12 things to look for in a tenancy, rental or a lease agreement in Kenya

Without a doubt, the landlord-tenant relationship is a business relation whose one of the key important principle of maintaining the healthy nature of this relationship is a rental or lease. A vague rental or lease agreement is an open-door to legal trouble. New landlords make the common mistake of downloading a lease or rental agreement template from the internet. These leases are almost guaranteed to not be legal according to the law of contract noting our jurisdiction. The landlord is encouraged to engage a lawyer to tailor-make one for them.

1. Length of the tenancy: For a lease the most common term is one year. Most leases are two years, however, and a few are six months. For a landlord, you are likely to want your tenant to live for at least one year to save you the hassle of seeking a new tenant at once. Whatever your choice, the lease should be laid out clearly. In this way, you are safe if a tenant wishes to leave without arrangements.

2. Paying rent: One of the most important items to include on the lease is the amount of rent you are paying. It's so obvious that you might assume it doesn't need to be mentioned, but it's best to mention the rent in a succinct and transparent way on the document's first page. A strong lease should also show when the rent is due-usually on the first day of the month, or on the day the tenants moved in every month.

3. Rent payment details: That includes the appropriate methods of payment. Most landlords accept personal and bankers checks as well as other common payment methods such as direct transfers and mobile money. If the rent is not paid on time, the lease must spell out any fines that may be attracted as well as specifying the sum of the fee, and whether a grace period exists.

4. Security deposit: To ask for a security deposit before allowing tenants to move in is a safe and standard practice. Usually this deposit is equivalent to one, two or three month's rent. The security deposit is a common source of tension between tenants and landlords. The landlord and the tenant must specify with clarity on the lease whether the lease is refundable, whether the tenant can use it a last month's rent before moving out or under what circumstance can the landlord be allowed to deduct.

5. Repairs and maintenance: As a landlord it is your duty to maintain and perform maintenance on your property. To prevent mis-communication and confusion, it is best to show the tenant's and landlord's obligations on the lease. A tenant should keep the property clean, and any damage done due to abuse or negligence will be his or her financial responsibility to bear.

6. Termination: A lease will include termination conditions. Termination happens naturally at lease end. This segment also sets out eviction terms. You are legally allowed to evict if your tenants breaches any of the terms of your agreement, including causing significant damage to property, refusing to pay rent and engaging in unlawful conduct.

7. Other: Other terms that are relevant to include in a rental or lease agreement includes:

a) Leaving the tenancy early or breaking the lease: What happens if you leave the tenancy early?

b) Contact: Who do you contact if I have a problem – the landlord or letting agent? c) Estate Agent registration Is your agent registered?

d) Shared tenancy If you’re sharing with others, do you have a group tenancy agreement or individual tenancy agreements? What happens if one person leaves who pays their rent? #landlord #tenant #rentalagreement #lease #payingrent #breakingalease #repairsandmaintenance #estateagent #terminatingalease #landlordsnegligence #property #landlordtenantrelationship #legal #tenancy

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