintain a data bank on housing developments as well as monitor and evaluate developments in the housing sector. The authority will further facilitate and promote research on building materials and technology.

It will also be mandated to liaise with other institutions on disaster preparedness and post disaster response interventions on housing.

The Bill also creates a window for funding to help investors access credit, especially those involved in developing the social economy. It proposes inspections of all buildings every five years for safety and to ascertain that they are secure for habitation.

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Other functions of the authority, according to the proposed legislation, will include promoting innovative forms of housing and land tenure systems to meet the needs of the poor and vulnerable, including persons with disabilities.

It will further ensure that housing and human settlement developments are carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

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