A fifth of Kenyan households defaulted on their April rent, KNBS study reveals

By Joel Muinde On Tue, 19 May, 2020 20:02 | 2 mins read
Kileleshwa landlord
A KNBS study has revealed that a fifth of Kenyan households were unable to pay their April rent as Covid-19 bites economy hard. PHOTO | FILE

At least 21.5 percent of Kenyan households defaulted on their rent last month, a study by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) has revealed.

The study published on Tuesday, May 19, also revealed that a third of Kenyan households (30.5 percent) did not pay their April rent on time as agreed on contracts with their landlords.

“Reduced income/earnings (52.9 percent) was the main reason for inability by households to pay rent,” found the KNBS study titled Survey on Social Economic Impact of Covid-19 on Households Report.

While many Kenyans hoped to receive rent waivers or reduction from their landlords, the KNBS study revealed that only 8.7 percent of households received the relief.

This is despite calls by President Uhuru Kenyatta for landlords to be humane and extend rent waivers to their tenants.

Besides defaulting on their April rents, Kenyans also had to deal with increased transportation costs, with prices shooting up by 51.7 percent.

“Migori County recorded the highest increase while Turkana County recorded the least at 77.2 and 24.4 percent respectively,” the study said.

Incomes were also hard hit as the number of worked hours reduced with all industries reporting fewer hours worked per week.

The study revealed that the education, accommodation and food sectors were the most affected as workers registered a variance of 40 and 30 hours respectively between their usual and actual hours worked.

Uncertainty still dominates about when workers will return to work, with 92 percent of those who participated in the KNBS study saying that they are not sure when they will resume work.

But on Tuesday, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, revealed that the government is still monitoring the situation to assess the most suitable time to reopen the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

CS Kagwe said that the national government is studying trends of economies that have recently reopened but remains cautious about returning to normalcy too soon.

So far, Kenya has confirmed 963 cases, with 51 having been reported on Tuesday.

Kenya’s two cities, Nairobi and Mombasa have the highest numbers of Covid-19 infections and fatalities with 21 and 27 respectively.

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