First, its noble to mention that lawyers are essential specifically when dealing with any technical drafting court-related matters. If, like majority of landlords own less than 5 building rental properties, it is highly unlikely that you will manage to have a lawyer on your payroll as a full-time staff. However, its important to have one on retainer or on speed dial just in case and every landlord must be able to recognize when such expert advice is needed.
Noting that every landlord target to make profit, it is considered wise to hire or consult a lawyer at any site of trouble that might reduce such targeted profit. Below are top 5 scenarios where a landlord can seek a lawyer’s advice Kenya.
a) Conveyancing & Title Document: There are those moments that a landlord may need to process their title document e.g. from an allotment or share certificate to get a title deed or certificate of ownership.
b) Entering into a long-term Lease: This relates mostly to the commercial buildings where a company intends to lease their office space or lease the whose building in its entirety. When such a situation happens, landlords are encouraged to engage a lawyer due to the nature of engagement to ensure that they enter into a lease that protects them and also have professional help when dealing with other agencies such as county governments and other government agencies such as NEMA – as far as environmental licenses are concerned.
c) Evicting a Tenant: Eviction cases are handled at an expedited pace but despite this, there are several procedures that a landlord must comply with in Kenya before such an order is given. From Notification to filling court documents, the landlord must ensure that the process has been fully complied with. In practice, many landlords carry eviction by themselves and sometimes with success and sometimes the worst happens. Its advisable that a landlord engages the services of a lawyer more so if:
i) The tenant is fighting the eviction and has engaged a lawyer
ii) The nature of the tenancy is the one with a registered lease
iii) The eviction is touching more than one tenant
iv) If the tenant is claiming discrimination or reiteration
d) Sued for Injuries by a tenant: If a tenant or guest sues the landlord and claims that they got hurt or sick because of landlord’s negligence or carelessness. Tenant injury cases are typically high stakes, and personal injury lawyers know their way through these cases much better than you do.
e) Sued for Major Property damage: There are situation when the landlords action can lead to damage of tenant’s property. For example if a landlord had remove the tenant’s house items out of a rented house and just left them outside then the same was rained on. This could lead to property damage that a tenant may seek to get compensated for.
f) Foreclosure: If the landlord had taken a loan from the bank with the property being the security, in case of any default the bank can auction the property to recover the loan balance. In such a situation the landlord is encouraged to get in contact with a lawyer.
g) Audited for failure to file rental income returns: In Kenya, residential rental income tax is now payable by any resident person (either individual or company) from income which is accrued in or derived from Kenya for the use or occupation of residential property, which does not exceed KES 10 million in a year payable at the rate of 10% on gross rent with effect from 1st January, 2016 and applies to rental income received from January, 2016. In such a case, the landlord can engage a lawyer.
h) Buying or Selling your property: Buying or selling a house will probably be the largest and most significant transaction a landlord can make. It also involves complicated drafting and transactions, which is unique and raises special legal issues and problems not present in other transactions. A real estate lawyer is trained to handle these problems and has the most experience to deal with them hence important to engage one.
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