AN EVALUATION OF THE IMPACT OF TENANT SATISFACTION ON RENT ARREARS IN PUBLIC HOUSING: A CASE OF KIBERA DECANTING SITE

Several international policy instruments particularly the United Nations as well
as national guidelines define adequate housing as encompassing more than just a
roof over ones‘ head. Adequate housing is thus multi-faceted and complex. As a
result, achieving access to adequate housing for all as was envisaged in the
Habitat Agenda remains a challenge to most households particularly in
developing countries in which a significant majority of urban residents cannot
afford decent housing delivered by the market systems partly due to their low
and inconsistent income streams. Consequently, it is inevitable that public
agencies provide or facilitate access to affordable and decent public housing to
ameliorate housing deficiencies of the poor emanating from inadequacies of the
market systems.
Although public housing rents are often relatively lower compared to market and
sometimes economic rents in similar neighbourhood, the management of public
housing by the public agencies in most countries is often bedeviled by poor
maintenance, rent arrears and more often than not, tenants are unsatisfied with
their living environments. These factors set in a vicious cycle which contributes
towards the general decline of public housing (Hegedus & Mark, 1994).
This research project report therefore explores the relationship between the
phenomenon of rent arrears in public housing and tenant satisfaction focusing
on the Kibera Decanting Site in Nairobi-Kenya. The objectives of this study are
thus to:-
 Establish the extent of rent arrears in public housing
 Establish to what extent tenant satisfaction contribute to rent arrears in
public housing  Propose ways of improving tenant satisfaction and rent collection in public
housing
To tackle these objectives this research uses a conceptual framework grounded
on a modification of the Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) which is a
statistical technique for testing and estimating causal relationships using a
combination of statistical data and qualitative causal assumptions. In this
conceptual framework four main focus areas of tenant satisfaction namely
building features, building quality, neighbourhood aspects and management are
latent variables. The methodology used is the canvasser method using a
structured questionnaire that measured level of tenant satisfaction towards
housing using the five-point Likert Scale.
The results confirm that tenant arrears as associated with most public housing is
indeed a challenge in the Kibera Decanting Site. As such over 70 percent of the
tenants are in arrears and owe the Government in excess of Kshs 14 million. The
residents are however largely satisfied with most of the components addressed in
this study except elements of the neighbourhood particularly on security which
recorded low levels of satisfaction. However, this research established that in this
public housing facility, there is no direct relationship between rent arrears and
tenant satisfaction.