According to section 2 of the Landlords and Tenants (Shops, Hotels and Catering Establishments) Act, a tenant in relation to a tenancy means the person for the time being entitled to the tenancy whether or not he is in occupation of the holding, and includes a sub-tenant or a co-tenant. In other words, a tenant is a person who has signed a lease or a rental agreement (or consented to those terms orally) with a landlord or agent to rent property for a specified duration of time agreeing to be bound by certain terms and conditions.
According to this definition, a tenant can also be a legal person such as a registered company, partnership or any other entity legally recognized under the Kenyan laws. A person can gain the status of a tenant even if he or she has not signed a lease or rental agreement, if the landlord accepts the person’s presence or rent on the rental property. In summary, entering into a lease or a rental agreement should be guided by the principles and provisions of a contract hence the justification of the various types of tenants such as a co-tenant, roommate, assignee, and a subtenant.