Three months’ free rent in Kenya during Covid-19 crisis? No, announcement fake

“In Kenya, it will be 3 months rent free cuz of Covid-19,” claims a post on a Nigerian Facebook page. It adds: “Nigeria?”

An official-looking document attached to the 19 March 2020 post, headed “GOVERNMENT OF KENYA”, is addressed to “all landlords and landladies in Kenya”.

It reads: “We regrettably wish to inform all of you that due to corana virus pandemic which had affect daily normal routine allover country. We kindly urge you not to collect rent money from your tenants for the next 90days (3 months). N/B: Failure to this, government will take over your apartment(s) or you will be sentenced to jail for 70 years or both action will be taken.”

Kenya’s government would be unlikely to issue a badly written document that misspells “coronavirus”. That’s one sign of a hoax.

But have there been any official announcements of free rent in Kenya during the coronavirus crisis?

Document not official, not from health ministry

Kenya’s coat of arms appears on all official government communications. It can be seen on this press statement from the interior ministry, and on the health ministry’s verified Twitter account.

The document on Facebook doesn’t carry the coat of arms. It only shows the shield symbol of Kenya’s flag, which is just one part of the coat of arms. 

The health ministry is responsible for slowing the spread of the new coronavirus. It issues regular updates about the virus, but has not made any statements about suspending rent payments. 

‘Fake’, says government spokesperson

The notice is signed by a “Dr Abashiwili”. Official documents usually indicate the full name and title of the responsible government officer. We could find no reference to or record of a “Dr Abashiwili” in the Kenyan government. 

Africa Check asked Kenyan government spokesperson Cyrus Oguna about the document. It was “fake”, he said.

“If it was a legitimate document from a government department, it would be signed by a minister, or a specific officer of a government department.”

Nigerians hoping for a rent reprieve shouldn’t look to Kenya for inspiration. – Jennifer Ojugbeli


For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Fighting coronavirus misinformation

Africa Check is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers fighting misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic.

Learn more about the alliance here.

© Copyright Africa Check 2020. Read our republishing guidelines. You may reproduce this piece or content from it for the purpose of reporting and/or discussing news and current events. This is subject to: Crediting Africa Check in the byline, keeping all hyperlinks to the sources used and adding this sentence at the end of your publication: “This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the original piece on their website", with a link back to this page.