Landlords face jail term for unlawful eviction of tenants

Sad evicted Tenant
Posted on August 02, 2021in # Announcements# Landlords and Tenants

In the wake of brutal evictions over non-payment of rent during the pandemic, Parliament is set to debate a bill that seeks to stop landlords from ejecting tenants for defaulting on rent.

Sad evicted Tenant

Img: Sadness of evicted tenants

Article Summary:

  1. Rental Act Kenya

  2. Distress for Rent Act

  3. Seize of goods from a tenant that owes rent

  4. Must know tenants rights in kenya, Nairobi

  5. Rental Tenants: Rights of a Tenant in Nairobi, Kenya

  6. Property Law in Kenya and Real Estate Laws in Nairobi

  7. Provisions of the Landlord and Tenant bill

  8. Procedure for distress for rent in kenya

  9. Notice to vacate house in kenya sample

  10. Tenant eviction notice kenya sample

The Landlord and Tenant Bill 2021:

The bill is sponsored by Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Hon. Amos Kimunya, proposes a jail term of six months or a fine of up to two months of rent for landlords who evict or seize the belongings of defaulting tenants.

“A landlord and any agent or servant of a landlord who evicts a tenant without the authority of a tribunal or wilfully subjects a tenant to any annoyance with the intention of inducing or compelling the tenant to vacate the premises or to pay, directly or indirectly a higher rent for the premises commits an offence,” the draft law says.

Consequenses of the Bill to landlords, housing agents and Tenants:

If the Bills sails through, landlords will not be allowed to change the locks, install deadbolts, take off doors, or do anything to stop defaulting tenants from accessing their homes.

They will also not be allowed to shut off utilities to force tenants to pay up their dues.

“No landlord shall, without legal process, seize a tenant’s property for default in the payment of rent or for the breach of any other obligation of the tenant,” the Bill says.

Landlords Obligations:

Records of all rent payments

The draft law further seeks to compel landlords to keep signed records of all rent payments and to share a copy of the record with the tenant. A fine not exceeding one month’s rent will be imposed on any landlord who violates this obligation.

Demice of a Tenant:

Even where a tenant dies or walks out on the premises while in rent arrears, a landlord will have to apply to a proposed tribunal to dispose of the belongings of the departed tenant. This will only be approved after an inventory of the items is taken by an officer of the tribunal.

Auction of distressed Tenants' property:

Excess proceeds from the sale of the tenant’s belongings can be claimed by the next of kin or an administrator of the deceased estate within six months of the auction.

The Landlord and Tenant Bill 2021 is expected to repeal the Distress for Rent Act (Cap 293), the Rent Restitution Act (Cap 296) and the Landlord and Tenant (Shops Hotels and Catering Establishments) Act – merging them into a single law.

Rent Tribunal:

Five-member tribunal

The Kimunya Bill proposes the creation of a five full-time member tribunal that will be headed by an individual qualified to be appointed High Court judge and a deputy chairman who has served as an advocate of the High Court.

The other members will be experts in valuation of premises.

Powers of the Rent Tribunal:

So powerful will be the tribunal that it will give rulings that are binding for both landlords and tenants. The tribunal can, for example, assess or modify the rent payable for a premise as well as tenancy period.

The tribunal can also determine the service charge payable on a property, the amount each tenant should pay and demand the payment of rent arrears or service charge.

It will also have the powers to compel landlords to renovate their buildings or authorise tenants to pay for the repairs and deduct the same from their monthly rent.

Non-compliant Landlords:

Landlords who fail to comply with the provisions of the law will be liable to a fine of up to Sh100,000 or a one-year jail term or both. Failing to honour summonses of the tribunal will attract a six-month prison term or a Sh10,000 fine, or both.

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