WEAK ENFORCEMENT

City Hall owed Sh224m in unpaid rent

Official says court cases, political interference and failure by tenants to honour debts hurt revenue collection

In Summary

• The tenants, in 17,000 county houses, have defaulted to pay rent for five years

• The county has collected Sh390 million against a target of Sh615 million 

Eastlands revenue officer Bianjo Mwaniki
Eastlands revenue officer Bianjo Mwaniki
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA

Tenants in county houses owe City Hall Sh224 million in rent arrears.

The 17,000 tenants have defaulted for five years. The county has collected Sh390 million against a target of Sh615 million this financial year.

Urban, Housing and Planning director Marion Rono on Wednesday said court cases, political interference and failure by tenants to honour debts has hurt revenue collection.

The Nairobi County Assembly Budget and Appropriations committee was told that tenants in Maringo and Woodley estates were the biggest defaulters. 

Rono, who appeared before the committee led by Robert Mbatia, said Sh390 million has been collected since the financial year started. "From the county rental houses we are targeting Sh615.8 million by end of June this year," he said.

Committee vice-chair Patrick Karani told her to explain why revenue was lost and blamed weak enforcement. He further faulted lack of reconciliation of payment records. This indicated a delayed remittance of Sh89 million. Tenants paid through JamboPay.

"The committee knows the money has been paid through JamboPay system but it does not reflect on your system. Tenants might be evicted yet they have paid," Karani said.

Rono said court cases, political interference and failure by tenants to honour debts are some of the problems the department faces.

She said tenants in Pangani, Woodley and old and new Ngara estates, had taken City Hall to court after it doubled monthly rent to Sh8,000.

“Tenants have refused to pay the new rent. This court case has stalled the payment process,” Rono said.

She also identified political interference as a major setback in revenue collection.

Eastlands revenue officer Bianjo Mwaniki told the team that tenants had not been evicted since the first notice. "We don't evict based on first notice because we had given them time to organise themselves on how to pay us. At times we give them up to six months,"Mwaniki said.