The government has gone after landlords with a raft of new other requirements in which they (landlords) will be liable to serve a jail term.
A report by Business Daily on Monday, March 15, indicated that the landlords were likely to pay a fine of Ksh 200,000 or spend one year in jail if they disregard rulings by the rent tribunal.
This is after the state sought to repeal a restriction that barred the tribunal from hearing cases between landlords and their tenants in which rent did not exceed Ksh2,500.
The state, through a bill titled Landlord and Tenant Bill of 2021, also seeks to have the tribunal allowed to determine the cases in which rent limit will be determined by the Cabinet Secretary.
The previous rule barred many aggrieved tenants from presenting their grievances and have a tribunal make a ruling.
“Tribunal shall have power to – (a) determine, assess or vary the rent payable in respect of any premises and fix the date from which the rent is payable on the application of any person interested,” read the bill currently tabled in Parliament.
This comes in an attempt to cushion tenants who had suffered immense pressure after losing their jobs or having their profits reduced due to Covid-19 pandemic.
If passed, the tribunal will also have the power assess and determine on the basis of the going rent depending on he location, size, age and tenantable quality.
The bill also proposes that landlords and tenants will be able agree on the fair amount of rent based on the market rent and prescribed services.
Tenants will also be protected from the arbitrary increase of rent by landlords with the bill requiring landlords to provide a signed explanation entailing reasons for the increase, which should only happen after 12 months after the last increase for residential and two years for business premises.
Moreover, landlords 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 in an increase in services, undertaken capital expenditure, or inflation of economic trends.