Condos being rented as guesthouses, offices

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Exact numbers are unknown, but several condos in Gerji, Lideta, Baldras, Goterra, Summit and Basha Welde are providing guest house service for diaspora and foreigners and charging between 13,000 and 18,000 birr a month.
According to a survey by Capital, the guests in these condos stay from one week to three months. The houses come fully furnished and have working facilities. Ethiopian law requires a competency certificate from the Culture and Tourism Bureau to open a guest house. An unlicensed guest house can result in a fine or closure.
However, due to low supervision from the government and the high cost of hotels and guest houses, people choose condominium houses to get a better deal. This has raised concerns about safety and standards of accommodation.
The condos which were first built for middle and lower income people are also being rented for office space.
Capital asked Kassuan Abera the Trade Regulation Head at the Addis Ababa Trade and industry Bureau what the government is doing about this situation.
“When someone rents a house they don’t need a license as you do for a guest house so many people are doing this and then lying about what the property is being used for. They will say they are renting it to a friend so we have a hard time combating the problem, our plan is to work with the Cultural Bureau.”
According to Abebe Sahlu, Legal Officer for the Addis Ababa Tourism and Culture Bureau the illegal guest houses in the condos are the result of misdirection.
“Some people come to our sub city offices and ask to open a guest house in the condo but we tell them that the condos are for living not for hotel or guest house services but some of them neglect this and start the service without permission, This is absolutely wrong and all stakeholders should work to stop this.’’
A consultant in the tourism and hotel industry urged the government to regulate the sector properly.
Kumneger Teketel Director of Ozzie Business and Hospitality Group said “when something is done in the hotel or guest house sector it must be regulated and it must be taxed otherwise legitimate businesses will be discouraged.’’

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