Congestion and high cost of living in Nairobi prompted most residents to move to the outskirts, including Kiambu to seek cheaper accommodation. Besides being close to the city, renting a house in Kiambu was relatively cheaper.
But this is no longer the case with the tenants in the area crying foul over the high rents being charged as a result of house demands.
Daniel Mwangi, a tenant at Kiringiri in the outskirts of Kiambu town, said the rent has been shooting up at an alarming rate.
Mwangi said in most flats, when a tenant vacates, landlords set new rates even without making any renovations.
Before when the houses were fewer, Mwangi said a single room went for between Sh1,200 and Sh2,000 but has now shot to Sh4,000, a double room cost between Sh3,000 and Sh4,000 but now it has gone up to Sh6,000.
For instance at Kirigiti, a one bedroom in one of the flats is going for Sh8,000 while in adjacent flats, the same house is being rented out at Sh10,500.
Josephine Nyambura said landlords have taken advantage of the increased demand, saying her house rent has gone up from Sh6,000 per month two years ago to Sh10,000 now, without water and electricity charges. Three years back, a two bedroom house in Ruaka was going for Sh7,000 but due to high demand, the landlords are now charging Sh16,000 and above. Business premises too have been affected.
Paul Muhoho, a property owner, agrees high rates are frustrating low income earners, saying last year he was forced to lower his house rate after it remained unoccupied for some time.
John Mwaniki, a director at Jekmas Services, a real estate and property management company with interests in Kiambu and Nairobi, said lack of a body to control the rents is to blame, adding that there is no justifiable reason for the regular increments.
â€œTo solve this, the Government must have a strong tribunal, which will set the rent,â€ he added. –The Standard