Rent, food biggest headaches for Kenyans — survey

Lobby urges government to prevail upon landlords to go easy on defaulting tenants

In Summary

• 38.8 per cent tenant evictions witnessed during two-week period

• 95 per cent of respondents confess that life has become harder for them

A man carts ugali away during the demolition of illegal structures in Kilimani on August 2, 2018.
A man carts ugali away during the demolition of illegal structures in Kilimani on August 2, 2018.

Many Kenyans are struggling to pay rent and buy food due to the economic damage caused by Covid-19 pandemic, a survey shows.

The two-week survey by the Kenya Tuitakayo Movement and the Institute for Social Accountability found that several people had been evicted for defaulting on rent. 

“73.07 per cent of the cases involved landlords locking tenants out while 24.59 per cent have witnessed the taking of household items,” KTM Co-convener Francis Kuria, said in a statement.


A majority of 920 households surveyed said that their lives have worsened due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“Additionally, 95.43 per cent of the respondents who were interviewed, said that their livelihoods/jobs/businesses were affected by Covid-19. Prices of essential commodities and services have also increased,” the survey reports.

Conducted between April 27 and May 8, the survey covered 13 counties namely: Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Migori, Busia, Nakuru, Kajiado, Uasin Gishu, Kakamega, Kilifi, Homa Bay, Nyeri and Makueni.

Data was collected through smartphone applications to maintain physical distancing as part of Covid-19 preventive measures.  

The survey also reports that respondents from counties near Nairobi are the hardest hit by water scarcity.

“67.49 per cent of the respondents say that the availability of water has worsened since the start of the pandemic while only 32.51 per cent say it has improved. A long recurring problem in the Eastern sides of the Kenyan capital where interviewers cited water scarcity over a long time,” Kuria said.

Both KTM and TISA have called upon the government to advise landlords to reduce their rents in the meantime.


They have also urged a stringent control against alcohol sale and consumption because it is responsible for rising cases of domestic violence during this period.

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