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LEGAL, POLICY AND INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW OF THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING SECTOR IN KENYA
This online book is a living document, prepared to review, record, and track developments in the policy, legal and institutional framework governing affordable housing in Kenya.
The book includes summaries and evaluations of over 140 statutes, policies and regulations, and provides further access to and interpretation of 48 cases. We welcome readers to engage with the content, providing commentary, additional relevant cases, updates etc., so that this becomes a live resource for the benefit of all working in Kenya’s affordable housing sector.
Last updated: September 2023
Date first released: 1 Nov 2022 Version: 1.0
Authors: Muriuki Muriungi (Partner, KMK Africa Advocates LLP), Seeta Shah (Affordable Housing Specialist, FSD Kenya) with contributions from CAHF.
Affordable housing is a key pillar of Kenya’s overall growth strategy, an explicit focus of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, and a key point of attention for developers, financiers and investors. While the Affordable Housing Programme has been underway for six years, its progress has been shaped by the policy, legislative and institutional framework that governs Kenya’s land, planning, construction and finance sectors.
Article 43 of the Constitution of Kenya under the Bill of Rights provides that every person has the right to accessible and adequate housing. Kenya's policy and regulatory framework seeks to give effect to these rights.
Accordingly, the State is obligated to take steps towards achieving this socio-economic right to its citizens, either directly or by encouraging delivery by the private sector to the wider market. In particular, the 2017–2022 government administration promoted the role of affordable housing within its Big Four Agenda (consisting of Affordable Housing, Manufacturing, Food Security and Affordable Health care).
While there has been some progress in delivering housing units by the Government both directly and by the private sector within this context of reforms, there have been challenges largely arising from some failures in policy, legal and institutional design. A key challenge is the length, breadth and complexity of the housing value chain.
This policy, legal and institutional review serves two central aims:
- First, is to provide a lay of the land on the policy, legal and institutional frameworks governing housing in Kenya; and
- second, is to assess the effectiveness of the policy, legal and institutional framework in achieving the constitutional imperative of access to decent housing, with a view to identifying gaps and opportunities for improvement.
The structure of this report is as follows: The overall housing value chain and institutional framework are described in Sections 2 and 3. Section 4 then sets out the overall policy framework, structured in terms of the housing value chain. The sections which follow provide brief summaries of the laws in respect of each value chain link and identify gaps and propose recommendations. Thereafter, annexes for each value chain link detail some of the substantive provisions of each of the laws reviewed. Recommendations in this review are highlighted in green.
This document has been developed to bring stakeholders together to engage on the most critical areas for regulatory reform in the housing value chain. The report is not prescriptive but rather a best attempt at assessing the vast library of laws, policies and regulations that apply to the housing value chain in Kenya. It is hoped that the report will serve as a baseline for further dialogue in the industry, particularly in prioritizing what regulatory reforms are most required and coming together to support these reforms.