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Where is your rent? Lobby group now want Landlords to Access tenant’s employers to verify information

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 15 – A landlord lobby group now wants house proprietors to be allowed to have contact with a tenant’s employer, a move it said would protect their welfare.

Secretary-General of Landlords and Tenants Association Of Kenya Ben Liayi said this would allow landlords to verify an occupant’s inability to pay rent amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has rendered thousands jobless with others being forced to take pay cuts.

Liayi said this is important more so now when tenants “are increasingly lying about not being able to pay rent”, despite some not being affected by the pandemic.

In his argument, Liayi said landlords if granted their request will be able to authenticate whether tenants have lost their sources of income or not.

Further, he has urged tenants to ensure they have a good relationship with their landlords, to enable them to get rent relief during the trying times.

“Most landlords know when a tenant is telling the truth or when they are lying. It helps to have a good relationship,” he said.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, 30 percent of Kenyans were unable to commit to their rental dues in April, reflecting on the negative impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on Kenyan households.

According to the report, those surveyed said that this was largely contributed by reduced earnings and temporary job losses since Kenya reported it’s first coronavirus case in March.

In April, the government urged landlords to be lenient with their tenants who are now struggling to put a meal on the table due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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“Landlords should be a bit sensitive towards tenants and remember that people are not in the situation where they always are,” said Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said.

“However, we need to know that even landlords have bank loans that they need to pay up. It is a chain of events that will need all of us to be humane towards one another, ” Kagwe added. 

At least 130,000 Kenyans have so far been rendered jobless since coronavirus set foot in Kenya.

Those that are worse affected fall under the transport, aviation, Hospitality, tourism, manufacturing, trade, agriculture, and the informal sectors. 

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