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27 September 2019

law orders counties to punish applicants who fail to complete projects within
five years.

A majority of Kenyans prefer to build their homes
in stages – using cash savings – as they try to circumvent the high mortgage rates in the country.

method of development, however, delays completion of some projects by up to ten
years or more especially for individuals with limited financial resources or in
cases where a developer loses his income in the course of construction.

As a
result, it is common to see shells of under-construction maisonettes and
bungalows rusting away in various estates across the country.

trend is, however, likely to fade away soon following the enactment of a law
that compels builders to complete works within five years.

Physical and Land Use Planning Act, 2019, which was enacted last month, orders
counties to impose harsh penalties on applicants who fail to complete their
projects within five years.

Under the
new law, it is also mandatory for a developer to begin construction within
three years of obtaining approval by the county government, failing which the
permission will slip away.

will be deemed to have committed an offence if they begin construction before
development permission has been issued, or has been revoked or modified.

The new
law is receiving some backlash from a section of Kenyans, who fear it will
hinder cash-strapped developers from taking the leap – further straining
housing development in the country.

building is a concept that would do best if supported as opposed to trying to
kill it,” says Joseph Maina, who is building a three-bedroom house in Athi

there is nothing wrong with taking more than five years to finish construction
as long as the project is done professionally.”

Kenyans see the new law as unrealistic, arguing that it seeks to punish
ordinary citizens trying to put roofs under their heads.

There is
also a group of people who feel that the law is a ploy to force people into
taking expensive bank loans to complete their projects on time.

people build out of their pockets, they do it slowly while avoiding banks and
their predatory interest rates,” says Wanza Angela, a Kenyan based in New York.
“I think influential people with huge interests in banks want to force people
into taking up construction loans.”

to David Gatimu, an official of Town and County Planners Association of Kenya,
the requirement that projects must be completed in five years may not be
applicable in all cases.

“While it
may take just a few months to complete a bungalow, it may take more than five
years to complete a complex block of apartments of office blocks,” Gatimu said.

The rule is also said to be punitive since some delays could be caused by regulatory conditions. “You can get a development approval and spend the next one year trying to secure a Nema licence,” Daniel Ojijo, the CEO of Nairobi-based Home Universal, said in an earlier interview.https://www.constructionkenya.com/7240/new-building-rules-kenya/

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