Let landlords respect agreements with tenants
Nairobi residents must once again brace for a rise in rent following the increase in land rates charged on property owners.
The Finance Act enacted by the Nairobi County Government last year raised the rates charged on land where properties sit by between 17 per cent to 34 per cent.
As a result, the landlords are threatening to pass over the extra cost to tenants, meaning an increase in rents starting April when the deadline for them to pay the new rates lapses.
According to the association which brings together landlords in Nairobi, the first casualties of the new rent regime will be tenants in Kileleshwa, Lang’ata, Spring Valley, Westlands, Mountain View, Thome, Ngong Road, Donholm, Embakasi, Buruburu, Pangani, Kasarani, Umoja 1 and 2 and the City Centre.
These are the areas where the value of land has rose sharply over the past five years, resulting in a rise in land rates, the association argues.
Accordingly, rent in these areas will go up by 20 per cent, meaning that residents of high end neighbourhoods such as Lavington, Muthaiga and Karen will have to pay as much as 50,000 more.
Those living in middle class neighbourhoods such as South B and C, Buruburu, Lang’ata, Donholm, Embakasi, Pangani and Jamhuri will have to part with between Sh5,000 to Sh20,000 more in monthly rent.
The County Government has warned the landlords against increasing rent to cushion themselves against the rise in land rates.
The minister in charge of Finance, Gregory Mwakanongo argues that it will be illegal for landlords to raise the monthly rent when the rates are paid once annually.
As solid as Mr Mwakanongo’s argument is, it is highly unlikely that the landlords will listen to the County Government when it comes to determining the rent payable to their properties.
If anything, the increase in rents may also trigger an increase in the cost of buying houses in Nairobi, property experts are warning.
As matters stand, the ordinary Nairobi tenant is once again at the mercy of the landlords. The least we can demand from the landlords is that they respect the lease agreements entered between both parties.
Unfortunately, statistics from property experts indicate that only 20 per cent of all tenants in Nairobi have lease agreements with their landlords, seriously undermining their bargaining powers.