You have at least once, lived in a rental house or you are currently living in one or maybe you happen to be the owner of the rental houses. You have also probably paid a deposit (one month rent plus electricity) as a security against any damages that you would make during the period you will be staying in this rental house.
But how many people really get their deposit back?.
There is a great evil that is happening in silence among Kenyan tenants especially Nairobians and it has also happened to me.
I rented a FORTCOM CONSULT LTD Managed two-bed roomed house on October 1st 2013 that was last year.
It was my first time to rent a house managed by an agency(FortcomConsult) and as usual i had to pay a one month deposit of Ksh11,700 and an Electricity deposit of Ksh2500 which all totaled to ksh13500 so it meant for me to get the house i needed a total of ksh25200 which is a lot of money for me! but of cos they told me that the money was refundable after 30days if i wished to vacate their house, provided that i did not make any damages during my stay.
So i had no problem since the money(13500) would be refunded to me provided that i made no damages to the house. I stayed in the house for only 6Months before i decided to move out,so i gave them a call and informed them that i will be moving out in a month’s time.
They told me to write a letter addressed to their manager which i did the same day. In the vacate notice letter i requested them to send a representative from their end to come and inspect the house of any damages but it never happened, nobody came to inspect the house not even a call.
I vacated the house on 30th April 2014 and for those 7 Months i had stayed there there was no major damages whatsoever so i knew after 30 days i will get back my deposit. After almost 20 days after i vacated the house i received a phone call from Foltcom Consult telling me to go collect my deposit between 3rd June 2014 to 10th June 2014… mind you i was so broke!
On the 3rd of June 2014 i went to their office very early in the morning i think i was among the first guys to walk in that day, I sat at their reception waiting for another client to be served. After some few minutes the other client was requested to sit down as the receptionist tried to solve their case. I walked to the customer care/receptionist desk and as it is custom for Africans i said hallo to her and right off the but told her why i was there……..“Habari yako? Nimekujia deposit yangu”….. She asked for my names and after scrolling her computer she found my name. she also took out a file from under her desk and perused the pages until she found my name, she then told me that my deposit was negative!!!??!………..“Deposit yako ni negative”….. I was tongue tied for a few seconds as i tried to make sense of what she was saying!! i felt exacerbated and confused as i thought to my self there must have been a mistake somewhere! i tried to calm myself down and requested her to give me a break down of how my deposit ended up on the negative side of the number line….‘Ndio hio breakdown.., she told me as she handed me the file.
I went through the file slowly hoping i would get to figure out where this mistake was from….. you know what they say human is to error, even our president once did a computer typing error of Sh10.7 Billion in the revised Supplementary Budget approved by Parliament back when he was the finance minister, so this must have been one of those error moments. To my surprise there was this big list of things that i had “Damaged” during my stay and the total amount of money they used to repair them…….. for a moment i thought i was reading the wrong list, But my name was right there on top of the list including the house number.
I asked the receptionist how in the world did all this happen?……but all she could do is send me to another room to God know who!, at this point i was so nettled, it showed all over my face and tone. Before i even got time to go to the room she sent me to , a certain lady came to the reception followed by the clients i found when i came in, and to my surprise their complain was similar to mine, and that is when i started to make sense of what was going on! IT WAS A CON JOB! i told the lady to please explain to us (we joined forces) how we are paying for things we did not even damage?!?……. she told us with an attitude that she was not in a position to do so, since she was not the one who did the repairs… wtf!…. who then is supposed to do this? I asked her how comes they never sent a representative to come and inspect the house……….“Ungepiga simu utwambie unahama”……. Are you serious? i sent a letter ONE MONTH BEFORE I SHIFTED! What do you mean i should have called to say i am shifting?….You have a rule in you agreement letter that if we wish to vacate we are supposed to do so on the last day of the month! is that rocket science?………….“Ungetupigia simu sababu sometimes kazi ni mingi sisi husahau”…. THEN EMPLOY MORE PEOPLE TO DO SO!!….. when the heat became too much for her she just left us there standing tujisort….. Then a guy who was standing behind me who i learnt later was one of the guys who does the repairing tried to make me understand that those repairs were done and that was the break down, he told me repainting of the house is a must wether I occupied the house yesterday and shifted today ………..“Lazima nyumba ipakwe rangi”……. What about all the other things am seeing in the list door knob, locks, floor paint, etc?? ……. why didn’t you send anyone to inspect this? if we were in a court of law how can you prove i had damaged all this and you never sent a representative?………“Tutarekebisha hio” is all he could say”
This reminded me of Makena Onjerika article “How to bargain with a Kenyan thief” The success of this Anti-Mpesa theft campaign led to a larger movement of change in Kenya The Shenzi Type Movement. And as i walked home from Foltcom Consult offices very discourage , disgusted and with a “i can do nothing about it” attitude i remembered Makena’s Campaign, I know many have gone through the same footing with this Management Agencies, and Just because we cannot do anything about it or think we can do nothing, it does not make it right.
Here is a quote from Makena’s article
“In Kenya, we are at the mercy of MPesa thieves, pickpockets, muggers, the police, the city council etc. We are hard at the business of bargaining with various kinds of thieves. The matatu conductors who somehow forget to give back your change until you ask for it with a stern face; the government employees who need a small “thank you” for providing a copy of the one piece of paper you need to fill; the guys who “help” you push your car when you are stuck somewhere; the armed robber who rapes your daughter and wife and draws a gun to blow your brains away and last but not least, our elected officials who threaten to paralyze our country if we don’t pay them such and such amount”
Are you tired of bargaining with thieves? Coz to be honest i am! I don’t know if FORTCOM CONSULT OR ANY OTHER PROPERTY MANAGEMENT AGENCY is willing to be open and transparent about this but for them to start doing so they need to understand that Kenyans are tired! And we can actually do something about it! we can shame this shenzi types, expose them and even red flag them!
Share this post with your Kenyan friends and encourage them to share with their friends.
DO SOMETHING about HOUSE AGENCY theft. Make FORTCOLM CONSULT LTD plus any Other AGENCY stealing from kenyans their hard earned Money a lesson to other agencies doing the same by sharing this post with your friends.
Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any thoughts about House Agents thieft.
Inspired by the SHENZI TYPE MOVEMENT(Makena Onjerika)