Landlords will only waive rents for Tenants who provide documents proving that they cannot earn income during the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the Urban Tenants Association of Kenya, some tenants, especially those living in residential areas have been hiding behind the Covid-19 crisis and are deliberately refusing to pay their rents and yet they can afford lavish lives.
Some landlords have been complaining that some tenants can afford to live lavish lives, fuel and drive their high-end cars but when it comes to paying rents, they claim to lack sources of income.
The Urban Tenants Association of Kenya Secretary General Ephraim Murigo argues that not all tenants are vulnerable but they are just taking advantage of the current crisis to skive their rent payments.
“Is it fair that a tenant whose rent is 15,000 shillings to say he is unable to pay yet he drives a big car every day? It is good to check if what we are doing to our landlords is fair,” Mr. Murigo said during a virtual interview with KTN News.
Mr. Murigo says that tenants will have to prove why they cannot pay rents and this will be done through legitimate documents from their places of work.
“Where does this tenant work? Do we have information that he has been affected by Covid-19? We need to have a team to investigate so that we don’t classify all tenants as vulnerable, “he argues.
The Lobby group also urged landlords to be considerate before asking for rents or kicking out a tenant. The behavior of the tenant in terms of paying rents before the Covid-19 pandemic should be a factor to look out for.
“Landlords should consider the experiences of various tenants and see if, before the coronavirus, they were paying properly without delays.”
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, at least 1.7 million Kenyans including tenants have lost their jobs and it has affected how they meet their daily needs while as well as settle their bills.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) said 30 percent of Kenyans were not able to pay their rents in April and the number is likely to increase if the situation gets worse in the coming months.
“More than 40 percent of the Kenyan tenants are unable to pay rent today and this leaves the landlord wondering what to do. We need to build a systematic way of dealing with Covid-19 … we believe with time, things will run properly.”