How to Rent an Apartment in Nairobi


Renting an apartment in your home country is always hectic enough, the stress doubles when it comes to renting an apartment in a foreign land that you know very little about. It is like sailing in unknown and uncharted sea territories with little to no sailing experience and no sailing equipment apart from the boat you are in. Luckily, here at Discovery Walks we have got your back and here is how to rent an apartment in Nairobi.

From 1907 Nairobi has been the capital city of Kenya. Nairobi was founded in 1899 by the colonial authorities of British East Africa as a rail depot on the Uganda-Kenya Railway. It is the largest city in the country and it is also referred to as the Green City in the Sun. The name Nairobi comes from the Maasai, an ethnic group in Kenya, phase Enkare Nairobi meaning “cool water” in reference to the Nairobi River that flows through the city. A fun fact to know is that the city is home to the Nairobi National Park, a large game reserve tasked with breeding endangered black rhinos and home to giraffes, zebras and lions.

In Nairobi the most popular available options for renting are either furnished or unfurnished apartments. For those not planning to say long in the city furnished apartments is the best way to go. It is also a good option for those planning a longer stay and don’t want to go household shopping or be burdened with disposing off of the furniture when their stay comes to an end. For those who want to personalize their new home unfurnished apartments is the best option for you.

Before renting an apartment, it is important to first consider the following things.

1. Your budget

Old Kenya Currency – Wikipedia

If your stay is long term and you want to rent on a monthly basis it is important to know that most landlords or house agents in Nairobi require you to pay a deposit, which in most circumstances is the same amount as the rent, and the actual rent itself for that month; meaning that the first month you pay double rent. The deadline for most rent payment is usually the 5th of every month and failure to pay on time attracts a penalty of even up to Ksh. 1,000 per day.

You can rent on a daily basis if you are planning on a short stay. It is important to know that in most apartments you will be required to pay 50% upfront of the total cost depending on the number of days you are planning to stay. Upon your departure, you pay the remaining 50%. Failure to show up or complete the agreed-upon days results in a penalty.

With this in mind, it is important to gauge your budget because there is no need to feel the pressure of paying high rent yet you can live comfortably in an apartment that lies within your financial range.

2. Personal preferences

Red or Blue pill – Wikipedia

It is always important to stay in a place that best meets your needs. Failure to consider these wants and needs results in frequent expensive moving or a horrible vacation. Identify what kind of apartment you want; spacious enough for the entire family or a single-roomed apartment for yourself only, a fully furnished apartment that will only require you to do food shopping or an unfurnished apartment that you need to move in with some furniture and utensils, an apartment in a serene urbanization free environment or an apartment that is near the road with the sound of hooting and speeding cars waking you up early in the morning.

Also, identify which region in Nairobi you want to stay for easy commuting to the places you are planning to visit.

After accounting for the above factors this is when you start the process of searching for an apartment.

3. Search online

Google Homepage – Wikipedia

Take your time to search for your dream apartment in the very many Nairobi apartment websites. Highlight the apartments that pick your interest, meet your personal preference and are within your budget. Don’t rely heavy on one apartment instead choose at least ten apartments which you can eventually narrow down and settle on the best option for you.

From the selected apartment learn more about the surrounding, additional amenities available and other relevant information you can find online. It is also important to read peoples reviews on their experience at the apartment. From the information, you can further narrow down your list eliminating the apartments that failed to meet your expectations.

4. Contact the apartment personnel

Telephone – Wikipedia

Find out if there are available apartments and if the information you have gotten online is accurate. Once satisfied ask any questions you may have about the process of booking an apartment, how to get to the apartment from the airport, are pets allowed in the building and any other relevant questions you may be having.

For a more precise view of the apartment, you can request for a real-time tour of the apartment via WhatsApp, skype or any other online platform you agree on. You have to appreciate modern technology, visiting an apartment which is miles from you while sited on your couch.

With all this information in mind choose the apartment that checks out most of the boxes on your list. Contact the apartment again and make your booking providing all the relevant information that is needed. Some hotels might require you to deposit some money so that they can book a specific apartment for you.

5. Agree on the lease agreement

Contract – Wikipedia

Now that you have made your booking make sure that you get a copy of the lease agreement. Carefully go through the lease agreement and confirm it contains what you actually agreed upon before signing it and resenting it to the apartment agents. Always make sure that you keep your own copy of the contract preferably the original but a copy is as good.

Having done all that all I’m left with is to welcome you to the beautiful city of Nairobi and hope you enjoy your new home away from home.