HomeBusiness DigestIndependent Property - Partnership set to ease housing problems

Independent Property – Partnership set to ease housing problems

Conrad Dube

THE marriage between the Land and Housing Developers Association and the Directors’ Forum is expected to help in tackling perennial housing shortages in urban areas, the chairman of the Land

and Housing Developers Association, Chester Mhende, has said.

Mhende said the cooperation was borne out of the two organisations’ common goal to establish a national standard for all parties involved in the provision of land and housing.

“The agreement means that the Directors’ Forum, which brings together directors of housing of all cities and local authorities, will from now only work with registered land and housing developers who comply with the published code of conduct,” Mhende said in an interview this week.

The code of conduct, according to Mhende, has a number of issues, among them the protection of public funds through a trust account with third party signatories appointed either by local authorities or the developers association.

He said the intention was to ensure completion of projects by housing providers to avoid failure to deliver the final product or service.

“The practice is in compliance with set standards given by the Department of Physical Planning and the respective town planning departments of particular local authorities,” the developers chairman said, adding that the association’s mandate was to assist developers to comply with the set standards.

“We have realised that at times projects are under-costed or at times pre-feasibility studies lacked detail such that what is delivered is short of expectations,” he said.

At the backbone of the marriage is the understanding that both parties ensure the provision of tarred roads, clean piped water and sewer/septic tanks that do not contaminate the source of clean water.

“The rationale is clearly to define what the public should expect from housing practitioners and local authorities in housing delivery,” he said.

The Land and Housing Developers Association is also working with the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to develop a Land and Housing Developers Act, which seeks to facilitate and regulate the operation of land and housing developers.

The ministry, according to Mhende, had identified the need to facilitate whilst regulating land development and also to acknowledge the role land and housing developers play in providing housing, particularly in the medium and high income groups. This would allow government to concentrate on low-income housing, he said. The blueprint seeks to uphold the efforts of land developers without stifling growth in the industry.

In the past 20 years developers have emerged in an area that had been the preserve of the public sector, the government and local authorities. The government has been encouraging private and public sector partnerships in the provision of housing.

Mhende said the association was also helping peri-urban cooperatives regularise occupations in providing decent water, sewerage and title deeds.

The Land and Housing Developers Association comprises individuals and organisations that develop primary, secondary and tertiary infrastructure on land that the individuals or organisations own independently or in partnership with landowners, the government, local authorities or private companies.

The association has developed a professional code of conduct designed to cover all eventualities and order every member to uphold the status of the association and the dignity of the profession to push for the regulation of the industry.

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