• Uhuru said these are personal properties and the state cannot force an individual to reduce rent or waive it altogether.
• A new Senate Bill proposes an exemption of Kenyans hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic from paying rent as well as a waiver of utility bills.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has said the government cannot compel landlords to waive rent on tenants during the Covid-19 period.
Uhuru said these are personal properties and the state cannot force an individual to reduce rent or waive it altogether.
Speaking during a live radio address from State House Nairobi on Wednesday morning, the President said he can only appeal to landlords to be humane during the pandemic.
"These are tough times or all Kenyans. There many landlords who have refused to chase away tenants during this crisis. As humans, let us show mercy and be understanding during this time," he said.
However, the President said no Kenyan will have their electricity and water supply cut off during this period.
A new Senate Bill proposes that landlords and tenants negotiate an exemption from paying rent as well as a waiver of utility bills.
According to the Pandemic Response and Management Bill, 2020, tenants who may not be able to meet their contractual obligations, shall give notice — in writing — to their landlords or contracting party stating that they are not able to pay rent because of the pandemic.
“Upon receipt of the notice, the contracting parties shall enter into an agreement on how the tenant shall meet their obligation at the end of the pandemic,” the Bill reads in part.
The Bill further states that where citizens are not able to service their loans and mortgages, the individual borrower shall notify and enter into an agreement with the lending institution on how to make the payments after the pandemic.
Upon receipt of a notice, the contracting parties shall enter into an agreement on how the tenant shall meet their obligation at the end of the pandemic.
Penalties shall not be imposed, and the Credit Reference Bureau shall not list the defaulter during the period.
Uhuru further said the government will continue distribution of the weekly stipends meant to cushion vulnerable Kenyans from the effects of the pandemic.
He appealed to those who feel aggrieved by the distribution of the stipend to report the matter to the media and the government will intervene.
The President also urged donors to advise the government on how the donations will be spent.
Uhuru expressed confidence that the country's economy will bounce back after the pandemic.
"Even before the coronavirus, there is no day Kenya has failed to pay its debt or salaries of government workers. We will return to our earlier economic position," he said.
Last week, the Head of State announced the release of Sh5 billion by the national government to the county governments to supplement the savings they have already generated towards cushioning the most vulnerable communities.
Uhuru said another Sh8.5 billion has been released for the elderly beneficiaries of the cash transfer program as well as five million in areas for persons with severe disabilities.