Yesterday, the Landlords and Tenants Association (LATAK) directed all tenants not to pay rent until when H.E Uhuru Kenyatta orders businesses to resume normal operations. All the landlords were asked to stop evictions, harassment and disconnection of electricity and water to tenants. Kenyans were hoping that this directive would be backed up by the government but their joy was shortlived.
The elected leaders recently came up with the Pandemic Response and Management bill, 2020 aimed at cushioning the most vulnerable in the society in the event of a pandemics such as coronavirus that may negatively affect the country. Through this Bill Kenyans were hoping that the issued of paying rent during this COVID-19 pandemic would be included in a manner that will give them relief and save them financially.
Nairobi Senator Sakaja is said to have mentioned that the Senate will address the matter in the Bill, slapped Kenyans with the reality. Sakaja who chairs the Special Committee on COVID-19 yesterday during an interview with Jeff Koinange noted that the Bill will try to cushion tenants during pandemics but that does not mean exempting them from paying rent.
“There is no provision of suspending rent in his bill and section 29 of the pandemic bill talks about how tenants agreement, if tenants, because of pandemic lack financial capacity to honour his rent obligation. Number one, they must notify the landlord and enter into an agreement with that landlord on how they can be able after the pandemic or even during to agree between to discuss and agree on how there are going tom fulfil obligation whether it’s a business premise or residential premise” he explained.
Some landlords have been kind enough to let tenants pay rent when they have money, while others have been cruel enough to lock tenants out without caring whether they have families and young children who will be affected by the mess.