Today is August 8th 2012, the deadline for Operation Clampdown and hundreds of land rates defaulters are currently queuing at the county hall in an attempt to beat today’s deadline. Defaulters on property rates had earlier been given a 100% waiver and advised by the City Council of Nairobi to clear their outstanding arrears by this date, failure to which their property will be taken over by the council to recover the defaulted fees. The waiver was to give defaulters the opportunity to pay the principal sum either in whole or in installments.
Defaulters will be handled with respect to Section 17 of the Rating Act, CAP 267 that vests the council with powers to dispose of, through the judicial process, all lands that go against outstanding land and interest rates. There will be no reprieve for defaulters because the new constitution permits land rates to be raised. Defaulters will therefore have disobeyed a constitutional requirement, which is protected by the government, and the only reprieve would be asking the court for orders to comply with such directive though at a later date.
The City Council of Nairobi (CCN) plans to gather up to KES 50 billion worth of arrears from Land Owners. So far, over KES 300 Million have been collected. Last year, a similar operation aiming at gathering KES 1.5 billion was carried out but managed to raise KES 800 million.
Innocent home owners might also find themselves caught up in a mess on realisation that their buildings sit on land whose rates have never been paid.