Voi, Sunday, June 10, 2018
A landlord in Kalolenyi village in Voi has gone into hiding after he set a tenant’s house on fire over sh 2,000 rent arrear dispute.
The Saturday evening bizarre act left dozens of neighbours shocked with the authorities launching a massive manhunt for the landlord from hell.
A neighbour who declined to be named claimed the landlord had been quarreling with the unnamed tenant since Saturday morning demanding June’s rent.
The tenant, a hawker, had offered to pay half the amount and clear the balance later but the landlord would have none of it. The landlord would come back in the afternoon armed with a bottle of petrol after the tenant had left doused the locked house before setting it on fire.
“This is barbaric! We didn’t believe it until smoke started billowing from inside the house,” said the shocked neighbour wondering why the landlord didn’t lock the room with a different padlock instead of burning down the tenant’s household items.
In the ensuing confusion, the landlord sneaked away and fled. Residents raised alarm and bodaboda riders passing-by rushed to the rescue. They splashed water and sand on the burning furniture and later dragged the charred and smoldering sofa sets outside the house.
Mr. Kevin Maina, one of the helpers, said there was extensive damage to the furniture. A set of sofa sets, a DVD machines, a table and a large sack of wall charts were burnt before the fire was contained.
“It would be a different story if the fire spread to other rooms. Nothing would have been saved,” he said wondering how a landlord can set his own house on fire to demand rent arrears from a tenant.
Confirming the incident, Voi Senior Chief Habel Mwangemi termed the act of arson as criminal stating no rent dispute was worth such drastic actions. He said tenants too had a right to be heard and destroying their property was illegal.
Voi OCPD Joseph Chesire said a probe has been launched into the matter and vowed to bring the landlord to book explaining that there were relevant departments to handle rent disputes between tenants and landlords.
“We have ministry of housing rent tribunal that handles such matters. The landlord’s act is purely arson and he will be punished for that,” he said.
A woman peering into the room set on fire by a landlord over rent arrests at Kalolenyi in Voi.