The Kenyan government is considering a significant increase in rent for civil servants residing in government-owned housing units.

This proposal comes after a review revealed a substantial discrepancy between current rent prices and prevailing market rates.

Principal Secretary for Housing and Urban Development, Charles Hinga, presented the proposal to the National Assembly's Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

He explained that the last rent review for these 56,892 housing units across the country occurred in 2001.

"We wrote to the National Treasury on the rent issue and told them to allow us to increase it because we believe that it is high time we looked at this matter. The committee should note that the last review was done in 2001," stated Hinga.

Hinga emphasized the need for rent adjustments to reflect current market realities.

He cited the example of government housing along State House Road, where civil servants currently pay Sh30,000 per month, while comparable private properties rent for Sh80,000 to Sh100,000.

Similar discrepancies exist in Eastlands and Mbotela, where government rents are significantly lower than market rates.

However, the proposed rent hike comes with a caveat. The PAC also learned that many of these government-owned houses require urgent repairs, with some deemed unfit for refurbishment and currently unoccupied.

This lack of available housing units further complicates the situation.

Hinga attributed the ministry's inability to address repairs to financial constraints. He highlighted the shortfall in revenue collection, amounting to Sh506,585,000 for the 2021/2022 financial year, against a targeted collection of Sh1,524,585,000.

This shortfall is further compounded by Sh104 million owed by county governments and Sh35.6 million in uncollected rent from vacant units.

The PAC is currently reviewing the proposal, and a final decision on the rent hike for civil servants residing in government housing remains pending.