Tenant Eviction: When Can a Landlord Evict You?

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No matter how good a relationship you build with your landlord, sometimes it doesn’t work out and you find yourself in a situation where your landlord wants to kick you out. But you might be wondering if his reason is legit and valid. Have you had a situation where you go home and find a padlock on the door? This is wrong and illegal. Did you know that according to the land act, all evictions must only be done by a court of law and not by agents, caretakers or landlords?

How then are you supposed to know if an eviction is warranted? Once you know your rights as a tenant, it is not easy for a tenant to take advantage of you. Below are common reasons that can get you evicted by your landlord if he files to get an eviction notice from the court.

1. Paying Rent Late

tenant evictions

Most landlords require you to pay rent by the 5th of every month, failure to which they close your door with a padlock which prevents you from gaining access. Do you know that when a landlord does this, they are breaking the law?

Usually, you will agree to pay your landlord rent for a specific period before you move to a new house. In some cases, you will sign a lease agreement which you must abide by and follow what it stipulates. If you don’t pay rent, then you are violating the terms of the agreement which will eventually get you evicted.

The law states that, when a tenant pays the rent late, the landlord should serve you with a 30-day notice to give you time to raise the rent money. If not, they are allowed to evict you from the premise.

2. Disturbing the Neighbours

Before moving to a new neighbourhood, it is difficult to know who your neighbours are and what behaviours they have. Until you move in, that’s when you get a feel of the new place. If you are one of those neighbours that disturb the peace by playing loud music, having anti-social behaviour or even leaving piles of rubbish in the wrong place the landlord can evict you from the premise.

Some people find it difficult to approach the neighbours who are causing havoc. They will find it easier to make the complaint to the landlord who will try and talk to you to change your behaviour. If the landlord does approach you, it is in your best interest to try and make the necessary changes to avoid interfering with the peace and quiet of other tenants. But if you refuse to change and more tenants are complaining about you, the landlord can serve you an eviction notice.

3. Damage to the Property

common reasons for eviction

A landlord can evict you from the house if you damage his property. Damage goes further than the usual wear and tear like paint peeling off or kitchen stains on the wall. Damage that would warrant an eviction is when a tenant intentionally ruins the property like creating a hole in the wall.

Keep in mind that such damages can affect the chances of you getting your rent deposit back when the time to move comes. If you want to repair the damage yourself, you can speak to the landlord and agree on who will do the repairs or if you can send the money to the landlord to do the fixes himself.

4. Not Moving After Lease Ends

If you sign a lease agreement to stay in a house within a specified period of time and avoid moving after it comes to an end, a landlord can file for eviction. Most leases renew on a month-on-month basis. A landlord then can serve you a notice stating that you have x amount of days to vacate the property before they can serve you with a notice.

Can I Sue My Landlord?

There are many other reasons that can warrant an eviction from the landlord. But what if you feel that he has evicted you illegally and want to sue him? Yes. You are can sue the landlord, but it is going to be an expensive affair for you. Waiting for the hearings in land courts take forever and they are expensive. There are long queues in court which frustrate the entire process.

Knowing your rights as a tenant can help you go a long way in knowing what warrants as a legal eviction and if it is done illegally, what steps you can take. Landlords harass tenants who don’t know what the law states about evictions. To avoid such scenarios, make sure you ask for a lease agreement before you move into the new house and read it well before signing. Then, if you feel like the landlord is evicting you illegally, send him a copy of your lease with sections of the law to make him know that you are aware of your rights as a tenant.

Maureen Mbithe
Content Writer at BuyRentKenya