The National Lands Commission has rejected rates demanded by property owners from squatters seeking full ownership.
The more than 20,000 families have been paying between Sh1,200 and Sh3,000 per month as ground rates to landowners for generations. Others were paying Sh40,000 per year.
The landowners have been demanding between Sh5 million and Sh15 million to grant the tenants full ownership of the properties, which many would not afford.
But NLC now says the landowners can only claim between Sh400,000 and Sh500,000 per plot to grant full ownership.
The new rates were announced by National Land Commission (NLC) chairman Muhammad Swazuri to facilitate the sale of the plots to residents of Bondeni, Mwembe Kuku, Sparki, Majengo Sidiria, Sargoi, Guraya, Kiziwi and Ziwani village on Mombasa island.
The new rates are expected to end a long-running dispute between landowners and tenants. They were arrived at after valuation by the commission that was started in May last year.
“The commission considered the 100 years tenants had been paying ground rates. We also considered 1984 presidential directive in which tenants were asked to pay between Sh15,000 for plots far from the roads and Sh30,000 for those fronting the roads,” said Prof Swazuri.
He said in cases of absentee landlords, the plots would be gazetted as public land and allocated to their current occupiers.
But the tenants now fear that the landlords may reject the new valuation report. They wondered how NLC would enforce the new rates.
“We are happy with the new values for the plots that we occupy. Our concern is whether the landowners will accept them,” said Omar Nassir Islam, chairman of the Majengo Sidiria house owners.