Michael Munene, the now popular landlord from Kinangop, Nyandarua County, has extended the 2-month rent relief he had issued to his tenants on March 21.
Following his new announcement, his tenants at the Parkway Dot Com Apartments won’t pay house rent for the months of March, April and May, 2020.
Munene told K24 Digital that he arrived at the decision (of extending the rent relief) after evaluating the current economic situation of the country.
He said the coronavirus cases are increasing in Kenya by the day, and it “appears that the future is likely to get tougher”.
As a result, the landlord has set aside a unit in his apartment, which he uses as food store. He says any of his tenants can access food from the store “if life becomes more unbearable”. He asked his residents to fill the store with foodstuff. On his part, he provided food items that occupy half the room.
Munene has also set aside another unit, which he says will be used as a sickbay.
“Should any health emergencies arise, the tenants can use it temporarily as they wait for professional medical help,” said Munene.
To ensure that his tenants feel there is no ulterior motive in his decisions, he entered into a legally-binding agreement that allows the occupants to live in the rental houses without paying any accommodation fee for three months, beginning March to May.
On March 21, Munene waived two months’ residential houses charges and commercial property rent for his tenants, saying he understood that the coronavirus crisis could have made it hard for his tenants to raise the monthly accommodation fee on time.
Michael Munene revealed that the commercial properties he has are of two kinds: residential units and commercial units.
He said he charges Ksh3, 000 per unit for 28 residential allocations and Ksh5, 000 per unit for his six commercial stores. That means Munene earns Ksh84, 000 per month from the residential units, and Ksh30, 000 monthly from the commercial units. In total, from monthly house rent, Munene takes home Ksh114, 000 for lending out his property. Assuming that the units are fully occupied, that would mean Munene has surrendered Ksh342, 000 in the three months’ forgone rent income.
The March 21 notice written in Kikuyu language announcing the decision, was plastered at the entrance of the one-storey commercial property.
Munene told Citizen Television on March 21, that he has an agreement with the tenants that they should settle their house rent by the 7th day of every month.
“I however allow the ones who can’t settle the rent on deadline to do so by the 10th day of every new month,” he said.
“Following the coronavirus outbreak, it is evident that the economy has taken a beating. Kenyans are struggling to raise money for survival. My tenants are usually very loyal, and most of them settle their rent on time. I reflected on the current situation, and told myself: ‘Even if none [of my tenants] has ever absconded paying house rent, I understand that the coronavirus outbreak could make it difficult for some to raise the rent on time’. I wouldn’t want a situation where any of my tenants takes a loan to settle house rent,” said Munene.
“Most of my tenants work in flower farms, and I heard that some could lose their jobs soon. I looked at the situation, and decided to waive the two months’ rent.”
Munene said should the coronavirus outbreak in Kenya reach crisis levels, he would consider waiving rent further for his tenants.
“I would assess the situation and see whether I can extend the mercy period,” he said.