A research conducted by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) has highlighted the struggle most Kenyans (over 70 percent) had in paying their May rent.
The impact has revealed that 31.6 percent of the respondents paid rent on time compared to 41.7 percent in April.
Around 37 percent of those who defaulted were unable to pay rent while 23 percent paid partially and further 8.5 percent were optimistic of attaining the landlord’s requirements, highlighting the effects of restrictions towards controlling the world-wide Covid-19 pandemic on people’s incomes.
Of those interviewed in May, 30.5 percent were not able to pay rent whereas 19.7 percent paid a part of it, an indicator that May was a tough month economically. Of the respondents who were incapable of paying rent, 61 percent blamed it on reduced income whereas 25.7 percent attributed the challenge to temporary layoffs and shutting of their business premises.
“The majority of the households that were unable to pay rent cited reduced income or earnings as the main reason,’’ noted Treasury Secretary Ukur Yantai speaking on Thursday.
On March 12 after the reporting the first Covid-19 case, the government shut down bars and schools in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.
Closure of restaurants and bars alongside social distancing have affected consumers’ spending power, leading to layoffs and unpaid leave for employees.
The rent defaulting is happening at a time when office and home tenancy costs reduced in the initial three months of the year with effects of the pandemic likely to further upset the property market as a result of low uptake.
Homesteads that were lucky to get waivers or relief on the rent dropped to 6.7 percent in the period from 8.7 percent in April as landlords avoided state calls to safeguard Kenyans against the coronavirus hardships.
In April, President Uhuru Kenyatta pleaded with landlords to lower the rent to cushion Kenyans grappling with job losses, slashed salaries and unpaid leave.