Understanding what the law says about rent deposit in Kenya to make sure that the landlord does not refuse to refund your security.
A majority of the tenants in Kenya struggle with having their landlords refund their rent deposit. Landlords come up with many excuses when the issue of refunding rent arises. Some will claim that the deposit will cater for making repairs to the house while others blatantly refuse to make the refund. If you have ever been denied your rent deposit when vacating a rental premise, you need to familiarize yourself with the law regarding rent deposit refund.
The Landlord and Tenant Bill of 2007 covers the relationship between landlords and tenants. It states how the amount of rent for a property shall be reached, when an increment is justifiable, and many other issues. However, there is no mention of whether a tenant should get a refund for their rent deposit. However, the landlords require tenants to pay a rent deposit equal to a month or two month’s rent when they move into a property. Many landlords acknowledge that rent deposit is refundable when a tenant wants to vacate the premise while others require the tenants to live in their property for one month without paying rent, in order for the deposit to be non-refundable.
The same way rent amount is agreed between the landlord and tenant, the issue of rent deposit refund should be a matter that both parties agree on before their business relationship begins. To be on the safe side, experts’ advice tenants to get into a written agreement with their landlord on matters related to rent deposit refund. The agreement should state under what circumstances rent deposit is refundable. These agreements are binding and in case of any dispute, you can move to the rent tribunal with a copy of the agreement to claim your rent deposit refund.
While Kenyan laws specifically address issues of rent increment, evictions, and conditions of rented premises, they do not categorically mention rent deposits. However, like any other contracts, rental agreements are legally binding. Therefore, if you want to safeguard your rent deposit, make a written agreement with your landlord before occupying their premises.