Landlord locks minor in house for 2 days over rent arrears

Angry residents of Nyahururu town’s Core-Site estate took matters into their own hands on Thursday night, forcibly entering a rented house to rescue a minor who had been locked in by a landlord for more than a week over Sh15,000 rent arrears.

According to witnesses, the landlord’s agent had welded the door shut on Tuesday morning while the 14-year-old girl was still inside sleeping.

The girl had been living alone in the house as her mother had been in hospital for several weeks and was three months in arrears with rent, as well as outstanding water and electricity bills.

“My mother, who is a casual labourer, has been unwell for some time, in and out of Nyahururu Hospital. When I was locked up, she was still in hospital. We’ve been living here for over five years and have always paid the rent on time,” said the minor, who was preparing to start Form One this year but couldn’t due to lack of school fees.

The girl described waking up to find the door welded shut, prompting her to raise an alarm that attracted the neighbours.

They fed her through the window while they tried to locate the landlord and his agents, who refused to let her go until the rent was paid in full.

Despite pleas from neighbours, the landlord and agent remained unmoved, leading to a dramatic intervention by residents to free the girl.

“It was barbaric to isolate the minor for so long. We pleaded with the agent to no avail, so we had to take action to prevent further suffering,” said a neighbour, Benson Njenga.

Igwamiti Ward MCA Irene Wachuka, who led the rescue operation, condemned the incident and called for action against the landlord and the agent.

“What if the girl had been in an emergency? Do they understand the pain they put the girl through? They should have ordered the girl out of the house, not locked her in. Welding the door was an excessive punishment that caused unnecessary suffering,” she said.

Ms Wachuka revealed that the girl’s mother, who had recently given birth, was still recovering in hospital.

“The mother gave birth to a baby girl last Saturday and is waiting for full recovery before she can be discharged,” she added.

The ordeal has sparked widespread outrage and calls for justice as the community demands accountability for the abuse of the minor.

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