President Kenyatta has appealed to Kenyan landlords to waiver or reduce rent charges for their tenants due to the financial crisis occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
Uhuru, who addressed the nation from State House on Monday, urged property owners to emulate their colleagues who voluntarily reduced or forewent rental income in the wave of Covid-19 outbreak to ease the burden on their tenants.
“I urge others to emulate these acts of personal and financial sacrifice. This is a time for compassion and understanding,” said President Kenyatta.
“I note with appreciation that some property owners have reduced monthly rent to help provide a roof over the heads of our vulnerable brothers and sisters,” he added.
One such property owner is Michael Munene, who earned praise from many Kenyans last month after he offered his tenants a two-month rent waiver.
Munene, who owns residential and commercial houses in Kinangop, Nyandarua County, said he decided to forego the rent due to the relationship he has with his tenants. Having supported him for many years, Munene said it was his turn to stand with them during this difficult period.
Munene earns Sh84,000 per month from residential units, and Sh30,000 monthly from the commercial units, bringing the total to Sh114,000. This means he will forego Sh228,000 in rental income for the two months- March and April.
Last week, Justus Eleman, a landlord in Lodwar town in Turkana County, asked his tenants not to pay April’s rent and instead use the money to buy food for their families.
Eleman, in an interview with a local daily, said he sympathized with his tenants as most of them have been forced to remain home without work in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak.
“Everybody is worried about this pandemic that is ravaging countries, including the superpowers. Following the government directives, my tenants are staying at home for their safety, which makes it hard for them to earn,” he said.
Eleman said his property has 20 houses and each earns him Sh5,000 per month, meaning he has foregone Sh100,000 in rental income.
“Money is not everything. All we want is safety for people and put a smile on their faces during difficult times. I will lose close to Sh100,000 but at least I would have helped my tenants to be comfortable when they stay at home, ” he added.
The Landlords and Tenants Association of Kenya (LATAK) is also pushing property owners across the country to waive rent for tenants during the pandemic.