Basic rights of a Kenyan tenant
Many tenants in Kenya are not aware of tenants rights hence they continue to be taken advantage of and harassed by their landlords. The tenants choose to stay and suffer due to lack of enough and affordable housing, especially in Nairobi. Tenancy is no longer a choice BUT this should not be the case. Tenants rights in Kenya are made to help tenants tackle any problem with confidence and make their voices to be heard. These rights are active from the time you start looking for a house, when you identify your ideal house, when paying the deposit till when you decide to move out. A real estate agent confessed that Kenyans will continue to suffer in the hands of landlords as long as they don’t know their rights and they stay desperate. Below are the basic rights you need to know as a tenant which have been classified into 3 stages:
- When searching for a house
- When moving in
- When moving out
When searching for a house
During this stage, you must know that you have the right to live at any place of your interest no matter your age, sex, race, occupation, religion, mental state or any kind of group people are identified with. Even though some properties have their own gender-specific, knowing your rights help you argue your point.
When moving in
- Tenants rights when getting into a new house
When getting into a new house, you have the right to raise an issue with the property. Make sure that you read carefully the tenancy agreement document before signing it or even ask for help from a professional who can explain it in details
2. Right to habitable house
It is your right as a tenant to live in a place that you feel is safe and comfortable. The landlord should maintain the property leaving it in a good condition for people to live in. it is the duty of the landlord to repair and fix all the issues before moving in or as soon as you report the issue
3. Right to maintenance
Most tenants in Kenya don’t know that they have a right to ask their tenants to fix issues in the property. Any repairs in the house should be done by the landlords to avoid making changes in the house leading to the reduction of the deposit you paid when moving in the house.
4. Tenants rights to privacy
Once you pay for your house, that property no longer belongs to the landlord. This means that he or she has no right to enter your house without your permission. Emergencies are the only exception in which you are in need of help.
5. Tenants right to safety
As mentioned earlier, the landlord owes you the right to a safe environment. This is the most important right that you have as a tenant. This includes making sure all windows, doors, gates are in good condition such that only the authorized can get in. You can also recommend a gateman who will be watching and making sure you are safe
When moving out
6. Right of the tenant to get the deposit back
Most tenants when moving out don’t get their deposit back and are forced to move out without the deposit or ‘’sit on it’’. You have the right to get your deposit back and if not the whole amount, inquire how the missing amount was spent. However, this depends on the agreement document signed while moving in
7. Right to know the cause of your eviction
If a tenant tells you to move out, you have the right to know the reason behind your eviction. This is especially if the lease is not over. If there is an issue, you can try to solve the issue until the end of your lease.
8. Tenant right to end lease agreement
Depending on the lease agreement, you have the right to issue a notice and move out. If you are no longer comfortable with the place you are residing and the landlord is not listening to your complaints, you can move out without any worries.
Knowing your rights as a tenant is a step forward to living a stress-free life in your house. Carefully read every document issued to you by your landlord before signing it to avoid regrets. Stand firm for your rights as a tenant.