Some landlords are taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak, soliciting sexual favors in lieu of rent payments from economically vulnerable tenants, according local council leaders.
According to reports, Local Council chairpersons have received more reports of landlords sexually harassing their tenants in the last one month than they had in the last four years.
There are also cases of landlords offering to move in with tenants and sending sexually explicit photos to them after they communicated concerns about delaying in paying April rent.
While the number of cases wasn’t necessarily astronomical, there are fears some vulberable tenants are not reporting the cases while some have given in to sexual advances of landlords for rent.
“Landlord coercion has always been a reality, but we’ve never seen anything like this,” a loc council leaders in Bweyogerere said. “The coronavirus creates the perfect conditions for landlords who want to do this because not only are people being instructed to stay home, but the virus has added to the economic stress with people losing their jobs.”
Millions of Ugandans continue to lose their jobs as companies have not been operating and earning for months.
“Landlords especially prey on women who are vulnerable, who are housing insecure, have bad credit or who don’t have anywhere to go,” another local leader said. “We’ve already seen that the pandemic is exacerbating a lot of systemic issues and sexual harassment targeted at tenants by landlords is likely to be one of these issues.”
In one of his addresses to the nation, President Yoweri Museveni ordered landlords to stop demanding rent arrears from tenants until the lockdown is lifted.
Weeks ago, authorities distributing food to the vulnerable people were also accused of demanding sex in exchange for food.