Nairobi Landlords Up in Arms Over Cheap Housing Projects

  • A photo showing a section of Umoja 1 estate in Nairobi.
    A photo showing a section of Umoja 1 estate in Nairobi.
  • Nairobi landlords have protested various affordable housing projects unveiled in the city by the Chinese and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS). 

    The local developers argued that some of the projects especially those by foreign nationals were substandard and circumvented Kenyan laws.

    The National Construction Authority (NCA) was accused of failing to regulate the industry. NCA provides licences and inspects the construction of buildings in Kenya. 

    Projects from China are reportedly undertaken under relatively low budget and are time efficient. Most of the foreign companies are currently building skyscrapers in the posh suburbs in Nairobi. 

    Deputy Inspector General of Police APS Gabow Noor inspects Nairobi Expressway sites alongside Mombasa Road on Thursday, August 6, 2020

    This includes Upperhill, Wetlands and Athi River in Machakos County. China reportedly benefits from the public-private partnership (PPP) toll model signed between her and the government of Kenya. 

    The model saw China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) contracted to build the Ksh65 billion Nairobi Expressway. Motorists will pay a toll fee to the company to use the road. 

    Having a good working relationship with Kenya has seen most Chinese real estate firms land housing deals in the city, irking local developers. 

    "There should be a need for local content regulation," Tim Kipchumba, a private developer told People Daily, arguing that foreign projects were favoured and were not censored. 

    "This is pure corruption. Shaddy deals are happening as some of those companies are bribing officials for approvals at City Hall, Nairobi,"  James Munene, a private surveyor added. 

    A landlord who spoke with added that the move will see tenants opt for the affordable houses, leaving them (landlords) stranded. 

    "Most of us built our houses long ago and some were furnished through loans. We cannot compete with individuals who are well-financed and know their way around government offices. Some of us have resorted to building smaller houses to target customers who are relocating to Nairobi to search for employment. We cannot spend money on building classy and large houses anymore," he said. 

    State Department for Housing and Urban Development, Charles Hinga refuted the claims and said that they have never received any complaint of such degree.  He, however, called for all players to provide quality affordable houses for Kenyans. 

    The housing units located along Park Road in Ngara
    The affordable housing units located along Park Road in Ngara, Nairobi County.
    Daily Nation

    The General Mohamed Badi led NMS also kicked off plans to build affordable houses in several Nairobi estates

    In an announcement in local dailies on Friday, January 8, 2021, NMS said that it would construct houses in Bahati, Maringo, Jericho, Lumumba, Bondeni, Ziwani Embakasi, California, Kariobangi North and Woodley Estate.

    This is the second phase of the project as NMS already completed the first phase in Ngara and Pangani estates. Some houses were rented with others sold between Ksh 1 million and Ksh 3 million.

    The NMS Affordable Housing Project (AHP) is part of President Uhuru Kenyatta's Big 4 Agenda.