City Tenant Wins Rent Deposit Case Against Landlord

July 29, 2021

A Nairobi court has ruled in favor of a tenant in a rent deposit dispute against his landlord.

The tenant(FK) had sued the landlord (JM) and a private company, accusing them of refusing to refund a rent deposit amounting to Ksh11,500.

The complainant told the court that he became JM’s tenant in November 2020, and after five months, he issued notice to terminate the tenancy.

But the landlord argued that FK, upon the termination of the tenancy, did not return the premises in the condition he found it, and therefore the repairs were met by his deposit money.

FK had also paid a water deposit of Sh3,000 at the beginning of the tenancy.

After considering the submissions made before it by both parties, the court noted that claims by the landlord that he incurred expenses to do repairs on the house are not reason enough to withhold the deposit money.

Magistrate Judith Omollo said there was no evidence presented showing the state of the house before occupation, hence, the repairs carried out could not be said to restore the house to its former state.

“In the circumstances, it can be inferred that the respondent may have carried out those repairs to improve the value of its residential premises beyond the condition it was before claimant took occupation,” the magistrate held.

The magistrate noted that on the balance of probability, the tenant, FK, proved his claim against the former landlord that he left the house in the condition he found it, hence he is entitled to a refund of the full deposit as there was no need for repairs.

Magistrate Omollo ordered the landlord to refund Sh11,500 deposit. On the issue of water deposit, the court said there was no evidence tendered to show there were water bills left by the claimant.

Consequently, the court ruled that FK is also entitled to a refund of the Sh3,000 water deposit.

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