Law Seeking to Block Landlords From Hiking Rent Inches Closer to Reality

  • An aerial view of a section of Ngara Estate in Nairobi
    An aerial view of a section of Ngara Estate in Nairobi
  • A law seeking to save Kenyans from unruly landlords has inched closer to reality after the Senate gave the public 10 days to submit their views on a bill that aims to protect tenants from unplanned changes by landlords.

    Kenyans were asked to submit their views before Friday, January 14, 2022, on the Landlord and Tenant Bill, 2021.

    The new bill seeks to give the government power to restrict rent increases on commercial and residential premises.

    According to the bill, which was passed by the National Assembly, rent increases will be restricted with consideration of the inflation rate of the previous year.

    File images of residential houses in Nairobi

    “Pursuant to provisions of Article 118 of the Constitution and Standing Order 140(5)…the Committee on Roads and Transportation now invite interested members of the public to submit any representation that they may have on the Bill by way of written memoranda,” the Clerk of the Senate, Jeremiah Nyegenye, stated.

    The Bill also allows for reductions on rent when landlords draw back some of the services that had prompted earlier increases in building lease costs.

    Landlords will likely pay a fine of Ksh200,000 or spend one year in jail if they disregard rulings by the rent tribunal.

    Owners will be required to give tenants at least a 90-day written notice of the intention to increase rent, detailing the amount of new rent.

    Increased rent will have to reflect an increase in services, undertaken capital expenditure, or inflation of economic trends.

    "Landlords will also have to give a one-year notice before evicting tenants in residential premises and a two-year notice for business premises," reads part of the proposed law. 

    If landlords fail to provide the prescribed services, they will subsequently have to reduce the amount they charge tenants in rent.

    The bill also requires landlords to keep records of rent of the premises and provide the tenant with a copy failure to which they will be liable to a fine of one month's rent.

    A block of apartments in Nairobi.
    A block of apartments in Nairobi.