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Pay TV, internet services heat up race for tenants in Nairobi

By Xhinua and Metro Reporter

Tall, slender or elegant is the best way one can describe the building whose walls are tiled from top to bottom on the east of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.

But its elegance is only one of things that make it attractive to tenants, despite having been completed about three months ago. The owner of the building has installed free pay TV and WiFi (internet) for tenants, which made many of them ditch their previous flats and relocated to it, despite the rent being slightly higher.
The pay TV and internet services are among things property developers in Nairobi are offering their tenants as competition for better yields and renters heats up.
Initially, the competition for tenants was on tilling the floors of the houses and installing wardrobes in bedrooms.
But with that having become basic, property developers have taken the game a notice higher as they mainly build high-rise houses, some that have up to seven floors.
The buildings being constructed in middle-income suburbs consist of two and three bedroom hours that are a favourite with Kenyan families.
“I shifted to this house because of the free WiFi and pay TV services,” said Andrew Muli, who is living in the six-storey building located in Tena, Umoja.
It is about two months since he relocated and the pharmaceutical worker said he is enjoying every moment in his two- bedroom flat.
“Here I am paying 287 U.S. dollars for the house, which is 23 dollars higher than what I used to pay in my previous house, about 200 metres away.”
Muli acknowledged that he was lured to the flat by its elegance, besides the pay TV and internet.
While he knows he is paying for the services because of the higher rent, the pharmacist does not mind as long as he has his internet and watches his favourite programmes on TV.
“What I liked about the flat is that the landlord went out of his way to ensure we have the services, which ordinarily we would still procure by ourselves if he had not done so. He has saved us a great deal, the reason why many of us have been attracted to the houses.”
As many other tenants in the capital, what Muli looks in houses before he moves in include security, water, tiled floors, wardrobes and auxiliary services like pay TV.
Antony Kuyo, a real estate consultant in Nairobi, noted that gone are the days when all what the Kenyan tenant looked for was a roof over their heads.
“Having the four walls and a roof to shelter them from bad weather is now not enough. People want to enjoy staying in their houses. And how else to do this than have the floors of their houses tiled and pay TV and internet services installed.”
In high-end areas of Nairobi, according to Kuyo, tenants are demanding more.
“They will not rent a house if it does not have closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras for security. Security is a major concern among many in the capital.” With the changing trends, Kuyo noted landlords cannot rest on their laurels.
“If they do not get the services at your flat, they will certainly get them from elsewhere,” said Kuyo, as he noted most of those demanding for auxiliary services are young people.
In its second quarter report released last week, HassConsult, a real estate firm noted rent in Nairobi had risen on average by 2.7 percent during the period.

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