Landlord's rights are strong in Kenya

July 05, 2006

Kenyan rental market practice is PRO-LANDLORD.

Rents: Can landlord and tenant freely agree rents in Kenya?

There is no rent control, except for units with a monthly rent below KES 2,500 (US$35) as of January 1, 1981.


Kenya coastal properties

Prior to occupancy, the tenant normally pays a quarter's rent in advance and an additional one month's rent as security deposit (rental payments are usually made quarterly). The deposit is refunded if the property is returned in its original condition at the end of the contract.

What rights do landlords and tenants have in Kenya, especially as to duration of contract, and eviction?

Long-term rentals usually last for one to two years. If the landlord or the tenant decides to terminate before the contract's expiration, a notice must be served three months prior to vacancy.

The landlord can seize the tenant's possessions if the tenant is unable to pay rent, under the Distress for Rent Act (Cap 293). The tenant must pay within 14 days or else the things will be auctioned to compensate the landlord.

How effective is the Kenyan legal system?

Under the law, only the courts can order an eviction of tenants. But in practice, landlords carry out evictions themselves, due to lack of any other forum for hearing disputes.

Landlord and tenant disputes can be heard by Rent Restriction Tribunals, though in theory, their authority is limited only to rent-controlled units. But most the cost of bringing cases to the tribunal discourages their use. Another problem is the backlog of cases in the tribunals. The lack of a proper forum for hearing disputes works in favor of landlords.

Some landlord and tenant disputes are mediated in community based organizations or the office of the Provincial Administration; but agreements here are not binding.


Duration until completion of service of process 12
Duration of trial 122
Duration of enforcement 121
Total Days to Evict Tenant 255
The Lex Mundi Project


The Registered Land Act requires landlords to keep premises fit for habitation. The Landlord and Tenant (shops, hotels and catering establishments) Act (Cap 301) covers commercial leases, however, some of its provisions are sometimes used for residential dwellings. The Distress for Rent Act (Cap 293) allows landlords to auction the possessions of the tenants for compensation. The Indian Transfer of Property Act requires landlords to disclose defects in the rental unit. The Rent Restriction Act, (Cap. 296 of the Laws of Kenya) provides rent control for units with monthly rent not exceeding KES 2,500 (US$34.57) as of January 1, 1981.


ogada okello harrison | March 17, 2010

I am astudent at one of the campuses and i have atenant who as lived in my for 4 good months without pay me rentand is taking thise advantage of my being in college and thos are the money which cater for my fees,if i call him is thretening me to take me to court,i dont know what to do plize advice

Fred | March 27, 2010

Is the landlord allowed to lock my house if I default on rent for one month and he still has my deposit

Tom | April 23, 2010

All these are valid questions and all of us would like to hear their answers since they affects us directly. SO! Is there any lawyer, kind enough to answer at least one of them? pls.

muchugu muchiri | April 24, 2010

land economists out there pliz answer these be sincere landlords have more rights than the tenants,why do i have to pay a service charge for rates and land rents whereas land is valued on usv basis?i think all rental properties should be controlled but have alternative methods of dispute resolution.

anonymous | May 06, 2010

lawyers earn a living by charging fees on advice offered to you.only a pro bono lawyer can help you out guys.

nicholas | May 18, 2010

having served the tenant with a notice to vacate as agreed on the agreement, and the tenant refuse to vacate can you forcefully remove him/her from the premise

GAD WAIGANJO | May 20, 2010

Should a land lord add rent thrice within ten months and at the same time deny you some services like electricity during the day.
Before denying us electricity the premises had gone for a month without electricity and we paid the same omount

konosi | May 24, 2010

can a landlord auction your property within the first month while you have paid deposit?

Midika | May 26, 2010

How do you handle a situation where the landlord comes and tells you that he wants to demolish part of the house for renovation and you need to move.

Wamuyu | May 31, 2010

What procedure can a landlord use to add a rent review clause to reflect current market rates in a lease agreement granted during the colonial period for 99 years and which did not provide for rent review?

Anon | June 08, 2010

the simple answer to most of your questions is that you need to go through the terms of your tenancy agreement.
As a precaution,make sure that before you rent some premises you are sure of the terms you will be bound by and make sure it's on paper!

Daniel | June 16, 2010

I would like know if the Landlord is responsible for provision of the following?Toilet
a place to dispose rubbish and other domestic refuse?
What happens incase such are not provided?

Paul | July 03, 2010

Is a landlord allowed 2 lock my house with 2month arrears and i have a 1month deposite? When is the landlord allowed 2 lock my door

hemigi | August 06, 2010

I have rented a room where its flat of 3 rooms.agent gets rent from each of the tenants.the agent who had rented me the room 5years ago left but i have receipts under my name.
our current agent assigned one of the tenant all rooms but we continued paying rent to agent directly.this agent changed and started issuing receipts in the name of the assigned but there has never been any agreement informing that the assigned has become the landlord.
now the assigned has brought eviction letter from the area chief giving 5days.i have paid rent up to date.
Now what is the legal position!is the assigned person in a position to initiate eviction without any reason.

hani | August 10, 2010

My father is a landlord,he has rented a premises for like 10 yrs,he issued the tenant with a notice of eviction but the tenant we to rent tribunal and thats
when all the problems started,the tenant has since not been paying my father rent and he faked a rent agreement,now its a whole year!
What justice is there in kenya,the tenant is now enjoying all the rights,and my poor retired father still waits fro the case,why is can this case not be taken to High court,coz this tenant is a crimim=nal faking rent agreement and not paying the rent?
I think there are so many areas in the constitution that still needs ammendments!

sila otsimi | August 16, 2010

is it right... to push your notice to the next month ? and in doing so pay for the initial month that one had given notice & assure the landlord of clearing the arrears on departure. Is it correct for the landlord to lock up the house with no notice.

charles mutunga | August 25, 2010

I have been given a seven day notice simply because i pay my rent late and this due to financial difficulties everyone is experiencing.i have been a tenant for over two years.initially we used to pay our rents to the care taker whom i payed rent ksh.6500/ and deposit ksh. 6500/ and also electricity deposit .ksh2500/ with time the caretaker left.we then were introduced to an agent who is currently managing the premises the same who have given this notice without considering that i have deposit with the owner of the property .advice.

salim mazrui | October 07, 2010

be informed that no landlord is allowed to evict you unless the rent resriction tribunal hears and finally determines the case.
-the law stipulates that if you go for two months consecutively without paying rent then the landlord can issue a notice of eviction that shall not be less than two months or as therein stated in the tenancy agreement,(landlord and tenant Act)
-the landlord cannot lock your house beware of this he can only attach your property for distres of rent(Distress for Rent Act)
thats all for now buddies

Ruth | October 21, 2010

wow! am so overwhelmed by all this i dont know where to begin. I have been a tenant for over 3yrs after the 1st year Our flats were sold to a different person hence change of management. The new management has given me a hell of time in that compound. 1st they increased the rent by 3k from 10k to now 13k without any improvement or enhancement of anything that wud justify the the rent increament. We complained but still paid although some of us dint sign the lease aggreement yet we still paid and we still are. many tenants who couldn't put up with the management left but still come up to date to ask for their deposits since we paid two month deposits and water and elec deposits totaling to 24500k. None of these former tenants have been refunded their deposits and some even gave up following up coz they realised they were spending more just to come beg for their deposits. Some still do come and its very annoying coz they also wont be refunded since that has been the trend.Only four old tenants are left the building is litterally empty and the landlord is now doing repairs and putting tiles in all the vacant houses.Security has also become another problem. I lost stuff and complained but nothing was done the about four days later an old neighbour lost even more in a bizare incident where someone opened her house stole and locked it in broad daylight and nothing no one saw whoever stole. On complaining, nothing was done and she was even asked to leave if she is not happy with the flats and after all all the old tenants shud leave coz they are complaining a lot and showing a bad image about them to the new tenants. The matter has never been solved and that's when i decided i want to move out next month but will stay on my deposit then make the necessary repairs that the landlord should inspect before i leave. but he refuses to this and has been throwing my children and maid out then locking. When he did this the last time, i decided to go to the police who told me to file a report on subjecting annoyance to tenants which i did and the caretacker was arrested and ased to go open the hse. but he declined since he was following orderd from his boss who kept telling the police i am not protected by any law to be opened for the house without paying rent first. The Ocs gave an order that i shud go open my house and let my children back in since my landlord is wrong to have done that even without notice. He talked to the ocs who later came with him to accuse me of malicious damage since the door hole had been welded. He now wants me to pay 12k for that and his case is disolved i wonder where to get justice and how to start. ....

Peter Kamau | December 18, 2010

Under what laws do estate agents operate ? I always feel like such agents reap where they never sowed. Why is it that they are loathed ?

Francis | March 17, 2011

Which is the appropriate notice a landlord is expected to give you before he increase the rent or before you are told to vacate the premises?

alice | May 19, 2011

my landlord is threating to throw me out of his house beacause of questiong about the irregularities of the water bill?I have paid him rent ,deposit and water deposit too,does he have the right to do as he says

felix maingi | September 02, 2011

i have stayed in this plot for 3 years now,last month august i dint pay my house rent, but last friday i sent my wife to pay the rent but the agents refused to take the money and told her to add 500 for the fine, yesterday she went but they refused saying she has to pay for two months and still i have the deposit of 7000 and a deposit for the electricity of 2500,dose the agents have to switch off my electricity?they have switched off my power and my meter is for prepaid,this has gone for a month now.what should i do?

Isaac Birgen | September 08, 2011

I have been paying my rent and bills as normal, now it comes a case where the landlord have decided to increase the rent charges for the current month and He never gave out the notice on the rent increment, I am I required to add the amount increased to satisfy him yet there is no communication as to why to increase ? The is no improved services, the states remains as usual and the amount increased is over a thousand shillings, to me I am very compromised,please need some advise.

SAMMY MBUVI | February 09, 2012

1)What criteria should the landlord follow in hiking rent?
2) Suppose a tenant looses his / her personal belongings in / at the rented premises, what steps should he / she follow? What's the landlords take on this?

DENNIS MUSYOKA | March 03, 2017

If landlord gives somebody a notice to vacate(without stating reasons)is he/she supposed to demand rent for that particular month?

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