What the Law Says About Landlords Hiking Rent

  • A line of highrise rental houses in Nairobi
    A line of highrise rental houses in Nairobi.
  • As more Kenyans move to urban areas, renting a house remains the most common solution for accommodation. However, majority of tenants are in constant fear of landlords arbitrary increasing rent.

    But did you know that you can object your landlord's decision to hike rent?

    According to Rent Restriction Act, landlords need to alert their tenants of an increment in rent through a public notice.

    "A landlord may, by notice in writing to the tenant a copy whereof shall be delivered to the tribunal, increase the rent of any premises," reads part of the Act.

    Affordable Housing project in Kiambu launched by government spokesperson Cyrus Oguna on Wednesday February 23, 2022
    Affordable Housing project in Kiambu launched by government spokesperson Cyrus Oguna on Wednesday, February 23, 2022
    Government Spokesperson

    "Where the rent of any premises is increased, no such increase shall be due or recoverable until, or in respect of any period before, the landlord has served upon the tenant a valid notice in writing of his intention to increase the rent," it reads on.

    The notice should be publicised at least one month prior, notably, the landlord may not disclose the reason for the sudden hike in rent.

    As a tenant, you have the right to object to the increment. However, if you choose this path you must notify your landlord within 30 days of receiving the notice.

    If you disagree with the increments, you can take legal action through the Urban Landlords and Tenants Association of Kenya.

    Additionally, the landlord is not entitled to recover any money that is in excess of the standard rent as outlined in the tenancy agreement or the lease between the tenant and the landlord.

    Landlords should note that if they accept an excess amount other than the standard rent and violates the recommendations of the Act, they are guilty of an offense and liable to a fine not exceeding Ksh4,000 or a six months prison sentence.

    "When a notice, served under the Act, which at the time was valid has been served on any tenant, the increase may be continued without service of any fresh notice any new tenants," reads the Act

    The landlord may also increase rent if they have incurred expenses in the improvement of the house including drainage or sewerage system or improving the street.

    "A landlord may increase rent in the case the premises upon which rates payable by the landlord have increased since the premises were let to the tenant, by the amount of that increase," adds the Rent Restriction Act.

    The Act states that rates include water light and conservancy charges.

    Affordable housing is part of Kenya's 2030 vision plan. President William Ruto announced the construction of affordable homes available for all Kenyans.

    "We will be proposing the establishment of the housing fund that is going to underpin our housing program. It is something that we should have done in 2018," Ruto stated.

    NMS Houses that are under construction in a Nairobi Estate
    NMS Houses that are under construction in a Nairobi Estate