Cytonn: Average price- to-rent ratio in Kenya is lower compared to bubble periods in places like US

Average price- to-rent ratio in Kenya is lower compared to bubble periods in places like US

Kenya’s real estate sector experienced a slowdown in 2017 owing to the extended electioneering period and continued cash crunch due to the interest rate cap.

According to Cytonn’s Annual Market Review for 2017, lending to the private sector grew by 2.4 per cent as of October 2017. This was a sharp contrast to the cumulative annual growth rate of 14.4 witnessed during the last five years. The results of the decline were evident in the reduced value of building approvals in Nairobi that declined by 18.4 per cent between January and July 2017.

The residential market was hard hit as it recorded a 2.6 per cent points lower than the 12.9 per cent total returns recorded in 2016. “There was a slowdown in sales volumes due to the wait-and-see attitude adopted by investors during the electioneering period. High land and construction costs had an effect on the business,” said Johnson Denge, Cytonn’s senior manager for regional markets. However, it was not all gloom as rental yields increased marginally year-on-year, attributable to the increase in average occupancy rates indicating sustained demand for rental units. According to Cytonn, the sector faced other challenges such as high land and construction costs. This, however, did not stem the tide of releasing more residential units in the market. The high volumes had an impact on the prices. The scenario made some developers apprehensive as house prices grew by an average of 0.8 per cent in 2017, compared to a 1.8 per cent growth during the same period in 2016. With a glut in the market, some wondered whether this was a sign of the bubble about to burst.

Cytonn, however, refuted the “myth” saying the average price-to-rent ratio in Kenya is lower compared to bubble periods in places like the United States. Currently, the country has a deficit of two million housing units,against an annual demand of 200,000 units. Developers are producing only 35,000 homes annually. A real estate bubble bursts when supply exceeds demand and credit is so cheap that just about anybody can afford it. Cytonn says we are yet to reach a plateau between supply and demand. “Housing demands are supported by the rapid population growth. A real estate bubble more often than not results from a credit-driven market, resulting in a burst as households are overridden by debt beyond their property’s value,” says the report. However, Cytonn says that in a country where mortgage accounts were reported to have decreased by 1.5 per cent by December 2017 to 24,085 from 24,458, no bubble will burst anytime soon. The Annual Market Review concluded on an optimistic note with a better performance expected in the lower-mid level residential segment.
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Pipeline residents in Nairobi use nylon despite plastic ban

Pipeline Estate; residents use paper bags to cover their clothes from dust and water from clothes on the upper floors

Though the Government banned plastics a few months ago, residents of Pipeline are not about to let go of them.

Plastics come in handy to those living in flats whenever they air their clothes out to dry. They use plastic covers to protect their clothes from dust or water dripping from the upper floors.

Dry spell Most of the flats are up to seventh or eighth floor, each house built with a balcony, where one can tie a clothes line.

During dry spells, the place is so dusty that hanging clothes without a plastic cover is a waste of time. They gather so much dust and end up looking unwashed.

It is for this reason that almost every stroyed building here has plastic covers covering  clothesline. This might look strange to an outsider but for residents it is a normal occurrence.

Enock Mutua, a caretaker in one of the flats, said the practice is common and that tenants do it to keep their clothes clean. “Here, there are flats of up to eight floors and people wash at different times. Some people have clothes that shed colour, others do not properly wring out excess water from the clothes and if you do not cover your clothes, you might find them ruined or wet long after you washed them,” said Mutua. He added that when there are new apartments to be occupied, prospective tenants run for the top floors. Love for top floors “One is never sure unless you live in the top most floor. Some of the buildings have space on the roof tops for tenants to air clothes,” said Mutua. He further said that many choose to put up with the “small problems” because houses are affordable.

“Most of the houses here are single rooms, bedsitters and one bedroom which range from Sh5,000 to Sh9,000,” said Mutua. Derrick Chenge, a resident of Pipeline, said he would rather cover his clothes even if they stayed on the clothes line for three days than leave them uncovered to come and find them ruined.

“Have you seen the dust that is around here? I cannot allow it to go to my clothes, especially the white ones. I cover them all the time,” Chenge said. He added that they were forced to do this because of insensitive neighbours who do not care whether others have clothes outside. “The person who stays above you will not wait for your clothes to dry and ask you to remove them. It is up to you to protect your clothes,” Chenge said.


Sources: Standard Media 

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New laws for lease renewal on the way in Kenya

OWNERS OF LARGE tracts of land that are lying idle risk losing such holdings upon the expiry of their lease in a change of policy that seeks to free up parcels concentrated in the hands of a few individuals and corporations for productive use.

Land Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi says a set of laws is being prepared to stop the automatic renewal or extension of lease terms for land that is being held for speculative purposes.

He said the approval of extension or renewal of lease for large-scale land owners will be based on the benefits to the economy and the country as a whole, and the national development goals.

The CS said the Department of Land was preparing guidelines to be implemented in line with the rules and regulations that will guide the implementation of the new land laws.

Prof Kaimenyi did not, however, indicate the size of land that will be considered “large” or what will constitute productivity in the targeted properties.

Land Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri said that the law currently considers any holding of 10 acres or more as large and qualifying for scrutiny

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Using M-Rent to Manage your Rentals

Managing rentals is tedious and often involves Marketing rentals, issuing customized Tenancy Agreements, Collecting rent and issuing the receipts, pursuing evictions, responding to tenant complaints ensuring that tenant complaints are fixed in time by a trusted service provider and the provider is paid, ensuring such expenses are recorded against income(rent collections) so like any business you can produce a profit and loss account

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When should I Hire a Professional Property Manager?

if you are a small-asset landlord, you’ve probably asked yourself “Should I hire a Property Manager?”.

Hopefully, this article will help you decide if hiring a property manager is right for you.

Property Managers can be incredibly helpful, but are also a luxury that many landlords simply cannot afford.

It’s true, thousands of Landlords manage their properties with very little effort – and have set up their rental businesses to run on autopilot with ManyattaRent.

The trick to being an independent landlord is to first establish the proper processes, leverage available tools and resources, and build multiple rental form templates for use, over and over again.

Repetition is the secret ingredient

…but building repeatable processes can be difficult, and it’s not for everyone.

I’ve been a landlord for many years, and have multiple properties.  I consider myself to be very detailed-oriented, and I’ve always been up for the “Adventures in Landlording” – but I definitely know my limits – and so should you.

There are many reasons why a Landlord should hire a Professional Property Manager. Deciding whether or not you should hire a manager doesn’t have to be an agonizing decision.  It really just depends on your own needs, level of commitment, and expectations.

To Hire or Not to Hire…

  • If you want to hire a Property Manager, but need cold-hard numbers first, then look up a local property manager and ask for an estimate. Or just contact us for a very friendly rate we have presence in the 47 counties
  • If you’re ready to brave it alone, check out our tips section, which gives short, practical advice about being a D-I-Y landlord.
  • If you’re still unsure, I invite you to ask your questions in the comments section below, and I’ll try to help you decide!

What does a Property Manager do?

A typical property manager will interact directly, on your behalf, with applicants and tenants.  Managers will usually market and advertise your rentals, meet with prospects to host showings, collecting rent, deposit money to your bank account, and coordinate repair issues. Just as ManyattaRent does

They are also the first line of defense when responding to tenant complaints and will even stand by your side when you have to pursue an eviction or get sued.

They should have the “Heart of a Teacher”

In my opinion, an excellent property manager will have the heart of a teacher, and voluntarily keep you updated with regular communication.  Above all, the main purpose of a property manager is to give you peace of mind that your investment is being handled with care.

Unorganized property managers will try to manage everything, but still turn to you for every issue and request – forcing you to be involved and thereby not reducing your stress level.

10 Things to Consider before Hiring a Manager:

1.    How many properties or rental units you own?

Most newbie landlords can handle 1 or 2 units on their own.  However, when you start to deal with 5-10+ properties and dozens of tenants, you should consider turning some of them over to a professional – especially if you have a separate full-time job.

2.    How far away do you live from your properties?

If you live over 50 Kilometer away and have more than 2 units, you should consider talking to a local Property Manager who operates in a closer proximity to your rental property. If you do choose to be a long-distance landlord, you should create a list of favorite vendors that you can call upon in an emergency. Manyatta Rent has a list of venders that you can turn too.

3.    Are you detailed?

Perhaps property management does not interest you, or you are not detail oriented.  If you are not an organized person, then you should consider giving the responsibility to a professional.

4.    Do you have the necessary KSA’s (knowledge, skills, or abilities)

If you have no idea what you are doing, and don’t want to learn, then don’t try to do it yourself.  However, if you don’t mind the adventure, you can study websites like the  blog to learn the art of landlording.

5.    How busy are you?

Perhaps you are already super busy and can’t dedicate 2-10 hours a month for your properties.  Unless you have dozens of tenants, I believe most landlords can find time to handle it (if they want too).

6.    Can you afford a property manager?

A typical property manager takes 1 month’s rent as their flat fee. Others take a monthly cut of 4-10% of the rental income.  For some of my properties, I would be loosing money every month if I hired a property manager.  But for other properties, I have more than enough rental surplus to pay for a manager.  I think a great property manager with a heart of a teacher, is worth his/her weight in gold.

7.    Are you struggling to fill your vacancies and don’t know why?

If you feel like your property is vacant too often, then perhaps you need help with your marketing.  If you aren’t sure what else you can do, then consider hiring a manager because they often have tried-and-true marketing techniques – although it’s no guarantee.

8.    Do you have a service-oriented personality?

If you are not a “service” person, and are often irritated by regular maintenance calls from tenants, then you probably should take the role of silent investor, and leave the management to someone else.

9.    Do you mind working with contractors?

Contractors are often needed to maintain the property.  If you don’t feel comfortable researching, hiring, and double-checking their work, then you should probably hire a manager.  As a landlord, I use manyattarent to research all my contractors before I hire them.

10.  Is your property subject to complex ordinances or an affordable housing program?

Many local laws are overly complex.  If your property is subject to an affordable housing program, a (legitimate) property manager will ensure that you don’t break any rules.  However, if a manager does get into legal trouble, you are still responsible as the home owner, and can be held liable.

Still Unsure?

Take the quiz below to find out if you should hire a Property Manger!

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Should I or Should not Own Rental Properties?

Owning rental properties can be a fantastic way to build wealth and leave a legacy for your children. Let’s review the high-level pros and cons of owning and managing your own rental properties.

While I certainly believe that almost everyone can manage a small portfolio of rental properties if they put their mind to it, I also realize it’s not for everyone. In order for investing in rentals to be “worth it,” the pros have to outweigh the cons, but the weight you give each factor is different for everyone.

Pros of Owning Rentals

  1. Additional recurring revenue
    Rental properties create an independent revenue stream that can cover the operating expenses of the rental or even generate wealth for you and your family.
  2. Tenants paying your mortgage
    The rent you receive will help pay down or pay off your mortgage.
  3. Passive side income
    If you have the proper rent collection tools in place, rent can be a passive income stream, allowing you to focus on other things in life. In my opinion, the average person could typically manage between 20 to 50 tenants while still keeping their full-time job.
  4. Allows you to hold onto the property
    Converting a home to a rental property can prevent the loss of the home due to foreclosure or from being forced to sell it at a loss by generating income. Renting out your home can also allow you to move to another house, city, or country without having to float two mortgages or house payments.
  5. Independent of health
    Building equity through rentals can be independent of age, sickness, or circumstance. It can provide income during requirement or if you are physically unable to work. You may need to hire a property manager though if you are completely unable to participate in the management process.
  6. No shortage of renters 
    The number of renters (your customer) in today’s market is increasing, and they are in every county.
  7. Low risk
    Even if the economy collapses, people will always need housing.
  8. Self-managing
    I think it is possible for most people to self-manage and self-maintain a rental property. However, even if you’re not “handy” with tools, you can always hire out the repair. You certainly don’t need a property manager to coordinate a plumbing repair. Almost anyone can make a phone call, and the tenants can give the plumber access to do the repair.

Cons of Owning Rentals

  1. More wear and tear
    Maintenance expenses on a rental are typically higher than they are for a homeowner occupied property because people often don’t treat a rental as well as a home they own.
  2. Unqualified renters
    Sometimes you’ll have to deal with people who aren’t worthy of loans or any credit whatsoever. They might lie on an application and waste your time. Roughly 20% (1/5) of my applicants lie about their credit and background check history prior to seeing the screening reports.
  3. Tougher to sell
    Selling a home while it is occupied by a tenant could lengthen the time it takes to sell and decrease the amount of money a buyer is willing to pay for it.
  4. Additional costs
    Plan on increased expenses for legal fees, legal documents, business formation, CPAs, advisors, vacancy, etc. A rental is a business, which comes with extra business expenses.
  5. Additional stress
    At times, especially during a vacancy, rentals can be extremely stressful. Sometimes, a spouse won’t be so excited about your rental efforts, and it can cause marital stress.

Hiring a Property Manager

If the cons seem too scary, and you shiver in fear of the midnight clogged toilet (which has never happened to me in 4 years of owning rentals), then you could offload the management to a professional property manager. However, it will cost you dearly. In fact, it will likely cost you 17% of your rental income after all fees are calculated in.

The average property management company takes one month’s rent whenever they find a new tenant for you, and then they take 10% of rent every month thereafter — totaling 17%.

Alternatively, you might be able to find a local property manager, which is a great way to hire out specific services, such as key exchanges and showings, but you will still do some of the work.

The good news is that you can do all the hard parts with ease in fact you do it online, like screening, Tenancy agreement issuance and rent collection, through ManyattaRent —. Seriously, I use Manyattarent to self-manage my own rentals. So far, it’s worked great and has saved me over 300,000 last year in management expenses.


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What Happens to the Lease When a Tenant Dies?

Kimani: Hi, Lucas. My name’s Kimani, and I’m a new landlord in Kasarani. I recently had a tenant pass away unexpectedly and I’d like to help her family by breaking the lease. She was six months into a one-year lease. However, there are going to be substantial costs to be incurred, i.e., agent fees, realtor fees, to re-rent the property and I’d like to know who’s responsible for that. I can’t find the answer anywhere online. I know that my tenant’s estate is responsible for the remainder of the lease, but who’s responsible when you break the lease, both parties agreeing, and who absorbs then the costs of the realtor fees to get the place re-rented?

I’d really appreciate an answer to this because it’s driving me crazy, and I can’t find it anywhere. Thanks, Lucas. Bye.

Lucas: Hey, Kimani. Thank you for your question. Welcome to the show. I am so sorry to hear about your tenant. Unfortunately, as you are experiencing, we as landlords need to deal with situations like this and we need to deal with it respectfully and legally and morally in the best way possible. I’m going to give you some advice. I’m not going to tell you it’s legal advice. Please don’t take it that way. I’m not a lawyer, but do know that the laws on this do change.

With that said, generally speaking, the laws on the death of a tenant is that the estate that they leave behind is still responsible for a fixed-term lease. If it was a month-to-month lease, then they’d really only be responsible for about a month because you could consider death as proper notice, but if it’s a fixed-term lease and there’s still six months left, then that estate still has to pay those six months. Now that’s horrible because they’re dealing with a loss and you need to be more sympathetic of that. I will say that, generally speaking, death is considered abandonment  and “When a tenant abandons a property, then the landlord is responsible to mitigate damages to that tenant.”

In plain English, what that means is when they disappear, when the tenant is gone and usually they just decide to up and leave and they didn’t die, but they just decided to disappear and they don’t want to pay anymore, then you as a landlord still have to go find a replacement. You have to try to find a replacement and hopefully you will. When that replacement starts to pay rent, then the old tenant is no longer responsible. Then that lease is terminated. That’s usually how it goes. Generally, if the tenant just disappears on you, you’re not going to be able to track down that money. You’d probably have to file a small claims lawsuit or something to get one, two, or three months worth of rent while you were looking for a new one, but that’s how it’s handled.

In death, it’s very similar. The estate is still responsible, but you have a responsibility to mitigate damages to that estate. It doesn’t say anything about realtor fees or marketing fees because essentially you would incur those fees anyway. You’re going to pay those fees next time you re-rent the place, whether that’s now or in six months when the original lease was over. That’s on your dime, but I will say this. You could easily get that from the estate by simply saying, “Hey, if you help me with marketing costs, if you do this now and pay that little extra, you’re probably going to pay less in the long run,” and they will gladly just do that or they may come back to you and say, “Hey, how about I just give you five grand and we’ll call it even.” You do whatever you can negotiate.

It’s certainly not a place for you to try to take advantage of them or get more money out of it than it’s worth, but just know that it’s really up to you and it’s really up to how you negotiate, but you do have a responsibility to notify the estate and to try to mitigate the damages to them and to do your best to find a new tenant. I hope that helps. Good luck to you. Again, I’m so sorry. Thanks again. Take care.


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Landlord evicts tenants, then pursues them for two months’ rent for not giving notice

One of Nairobi’s biggest landlords has an in-house collections agency that pursues evicted tenants for two months’ rent because they didn’t give “proper notice” when they were kicked out of their apartments, as we learned.

Kings Link Management(KLM), which has more than 10,000 rental units in the city, says everyone must give 60 days’ notice to vacate an apartment, even if they’re being evicted.

“It is KLM’s position that residents who breach their lease or give improper notice are required to pay the rent for the unit until it is re-rented or until the date that would have been the last day of the tenancy had proper notice been given,” wrote Merrill in an email to Manyatta Rent. “We believe that we are following the law.”


Kings Suite has been so successful that it now offers debt collection services to other landlords.

Legal or not, the fallout is that recently evicted tenants, many already in dire financial straits, get saddled with a new debt — often in the thousands of Shillings.

KLM evicts you, but you must give them notice

“I routinely came across tenants who sought legal advice after receiving debt collection notices after moving out of a KLM building,” said Jonathan Mwai, a staff lawyer. “This happened on a frequent basis and I can tell you they were scared to death.”

He points to a court ruling that’s more than 20 years old to justify the practice. He says he’s not aware of more recent judgments that have overruled this

Eviction came after years of hardship

When Jane Kamakia moved out of her highrise apartment in October 2012, her life was falling apart. Her son had been murdered. She says she was depressed and suffered from migraines.

The 67-year-old grandmother says she got help from her pastor and the rent bank, this wasn’t enough to make ends meet. When the bank refused to extend overdraft protection, her rent cheque bounced and she was evicted.

she was about to embark on a two-year battle with KLM and Suite over thousands of dollars of debt that appeared after she left.

“Why do I have to be paying?” she asked. “It’s not fair.”

Suite’s letter to KLM arrived six weeks after she moved out. Though her eviction order showed that KLM had to refund KES75,400 of her rent deposit, Suite claimed that she had a “delinquent” account and instead owed them KES273,112 for two months’ rent plus eviction fees. She had until Christmas Day to pay in full.

“I do not agree with the amount claimed for arrears,” She wrote back. “I was evicted from my former residence . . . by the Landlord. This order terminated my tenancy.”

Jane was supposed to be out by October 22 but stayed until October 30. In her letter, she offered to pay the Landlord mandated charge for each of the eight days she overstayed. Minus the DepositeKLM owed her, she calculated that she only owed.

“If it is still your contention that I owe arrears of KES273,112 then I dispute the matter and suggest you pursue your claim in court,” she wrote.

Suite didn’t go to court. Instead it threatened to registered the four-figure debt with metropol  a major credit bureaus in Kenya, and did the same for Jane’s niece who had co-signed her lease.

“I just wanted to help her,” Jane’s niece said. “Please don’t incriminate me.”

This did not happen and in fact the landlord does not have authority to post negative report against a tenant ManyattaRent established.

To be continued..


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Let an agent run your property so you can focus on other work

Managing rentals is tedious and often involves Marketing rentals, Collecting rent , Pursuing evictions, responding to tenant complaints among others.

Managing rentals is tedious and often involves Marketing rentals, Collecting rent , Pursuing evictions, responding to tenant complaints among others.

Source [Nation Media]

In January last year, Dr Kevin Omondi finally achieved his dream of becoming a landlord. He had just finished building a residential building with 65 units in Gwa-Kairu in Ruiru Constituency and was determined to play a hands-on role in its management in order to make maximum profits from the rentals. However, six months later, the day-to-day management of his building was bogging him down, and he found dealing with tenants extremely frustrating.

“I belonged to a school of thought that believes that if you want to do something well, you must do it yourself. I had imagined that the role of a landlord to be a walk in the park. How wrong I was!” exclaims Dr Omondi. The don, who lectures at a nearby university, soon found himself overwhelmed by tasks such as marketing his rentals, collecting rent, pursuing evictions and responding to tenant complaints.

“It got so bad that I would miss some of my lectures at the university and rush to solve simple problems arising with the tenants. I was basically tethered to my property, and the building that I had put up for financial security now imprisoned me,” he told DN2 via phone.

In July last year, Dr Omondi was approached by Mrs Dorcas Wanjiru, the founder and CEO of Dorothy Agency, who made him an offer: for 8 per cent of his rental income, Dorothy Agency would take over the management of his property.
Constant repairs on your property will not only keep you constantly preoccupied with your building, but can also cause you a considerable amount of stress. You will be required to deal with things like broken windows, clogged toilets and pipes, and leaking roofs. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP
“It was difficult for me to give up the reigns of my new property, but it is by far the most prudent business decision I have ever made because it has saved me a lot of time and worry,” Dr Omondi says.

“For landlords who lack experience in dealing with tenants, it can be detrimental for them to try their hand in managing their property,” says Dorcas Wanjiru, who has been managing property on behalf of landlords for more than a decade; her company has branches in Rongai, Ruiru and Naivasha.

She says landlords should not be afraid to entrust their investments to property management agencies since the agencies are well versed in managing property.

The distance between your home and your rental property should be the most important factor in deciding whether to place the management of your property in the hands of an agent. Ms Wanjiru says that from she has learnt from experience that problems that affect tenants have a way of cropping up unexpectedly and failure to act on them straightaway can cost a landlord money, and even their tenants. Therefore, if you cannot travel to your property regularly and be on call 24/7, it is best to hire a property management company.


Constant repairs on your property will not only keep you constantly preoccupied with your building, but can also cause you a considerable amount of stress. You will be required to deal with things like broken windows, clogged toilets and pipes, and leaking roofs. How experienced are you with regard to repairs and maintenance? If you do not wish to spend your time looking for plumbers and electricians, then it is advisable to seek help.

“At Dorothy Agency, we have in-house plumbers and electricians who are always on standby to solve problems as they arise,” says Mrs Wanjiru.

A property management company does not necessarily mean diminished revenues. When Dr Omondi signed up with Dorothy Agency, he had problems getting and retaining tenants. The agency suggested minor aesthetic improvements to his houses, which made them more appealing to prospective tenants.

“Since property agencies know how rents within a region compare, we usually suggest optimum rental pricing for maximum tenant profit and tenant retention. That way, the property doesn’t stay vacant for long because of extremely high rents and the landlord does not lose revenue due to abnormally low rates,” Mrs Wanjiru offers. She adds that property agencies usually go the extra mile of advertising the property, thus ensuring shorter vacancy cycles.

As a landlord, dealing with tenants who default on rent and damage your property can be a harrowing experience. So when selecting tenants, you should be able to identify the ones who will not only take good care of your property, but are can also consistently pay rent on time. “Prevention is better than cure. Getting the right tenant will save you the money, time and stress of evictions. As an agency, we have years of experience in “reading” people and can tell a serious tenant from a potential troublemaker from a mile away. Nevertheless, we put all thoroughly screen all potential tenants,” Ms Wanjiru.

“Collecting rent on time every month is the only way to ensure a consistent cash-flow,” Mrs Wanjiru says, adding that the way a landlord handles the collection of rent will determine whether he/she succeeds or fails as an investor. Noting that many landlords condone late payment of rent, Mrs Wanjiru warns that this tendency could mean a death blow to one’s enterprise. She insists that tenants should know that the agreed time for paying rent every month is not negotiable.


When her firm took over the management of Dr Omondi’s apartments, Ms Wanjiru later learnt that there was a tenant who had not paid his rent for three months, under the pretext that his sister was sick, and that he was spending all his salary on her treatment.

“I had to explain to the tenant that we were not running a charitable organisation and stood by my decision to evict him. Eventually, he backed down and paid up when I threatened legal action,” she recalls.

“For a landlord to make profits, he/she needs to enforce tough rules even if it means evicting a single mother of four who has just lost her job. If you allow them, tenants will form the habit of mercilessly walking over you. When you use a property agency to collect your rent, you put a buffer between you and your tenants. The agency, which can claim that it’s only doing its job, is the one that is tasked with listening to excuses and evicting bad tenants if necessary.”

Managing property comes with its fair share of legal responsibilities, so a landlord needs to be conversant with the current laws governing his relations with the tenants. Mrs Wanjiru notes that there are some tenants who have perfected the habit of not paying rent and every time the landlord plans to evict them, they threaten legal action. In order to safeguard yourself from potential law-suits, she suggest that you get a property agency to manage your rentals since the agencies are skilled in navigating legal issues such as evictions, inspections, handling security deposits and terminating leases.

“On a few occasions we have had to sue tenants at the Rent Restriction Tribunal and hence managed to recover unpaid rent legally,” she reveals.

Unless you are ready to employ a qualified accountant, the financial aspect that comes with managing the property might just overwhelm you. “We prepare monthly profit and loss statements for our clients and even file tax returns for them,” she says.


Questions to help you determine whether You need a property management firm

1. How far you live from your property; can you visit it on regularly?

2. Are you willing to give up control of your property?

3. Your tolerance for dealing with tenants; can you cope with the stress that comes with it?

4. How well you understand the laws on landlord-tenant relationships?

5. How many rental properties do you have?

6. Are you struggling to fill your vacancies?

7. Are you experienced enough with regard to repairs and maintenance?

8. Are you capable of dealing with remitting taxes and accounting of your property?

9. Are you willing to be on call 24/7?

10. Are you prepared to confront and evict tenants who don’t pay their rent on time?


Tips on choosing the right property agency

Looking up a prospective property management enterprise on social media before signing them up can go a long way in helping you avoid future problems,” Ms Wanjiru says.

If you decide to engage the services of a property management company to take care of your investment, getting a reliable agency can still be quite a challenge.

Mr Eliud Kipkorir, a Nakuru-based real estate agent with Daima Prime Agencies, notes that there the property management scene is flooded by such a huge number of firms that it is difficult to separate genuine players from unscrupulous ones.

“The property management industry has a low entry bar, and this makes it susceptible to dilution by unqualified businessmen masquerading as professionals. Some of the people who set up property management firms are only out to make a quick buck from a landlord’s investment,” cautions Mr Kipkorir, who advises property owners to be vigilant in order to avoid dealing with agencies that are only out to cause trouble.

“When choosing a property agency to hand over your investment to, you should bear in mind that this is an important partnership that can either either allow you to swim or sink. Thus, you should vet prospective agencies as thoroughly as you would any potential business partner, and you should be on the lookout for factors such as organisation, honesty and length of experience,” he continues.

While searching for a property agency, the first step, Mr Kipkorir says, should involve speaking to real estate agents and other property owners within the area in order to get referrals. While speaking to fellow landlords, ask them what they like most about their current property managers

• Property managers are experienced in the business and are, therefore, better able to deal with wayward tenants as well as ensure that any necessary repairs are done quickly.

• A property management company does not necessarily mean diminished revenues. When Dr Omondi signed up with Dorothy Agency, he had problems getting and retaining tenants.

• The agency suggested minor aesthetic improvements to his houses, which made them more appealing to prospective tenants.

• “Since property agencies know how rents within a region compare, we usually suggest optimum rental pricing for maximum tenant profit and tenant retention.

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How to Deal With Noisy Tenants

Midnight Guitarist

Every Tenant deserves peace and quiet. But people interpret “quiet” in different ways, which can lead to uncomfortable situations for landlords.

For example, consider this true story that I call “The Case of the Midnight Guitarist.” The landlord, a friend of mine who owns several properties in Nairobi Kasarani and Mwiki, told me about a musician who lived in one of two rental units in a quiet, creek-side setting.

My landlord friend asked the guitarist to wear headphones, but he refused. All the renters had signed a standard rental agreement that failed to address noise issues, so my friend faced a quandary.

What is Quiet Enjoyment?

An implied warranty between the tenant and landlord, a provision for “quiet enjoyment” may contain the word “quiet,” but that doesn’t necessarily proscribe noise. It simply means that the tenant is entitled to undisturbed use of the premises. Courts read this warranty into every lease, whether or not it’s expressly stated.

One Person’s Noise is Another’s Music

It’s difficult to make everyone happy all the time. In the case of the midnight guitarist, one set of tenants was disturbed. But the guitarist viewed the noise he created as inspiring. As far as he was concerned, his guitar playing constituted quiet enjoyment of the premises.

After my friend received several complaints, he voluntarily granted the aggrieved tenants a rent reduction to encourage them to stay. My friend lost money, because of his failure to address noise in the lease.

A properly worded lease can provide much-needed leverage.

The landlord’s bottom line was affected the most, because he failed to address noise in the lease.

Avoid Generic Rental Agreements

My friend used a generic California rental agreement downloaded from the internet. It contained no specific quiet enjoyment clause and did not address noise at all. Covering little more than rental payments, late fees, and security deposits, it left most other issues—such as maintenance and usage guidelines—open.

More sophisticated leases usually contain a quiet enjoyment clause, but it generally covers the use of the unit itself—not the impact of the tenant’s use on other renters. It is possible, however, to include language concerning noise in that clause. Moreover, the clause can contain a caveat, such as “subject to all terms and provisions of this lease,” and the lease can address potential disturbances in a separate clause.

Enforce Quiet Hours

An effective way to ensure equal enjoyment of quiet time for all tenants is to specify hours during which noise is to be kept to a minimum. These hours may differ on weekdays and weekends, but they typically begin at 10 p.m. The lease should specify that “quiet time” applies to guests as well as tenants.

Also check with your local county or town code enforcement office. They might already have noise ordinances in place, which you could enforce. The great thing about noise ordinances is that if a tenant doesn’t comply, you can call the police and they will enforce it for you.

Resolving Disputes

Even if all renters agree to a “quiet hours” clause, it can be difficult to resolve a dispute. Different people tend to have different noise thresholds.

Landlords typically use some of the following criteria to help them adjudicate noise complaints:

  • Multiple complaints.
    Has more than one tenant complained? Multiple complaints carry more weight than one from a (possibly oversensitive) individual.
  • Recurring issues.
    Are complaints recurring? This points to a pattern of willful disturbance.
  • Actions to remedy.
    Have any steps been taken to address the source of the noise? The Midnight Guitarist, for example, may have tried turning down the volume.
  • Documentation and credibility.
    Has the complaining tenant documented instances of disturbances? Dates, times, and estimates of noise levels are all helpful.


The quiet hours lease clause should also specify penalties for violation. Eviction should be an option but not the only one. A monetary penalty should prevent recurrences in most cases.

A Sample “Quiet Enjoyment” Clause

While the exact language to use in a quiet hours clause may vary from state to state, a typical one might look something like the following:

Bottom Line

Keeping the peace among tenants with different noise tolerances must done. Clear language in the lease makes the job easier and may save landlords money.

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