Important Tips to Know When Renting in Kenya

  • A block of apartments in Nairobi, Kenya.
    A block of apartments in Nairobi, Kenya.
    File
  • According to Kenya Population and Housing Census carried out in 2019, 78.7 percent of the population residing in urban areas rents houses.

    The majority of the people living in urban opt to live in rental housing owing to accessibility and affordability.

    However, tenants are oblivious to their rights and end up enduring unfair treatment from their landlords. Here are unwritten rules of tenancy.

    Inside an apartment under the NHC Olympic View complex ni Kibera
    Inside an apartment under the NHC Olympic View complex ni Kibera
    NHC

    You Can Negotiate for Lower Rent 

    It is possible to negotiate how much rent you will pay outside what the landlord has quoted.  If you are looking to move into the neighbourhood, do your research on the range of prices in the area.

    Compare the prices vis a vis the amenities available in the apartments. Before approaching the landlord, it is advisable to have all the facts. With that information, your argument may stand a chance.

    It is easier to negotiate if the building is solely managed by the landlord as opposed to an agency.

    Right to Maintenance

    You should not make any repairs when moving to a new house. In case there is a problem with lighting, water supply or wiring, it is the landlords' mandate to fix it beforehand.

    However, if you need to make changes to your house such as painting walls, drilling walls, adding cabinets among other changes, it is advisable to ask your landlord first. Failure to that may see your deposit being reduced.

    Right to Know Cause of Eviction

    The landlord has no right to evict you without a reason. An eviction notice needs to be accompanied with a valid reason.

    If there were prior issues, the landlord should try resolving the matter before finally resulting to eviction.

    2-bedroom apartments for sale at Zahara Apartments, Ngong Road Nairobi
    2-bedroom apartments for sale at Zahara Apartments, Ngong Road Nairobi.
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    Right to get your deposit back

    Most landlords ask for a deposit, which is usually the same amount as the rent. The deposit is refundable at the end of your lease.

    It is you right to get the deposit back. If the landlord decides to deduct some amount, they should give you proof of how that money was spent.

    Rent to Own Agreement

    In this agreement, you rent the house for a specific period with the intent of buying it from the landlord.
    Before committing to the investment, you need to do due diligence and research whether the landlord/seller are legit.

    Hire a lawyer to guide you through the process. It is better to sign a lease option agreement to avoid being legally bound to buy a house.

    On the contract, take note of the option fee, rent payments, purchase price, who is responsible for maintenance and repairs, duration and deadlines for making payments, property taxes are already paid on the house.

    An apartment block in Karen Estate, Nairobi.
    An apartment block in Karen Estate, Nairobi.
    File