PR&MB 2020 – Tenancy Agreements

Following the financial impact of Covid-19, a lot of Kenyans have implored the government to provide for a way forward with regards to the payment of rent. The Bill in an attempt to do this provides that where a pandemic has affected the financial capacity of a tenant to meet their obligations:

  1. the tenant shall give a notice in writing to the landlord or contracting party that they are unable to meet their obligations because of the pandemic;
  2. Upon receipt of a notice under paragraph the contracting parties shall enter into an agreement on how the tenant shall meet their obligation at the end of the pandemic.

The procedure laid out seeks to cushion tenants from facing eviction for failure to pay rent during the pandemic but at the same time binds tenants to fulfil their obligations after the pandemic. The Bill does not however indicate the period for issuing a written notice to the landlord. The Bill is also silent on encouraging landlords and tenants to re-negotiate the rent payable. However, ideally nothing bars a landlord and a tenant from re-negotiating the amount of rent payable.

However it is obvious that the landlords may have gotten the short end of the stick as tenants (including those who may still be able to pay part or full rent) may use this provision to temporarily avoid paying rent. Nonetheless the Bill reiterates that the Cabinet Secretary responsible for matters relating to housing may, with the approval of Parliament, provide measures to cushion landlords and tenants.