A number of landlords in Nairobi have resulted in hiring gangs to recover rent arrears from defaulting tenants, according to multiple sources.
The incidents, however, are more prominent in the informal settlements of Mathare and Kibra where the unit owners go to extreme measures to recover their dues from low-income residents.
This past year has seen an increasing number of defaulters due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A report detailing the socio-economic impact of Covid-19 in the country released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) in May 2020, revealed that 30 percent of Kenyans were not able to pay their rent in the month of April and projected that as much as 61 percent of Kenyans were unable to pay in May.
In such areas, landlords have had to go for months without rent collection which has seen some of them deploy goons in a bid to threaten tenants to pay up or vacate the houses.
A landlord in Mathare with 30 units said that he had not gotten rent dues from several units for five months where a single room goes for Ksh 2,000.
He observed that the defaulting tenants would find ways to avoid him until he caught up with them and evicted them.
The gangs who work to deliver results for the landlords are brutal in their operations.
In an interview with an international TV channel, a gang member disclosed that they are paid up to Ksh1,000 per operation.