Housing Decay and Maintenance : The Case of Public Housing in Tanzania
Abstract: The dominant discourse in Tanzania is that home ownership is the most sustainable strategy towards solving housing problem. As a result, housing policy orientation has been towards promotion of home ownership through a land-housing linkage strategy that manifests in improvement of access to identified categories of people usually classified on resources constrained criterion. Rental housing has been observed from this study to have suffered a number of setbacks in history. Public rental housing featured prominently in the first Five-Year Development Plans (1964-69). In subsequent years and particularly with the demise of socialistic form of governance in the post 1992 era, attention has moved away from public rental housing to home-ownership strategies. Private rental housing on the other hand has never featured in the national policies until mid-2000s.This study investigates the future of public housing in Tanzania from a housing management perspective. Through interviews and direct observation in two case studies at Keko and Ubungo National Housing Corporation (NHC), it has been demonstrated that public housing in Tanzania has suffered neglect in terms of repair and maintenance for many years. The main reason as claimed was poor rent collection and low rent levels. The general finding of the study is public housing in Tanzania has been greatly influenced by employment policy changes. Public housing as construed by main actors in the study area is for public servants and largely government employees. Rental payment to the Public Housing Organization was usually through direct remittance from employees salaries by their employers. The Government in 2001 was the largest rent defaulter to NHC.Through a study on housing careers in Dar es Salaam, the study demonstrates the relationship that exists between landlords and tenants. With growing demand for accommodation, renta lsector has been shown to be the strategy that meets needs for newcomers to towns. The study also demonstrates how policy implications are influencing means of solving housing problem.The study urges public housing authorities to exploit all opportunities and in particular the social capital embedded in their tenants to help solve some of their maintenance problems.
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