Monday, February 20, 2006


I am effectively homeless after giving my landlady formal notice to end my lease. The requirement of a two-month notice has left me with about 50 days to find a new place. In the meantime I also have to move out and fix & paint my old place in order to get back my deposit worth 2 months rent and other tenant costs.

I am very happy where I am now but this year my situation has changed this year – I need a bigger place, and I also have an additional car loan to service. But I was also getting tired of my current lease requirement of paying rent in cash only – which necessitated two visits to the ATM on consecutive days. In between I always feared I'd be car-jacked and lose a month's rent.

So I am looking for a new place, at similar or lower cost, that’s still close to town, a secure neighborhood, and that’s green. - There are parts of Nairobi where the lack of greenery (trees or grass) is depressing. Also traffic, and the commute to town, should not be a major issue – and this rules out living on Thika Road or Jogoo Road.

In terms of security, there are many beautiful apartments in Nairobi - but to access the compounds is very tricky. Some have non-existent, rocky, dusty or bushy roads. This may be fine now, but I wouldn’t want to use the same road by car or foot at night, and I can only imagine how bad it would be during the rainy season

The search for an apartment has been time-consuming and frustrating and I spend all my free time driving around, looking at "for rent" signs. Any apartment advertised by a real estate agent will cost about 10,000 more than it can truly had for - and they try and justify this by throwing in pool, gym, Jacuzzi and other facilities that I may never use.

The number of con people out there also is troubling. I have seen houses, which I later found out, were not available for rent, or which the owner was unknown, or out of the country. I flatly refuse to pay a viewing fee that some people charge usually 1,500 to view a house. I have learnt not to call cell phone numbers, as 70% of them are a waste of time. And I have found confirmed that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is - like when I see ads, like 3br apartment in Westlands for 20,000


Prousette said...

One of the things that I find uniquely Kenyan. Viewing fees, does the house depreciate when you look at it so they need to charge you for this?
What's with the paying rent in cash?

Happy House hunting!

Anonymous said...

nimekusikilia huruma! but i intend to follow your house hunting keenly, might be in same boat soon any tips would be useful. incidentally how did you finally get a car?

guessaurus said...

I know I dont live in Kenya and your ruling out Thika road narrowed things down LOL - marketing at its best.

Now, a friend was living in Kileleshwa opposite or behind State House and the place is very clean, secure and desirable, nearer town, leafy and spacious. Two bedroom house for around Ks.22,000 a month,(might need around 50k for a security deposit) security patrolled community that will not let in anyone who isnt known or cleared, including taxis. Very peaceful and quiet.

If you need me to get contact details email me, but cannot guarantee there are any available

bankelele said...

Prousette: The agent charges viewing fees for the 'hassle' of showing you a house. But I believe they should be paid by the owner when a new tenant signs, and moves in. Oh, and paying in cash says nothing about my bad credit. All tenants in the compound pay cash (says so in the lease - not negotiable)

Anonymous: House hunting is interesting as you discover unknown parts of the city, but also tiring. Will keep the post updated. As for the car, I bought and registered an ex-Japan used Toyota in Mombasa - which saved about 50k if I had bought it in Nairobi.

Guessaurus: Thanks, I will definetely e-mail you.

Acolyte said...

Pole mate!What neighbourhoods are you looking into?Because that too may play a role in how fast you get a house, but I do agree the number of cons in the business is stunning I think that is why real estate agents are so smug as they know one of the things you are paying for is security!

krista said...

Oh my! How lucky I am to come across your site. I am moving to Kenya in June and I need to find a safe and affordable place to stay.
Guessaurus could you give me more info on that place you are talking about?

I need a mzungu friendly neighbourhood.

bankelele said...

Acolyte: House hunt is over now thankfully, so the next step is moving

krista: mzungu friendly neighbourhoods include Kileleshwa, & Westlands which are close to town, while Karen & Muthaiga are further.

3/07/2006 8:07 AM

krista said...

thanks for your help!


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