If You’re one of These 6 People, You May Soon Be Exempted from Paying The Housing Levy

March 12, 2024

Senate Majority Leader, Aaron Cheruiyot, has made proposed significant amendments to the Affordable Housing Bill 2023, aiming to address concerns from certain sections of the society.

Cheruiyot’s suggestions, detailed in the March 12 order paper, include renaming the bill to the Rural and Urban Affordable Housing Act 2024 and introducing several key amendments, that should make some good debate.

One notable amendment is the introduction of exemptions for specific Kenyans from the Housing Levy.

Cheruiyot, a member of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), outlined conditions under which certain individuals would not be required to contribute to the levy.

These exemptions are designed to address concerns raised by various groups and ensure the levy’s fairness and inclusivity.

If you belong to one of these groups, Senate might soon excuse you from the 1.5% burden.

  •   *  Individuals diagnosed with a terminal illness by a certified medical professional.
  •   *  Residents in rural areas who hold a title deed registered in their name. (Addresses concerns from rural dwellers about the relevance of the affordable housing initiative to their already established homes)
  •   *  People engaged in agricultural farming or business with an annual turnover of less than Ksh288,000. (Aims to relieve low-income earners from the levy burden.)
  •   *  Individuals with a mortgage outside the scope of the act. (Ensures those with existing housing finance arrangements are not doubly burdened.)
  •   *  Kenyans aged 50 and above who are involved in informal business activities. (Acknowledges the financial constraints faced by older citizens in informal employment.)
  •   *  Any person with less than five years until statutory retirement at the enactment of this act. (Provides relief to those nearing retirement.)

The proposed exemptions require the Cabinet Secretary to issue a Gazette notice specifying the exempted individuals, as stated by the Majority Leader. This legal provision aims to formalize the exemptions and ensure transparency in their application.

The need for amendments and exemptions stems from the controversy and legal challenges surrounding the Housing Levy.

Initially introduced in 2023, the levy faced opposition, particularly from rural residents and certain economic groups.

In response to a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality, the Court of Appeal, through a bench comprising judges Lydia Achode, John Mativo, and Mwaniki Gachoka, suspended the levy on January 26.

The suspension remains in place until the court finalizes the case, with the possibility of a refund if the levy is eventually deemed unconstitutional.

The judges emphasized the importance of awaiting the appeal’s determination, highlighting the levy’s introduction without a comprehensive legal framework and its perceived targeting of specific Kenyan groups.

Cheruiyot’s proposals mark a crucial step towards refining an Affordable Housing Bill that has already gone through numerous iterations before it even gets off the ground.

There are however no guarantee that the amendments will go through.

Don't Miss