Law to protect tenants from arbitrary rent increase

May 9, 2012
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Housing Minister Soita Shitanda said the Bill, which is yet to be discussed by the Cabinet, will ensure that landlords give tangible reasons for increasing house rent/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 9 – Landlords, especially within urban areas, will soon be forced to get a permit from relevant authorities before they hike house rent, if the Landlord and Tenant Bill is passed into law.

Housing Minister Soita Shitanda said the Bill, which is yet to be discussed by the Cabinet, will ensure that landlords give tangible reasons for increasing house rent.

He said this is aimed at cushioning Kenyans from exploitation by property owners; a situation which the minister said is on the rise.

On the other hand, tenants have to give a notice of three months before vacating any house.

The Bill has also recognised the role of the real estate agents, but has not enacted enough regulations for the agents; something the minister said is being looked into.

“What we have right now is that anyone can become an agent. We want to give guidelines on how they should operate,” Shitanda said.

Speaking while officiating at the launch of a housing project at Komarock in Nairobi, Shitanda announced the ministry’s plan to carry out a comprehensive survey in all 47 counties, to establish the exact deficit of housing in the country.

He said the data will be ready by the end of July this year and is expected to be released in August.

“And this time round we will even go to the rural areas for the survey, to just know village ‘A’ has 600 people and maybe 300 of them live in what you can’t call houses… things similar to slums. That kind of data is what we want to come up with,” Shitanda said.

The current data shows that there is a deficit of about 400,000 units every year, with about 200,000 being in urban areas. The cumulative data shows a deficit of over two million houses.

The housing project at Komarock will be undertaken by Housing Finance, through its subsidiary, Kenya Building Society.

The firm is set to construct 162 maisonettes and an elaborate commercial centre on a 13.5 acre piece of land at a cost of over Sh800 million, with each unit to be sold at Sh6.8 million after completion.

“The implementation of the National Housing Bill will see the establishment of the National Housing Fund to facilitate the development of affordable housing, through access of affordable fund. The bill introduces a raft of measures to increase investment in housing and will help reduce the housing shortage,” said Frank Ireri, Housing Finance Managing Director.

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