Blow for Tenants As Landlords Get Sweeping Eviction Powers
Landlords will now be allowed to evict tenants who default a one-month rent if proposed law is adopted. In a report to the National Assembly by the Public Works and Housing Committee, landlords will be required to give tenants a one-month eviction notice, down from the previous three months.
In proposing the reduction in notice period, the report stated that it was a middle ground agreed upon by the landlords and the tenants during the public participation forums. If approved by the National Assembly, landlords will be at liberty to evict tenants who default on rent payment for just a month.
The original bill by Majority Leader, Mr Amos Kimunya, had proposed default of three consecutive months.
However, landlords will not be allowed to seize or auction a tenant’s property when they default on rent without following the legal process. The proposed law protects tenants from being subjecting to any form of annoyance by landlords with the intention of inducing or compelling them to vacate.
Landlords will also be entitled to terminate tenancy for any reason without reference to the rent tribunal upon the landlord giving notice of not less than 12 months for residential and 24 for business premises.
Tenants will be protected from measures by landlords to directly or indirectly pay higher rent for the premises.
In relief to tenants, landlords will be mandated to present them with receipts of repairs done before deducting any amount from the deposit. Landlords or agents found guilty of committing the offence are liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two months’ rent or a prison term not exceeding six months.
In the proposed bill, tenants who do not oppose the increase of rent after receiving notice will be deemed to have accepted the increase.
Members of Parliament have also proposed that in the event of the sudden death of a tenant and there is no other person in the house, the tenancy will be deemed terminated after 30 days. Landlords will be mandated to preserve the property of a tenant who has died should a relative of the deceased fail to legally prove relationship to the tenant.