UN staff say city landlords are extorting them in posh estates
United Nations employees in Nairobi are seeking diplomatic intervention to have their house rent deposits refunded whenever they vacate their houses, accusing Kenyan landlords of extorting them.
In a letter addressed to Ambassador Rose Makena Muchiri, the Permanent Representative to the Kenya Mission for United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON), the staff claim that their landlords have been raising unjustified expense claims to hold their house rent deposits whenever their tour of duty in the country comes to an end.
Most UN staff live in upmarket neighbourhoods such as Runda, Spring Valley, Gigiri and Kilimani where they pay between Sh150,000 to Sh400,000 in house rent per month.
The landlords ordinarily require that they pay the equivalent of two months’ rent as deposit at the beginning of their lease periods.
The money is meant to be refundable at the end of their tenancy. However, the UN tenants claim that landlords are in most cases hesitant to refund the deposits at the end of their stay in Kenya.
“It is now widely-acknowledged that one of the key negative reasons expats and UN staff are apprehensive of serving in Kenya is this threat. I believe this is causing serious reputational damage that could be unwarranted if addressed properly and transparently,” says UN Nairobi Staff Union president Martin Njugihu in the letter.