Kenya: Landlord On the Run After Stabbing Tenant to Death Over Sh2,500 Rent Arrears

13 February 2020

Police have launched a manhunt of a landlord in Kawangware who allegedly killed his tenant on Wednesday after he failed to clear rent arrears of Sh2,500.

Ng'ang'a Gitau is reported to have stabbed and killed Warren Jirongo, 26, in an incident that sparked protests in the area.

WENT INTO HIDING

Angry residents torched the semi-permanent houses belonging to Gitau after the incident last month.

Soon after committing the heinous act the suspect went into hiding.

"The suspect has since gone underground but we are doing everything possible to bring him to justice," said Dagoreti OCPD George Sedah.

According area residents, the deceased, an orphan, was a garbage collector in the slums.

The law is clear on landlords' rights in cases of defaulted payment by tenants.

RENT DEFAULTERS

According to the Rent Restriction Act Cap 296 Laws of Kenya and The Landlord and Tenant (shops, hotel and catering establishment Act) Cap 301, landlords should serve a 30-day notice seeking remedy when a tenants defaults on payment.

If the tenant does not pay the rent within that period then the landlord can legally evict the tenant.

The common practice by some landlords to padlock the doors of defaulters is a contravention of the law. A landlord has no rights under their lease or under the law for rent on the illegally padlocked property.

On the other hand, under the Distress for Rent Act (Cap 293), a landlord can seize the tenant's property if they don't have the capability of paying rent.

In case a tenant whose property has been seized fails to pay within 14 days, the landlord has the right to auction the seized property.

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