Association Files Motion to Protect Tenants from Rogue Landlords
The Urban and Tenants Association of Kenya (Utak) wants greater the Government to exercise legal control over the dealings between landlords and tenants.
According to the association, an overhaul of the rent tribunal will be crucial, replacing it with rent and rates regulatory authority, as it will enforce ceilings on rents and rates to apply based on location and size.
The authority will have the ability to deal with the landlords fond of hiking rents and those who profile clients on ethnic grounds.
Utak has already filed a memorandum with the housing ministry, seeking to have a stakeholder meeting in a bid to discuss how tenants can be protected.
“The Government is the worst landlord since it uses its monopoly of violence to evict tenants. We are aware of cases where tenants have been evicted illegally by use of police force and in the case of county governments, evictions being conducted by crude askaris,” he said.
Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Communications Director Joseph Kamuto said that some county governments have hiked land rates by between 300 and 500 percent in less than six years, arguing that it should not have gone above 60 percent.
According to Utak, the Rent Restriction Act needs to be amended for rogue landlord will pay a fine of between Sh1million to Sh5million, and also the tribunal to have the mandate of issuing jail terms of up to 5 years.
“Landlords are operating with raw impunity where they hike rents anyhow. The law is apparent that this should only be done annually and not at a rate exceeding 10 percent. And this is only after conspicuous upgrading of the premises is done,” Mr. Kamuto said.
Utak argues that the Rent Restriction Tribunal has not been fully effective in handling landlord-tenant cases, with most landlords taking advantage of their tenants.