The 100 per cent rent increase for the more than 3,000 Uasin Gishu county government housing units in Eldoret town will take effect next month. Tenants have gone to court to stop the rent hike but the county government has issued notices to all of them to pay up the new rents next month or risk being evicted from the houses.
The notices have been circulated to all the estates owned by the county government. The new rents were approved following the passage of the Finance Bill by the county assembly two months ago. The tenants said the new rents are unjustifiable.
"We will not accept the new rents because the matter is pending in court and we were not consulted by the county government," said Ben Kimeli, a leader of the tenants. In the new rents, tenants who occupy houses in Kodhek estate will now pay Sh12,000 up from Sh 6,700. Those in Pioneer estate will pay Sh5,000 up from Sh2,500 paid previously.
The increase has taken a similar pattern in other estates owned by the county government including Kidiwa, Elsee, Kamukunji, West Indies and Elgon View. The houses were owned by the now defunct Eldoret Municipal Council but have now been taken over by the county government.
"The increament is unjustifiable and a scheme to have us kicked out of the houses so that they can rent them out to their friends," said one of the tenants. He said most of the houses were put up by the National Housing Corporation with the intention of helping the low income earners but the increased rents will now force them out of the houses.
Some of the houses are dilapidated because they have not been repaired for many years. Tenants faulted the county government for failing to repair the houses before hiking the rent.