Finding Housing as an Expat in Kenya

1. What are the different types of housing options available for expats in Kenya?

1. As an expat in Kenya, there are various housing options available to suit different preferences and budgets. These include:

– Apartments and Condominiums: Many expats choose to live in apartments or condominiums in urban areas like Nairobi and Mombasa. These can range from luxury high-rise buildings to more modest complexes.

– Houses and Villas: Expats looking for more space and privacy often opt for standalone houses or villas. These can be found in gated communities or residential neighborhoods.

– Serviced Accommodations: Some expats prefer the convenience of serviced apartments or furnished homes, which typically include housekeeping, maintenance, and other amenities.

– Shared Housing: For those on a budget or looking for a more communal living experience, shared housing options like shared apartments or co-living spaces are available in major cities.

– Temporary Accommodations: Expats who have just relocated to Kenya may choose to stay in temporary accommodations such as hotels, guesthouses, or Airbnb rentals while they search for a more permanent housing solution.

Overall, expats in Kenya have a diverse range of housing options to choose from, catering to different needs and preferences during their stay in the country.

2. How can expats search for housing in Kenya before relocating?

1. Expats looking for housing in Kenya before relocating can start their search online through various real estate websites, such as Property24, BuyRentKenya, and Jumia House. These platforms provide a wide range of options for different preferences and budgets, allowing expats to browse through listings and get an idea of the housing market in Kenya.

2. Networking with other expats or local contacts in Kenya can also be invaluable in finding suitable housing options. Joining expat groups or forums on social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn can help connect with others who have already gone through the process of finding housing in Kenya. They can provide recommendations, tips, and even potential leads on available properties.

3. Engaging the services of a reputable real estate agent or relocation specialist in Kenya can streamline the housing search process for expats. These professionals have local knowledge and expertise to assist expats in finding the right accommodation that meets their needs and preferences. They can also help navigate through legalities and paperwork involved in renting or buying a property in Kenya.

3. What are the best neighborhoods for expats to live in Kenya?

The best neighborhoods for expats to live in Kenya vary depending on personal preferences and lifestyle. However, some of the most popular and recommended areas include:

1. Karen: Located in Nairobi, Karen is known for its upscale and peaceful environment. It offers spacious homes with large compounds, excellent schools, and proximity to amenities such as shopping malls and restaurants.

2. Lavington: Another affluent neighborhood in Nairobi, Lavington is favored by many expats for its gated communities, secure environment, and proximity to international schools and diplomatic missions.

3. Nyali: For those looking to live in Mombasa, Nyali is a preferred choice for expats. This coastal neighborhood boasts beautiful beaches, modern housing options, and a vibrant expat community.

It’s essential for expats to consider factors such as proximity to work, security, access to amenities, and lifestyle preferences when choosing a neighborhood to live in Kenya. Conducting thorough research and seeking advice from local real estate agents can help expats find the perfect housing option that fits their needs and budget.

4. What documents are required to rent a property as an expat in Kenya?

When renting a property as an expat in Kenya, there are certain documents that are typically required by landlords or real estate agents. These documents may include:

1. Passport or other valid identification: Landlords will often request a copy of your passport as proof of your identity.

2. Work permit or residency permit: Landlords may ask for a copy of your work permit or residency permit to validate your legal status in the country.

3. Letter of employment: Providing a letter from your employer stating your job position, salary, and duration of employment can help build trust with the landlord.

4. Bank statements or proof of income: Landlords may request bank statements or other proof of income to ensure you have the financial means to pay rent.

Additionally, some landlords may require references from previous landlords or colleagues to vouch for your character and reliability as a tenant. It’s essential to be prepared with these documents when looking for housing as an expat in Kenya to make the rental process smoother and quicker.

5. How does the rental process work in Kenya for expats?

The rental process in Kenya for expats generally follows a standard procedure, with some specific considerations to keep in mind:

1. Research: Expats looking for housing in Kenya should begin by researching the different neighborhoods and types of properties available. Websites like Jumia House and BuyRentKenya are popular platforms for finding rental listings.

2. Property Viewing: Once a potential property is identified, expats can schedule viewings with the property manager or landlord. It is important to view the property in person to assess its condition and suitability.

3. Lease Agreement: If the expat decides to proceed with renting a property, they will be required to sign a lease agreement with the landlord. This document outlines the terms of the tenancy, including the rental price, duration, deposit amount, and any other conditions.

4. Payment: Expats will typically be required to pay a security deposit (usually equivalent to one or two months’ rent) and the first month’s rent upfront before moving into the property. It is essential to obtain a receipt for all payments made.

5. Legal Considerations: Expats should ensure that the lease agreement complies with Kenyan rental laws and regulations. Seeking legal advice or assistance from a real estate agent familiar with expat rentals can help navigate any legal complexities.

Overall, the rental process in Kenya for expats is relatively straightforward, as long as they conduct thorough research, negotiate favorable terms, and abide by local regulations.

6. What are the average rental prices for different types of housing in Kenya?

1. The average rental prices for different types of housing in Kenya can vary significantly based on the location, type of property, amenities, and demand in the area. In major cities like Nairobi, the capital city, and Mombasa, which is a popular coastal destination, the prices are generally higher compared to smaller towns and rural areas.

2. For a one-bedroom apartment in Nairobi’s central business district (CBD), you can expect to pay between $400 to $800 per month depending on the building and its proximity to amenities.

3. A two-bedroom apartment in a desirable neighborhood such as Westlands or Kilimani in Nairobi may range from $600 to $1200 per month.

4. If you are looking for a standalone house or a villa in upscale areas like Lavington or Kitisuru, prices can start from $1500 and go up to several thousand dollars per month, depending on the size, amenities, and location.

5. In Mombasa, where the cost of living is generally lower than in Nairobi, rental prices for similar properties can be around 30% to 40% cheaper, with beachfront properties commanding premium rates.

6. It is essential to engage a reputable real estate agent or use online platforms to compare prices, negotiate terms, and ensure the safety and legality of the rental agreement when seeking housing in Kenya as an expat. Additionally, factors such as proximity to amenities, security, and accessibility to public transport should also be considered when choosing a place to live.

7. Are furnished apartments readily available for expats in Kenya?

Yes, furnished apartments are readily available for expats in Kenya. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Many real estate agencies and online platforms specifically cater to expats and offer a range of furnished apartments in popular expat areas like Nairobi and Mombasa.

2. Furnished apartments can vary in terms of amenities and style, from modern apartments in high-rise buildings to cozy townhouses in gated communities.

3. The rental prices for furnished apartments are generally higher than unfurnished ones due to the convenience and extra cost of providing furniture and appliances.

4. Expats may find it easier to secure a furnished apartment compared to an unfurnished one, especially if they are only staying in Kenya for a short period of time.

Overall, expats in Kenya have a good selection of furnished apartments to choose from, making the process of finding housing in the country more convenient and hassle-free.

8. What are the factors expats should consider when choosing a place to live in Kenya?

When choosing a place to live in Kenya as an expat, there are several important factors to consider:

1. Location: Consider the proximity to your workplace or children’s school, access to amenities such as supermarkets, hospitals, and recreational facilities.

2. Safety: Research the crime rate in the area you are considering and choose a neighborhood with good security measures in place.

3. Cost of living: Take into account the cost of rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, and other expenses in the area to ensure it is within your budget.

4. Housing options: Decide whether you prefer to rent an apartment, house, or consider other housing options such as serviced apartments or gated communities.

5. Infrastructure: Check the quality of roads, availability of public transportation, internet connectivity, and utilities like electricity and water supply in the area.

6. Cultural considerations: Understand the local customs, language, and lifestyle of the community you are considering to ensure a smooth transition and integration.

7. Healthcare facilities: Ensure there are good medical facilities and hospitals nearby in case of emergencies or routine healthcare needs.

8. Community and social life: Consider the presence of expat communities, social activities, clubs, and opportunities for networking to help you settle in and make friends in your new location.

9. Are there any cultural considerations expats should keep in mind when looking for housing in Kenya?

When looking for housing as an expat in Kenya, there are several cultural considerations to keep in mind to ensure a smooth transition and respectful interaction with the local community:

1. Respect for different cultural norms: Kenya is a diverse country with various ethnic groups, each with its own customs and traditions. It is important to be aware of and respect these cultural differences when interacting with landlords, neighbors, and community members.

2. Greetings and communication: Greetings are an important part of Kenyan culture, so expats should make an effort to greet people in a respectful manner, such as using “Jambo” (hello) or “Karibu” (welcome). Politeness and friendly communication are highly valued in Kenya.

3. Dress code: Depending on the area, there may be specific dress codes to adhere to. In some communities, it is important to dress modestly, especially for women. Expats should familiarize themselves with the local dress norms to avoid causing offense.

4. Respect for religious practices: Kenya is a religiously diverse country, with Christianity, Islam, and traditional African religions being prominent. It is important to respect and be mindful of religious practices in the community when selecting housing.

5. Gender roles and interactions: Gender roles may vary in different parts of Kenya, and it is important to be aware of and respect these differences. Expats should be mindful of cultural expectations around gender interactions in their housing search and daily interactions.

By being mindful of these cultural considerations and showing respect for the local customs and traditions, expats can enhance their experience of finding housing in Kenya and foster positive relationships with the local community.

10. How safe is it for expats to live in Kenya and what security measures should they consider?

As an expat living in Kenya, safety is a valid concern. Kenya, like any other country, has its security challenges, but expats generally find it safe to live in the country as long as they take necessary precautions. To enhance their safety, expats should consider the following security measures:

1. Secure Accommodation: Choose a secure neighborhood or gated community for housing. Look for properties with security features such as gates, alarms, and guards.

2. Travel Safety: Be cautious when moving around the city, especially at night. Use reputable taxi services or public transportation. Avoid displaying valuables in public.

3. Personal Security: Be aware of your surroundings and avoid risky areas. Keep important documents and valuables secure at all times.

4. Local Knowledge: Understand the local culture and customs to avoid unintentionally putting yourself in risky situations.

5. Emergency Contacts: Keep a list of emergency contacts handy, including the nearest police station, hospital, and your country’s embassy.

6. Insurance: Obtain comprehensive health and travel insurance to cover any unexpected events.

Overall, by being vigilant, informed, and taking necessary security measures, expats can enjoy a safe and comfortable living experience in Kenya.

11. What are the best resources or websites to search for housing as an expat in Kenya?

As an expat looking for housing in Kenya, some of the best resources and websites to search for accommodation include:

1. Property websites like BuyRentKenya and Property24 which list a wide range of properties available for rent or purchase in various locations across the country.

2. Real estate agencies such as Knight Frank, HassConsult, and Pam Golding Properties, which specialize in assisting expats in finding suitable housing options based on their preferences and budget.

3. Social media platforms like Facebook groups dedicated to real estate in Kenya, where expats can connect with property owners and agents directly.

4. Online expat forums such as and InterNations, where expats share their housing experiences, recommendations, and tips for finding accommodation in Kenya.

By leveraging these resources and websites, expats can access a diverse range of housing options tailored to their needs, thus facilitating a smoother transition and settling process in Kenya.

12. Are there any specific rules or regulations expats should be aware of when renting a property in Kenya?

When renting a property in Kenya as an expat, there are several key rules and regulations to be aware of:

1. Lease Agreements: It is important to carefully review and understand the terms of the lease agreement before signing. Ensure that all relevant details regarding rent amount, duration, deposit requirements, and maintenance responsibilities are clearly outlined.

2. Tenancy Laws: Familiarize yourself with the Kenyan landlord and tenant laws to understand your rights and obligations. These laws cover issues such as rent increments, eviction procedures, and dispute resolution mechanisms.

3. Foreign Ownership: Non-Kenyan citizens may face restrictions on owning property in certain areas, so it is crucial to confirm the legal status of the property and seek advice from a legal advisor if needed.

4. Security Deposits: Landlords in Kenya commonly require a security deposit, which should be refundable at the end of the tenancy period, subject to the property’s condition. Ensure that the amount and terms for refund are clearly specified in the lease agreement.

5. Utility Payments: Clarify with the landlord whether utility bills such as water, electricity, and internet are included in the rent or if they are the tenant’s responsibility. This will help avoid any unexpected costs during your tenancy.

6. Maintenance and Repairs: Understand who is responsible for carrying out maintenance and repairs within the property. This should be clearly stated in the lease agreement to avoid disputes in the future.

By familiarizing yourself with these rules and regulations, expats can navigate the rental process in Kenya more effectively and ensure a smooth and compliant tenancy experience.

13. How can expats negotiate rental prices in Kenya?

Negotiating rental prices as an expat in Kenya can be a common practice and can help you secure a better deal on your housing. Here are some tips on how to negotiate rental prices effectively:

1. Research the Market: Begin by researching the current rental market in your desired location in Kenya. Understand the average rental prices for similar properties in the area to have a realistic benchmark for negotiation.

2. Consider the Timing: Timing can be key when negotiating rental prices. Landlords may be more willing to negotiate lower prices during slower rental seasons or when the property has been vacant for a while.

3. Highlight Your Strengths: Showcase your strengths as a tenant, such as stable income, good references, or willingness to sign a longer lease. This can make you a more attractive tenant and give you leverage in negotiations.

4. Point Out Flaws or Market Conditions: If the property has any noticeable flaws or there are market conditions that suggest a lower rental price is justified, use these points to negotiate a lower rate.

5. Offer to Pay Upfront or Sign a Longer Lease: Landlords may be more inclined to lower the rent if you offer to pay several months in advance or sign a longer lease. This can provide them with more security and give you bargaining power.

6. Be Polite and Professional: Approach negotiations with a positive and professional attitude. Being respectful and polite can go a long way in reaching a mutually beneficial agreement with the landlord.

Remember that negotiation is a common practice in Kenya, so don’t be afraid to make a reasonable offer and engage in discussions with the landlord to find a rental price that works for both parties.

14. Are there any expat-friendly housing agencies or services in Kenya?

Yes, there are several expat-friendly housing agencies and services in Kenya that cater specifically to the needs of expatriates. Some of these agencies offer personalized assistance to help expats find accommodation that suits their preferences and requirements, such as location, budget, and amenities. These agencies often have partnerships with landlords and property managers, making the process of finding housing as an expat much smoother and efficient. Additionally, some agencies offer services beyond just finding a place to live, such as assisting with lease negotiations, property inspections, and legal matters related to renting property in Kenya. It’s advisable for expatriates relocating to Kenya to seek out reputable housing agencies to facilitate their search for comfortable and secure accommodation in the country. Some of the well-known expat-friendly housing agencies in Kenya include:

1. BuyRentKenya
2. Pam Golding Properties
3. Knight Frank Kenya
4. HassConsult
5. Villa Care Ltd.

15. What amenities are typically included in rental properties for expats in Kenya?

Rental properties for expats in Kenya typically offer a range of amenities to cater to the needs and preferences of foreign residents. Some of the amenities that are commonly included in rental properties for expats in Kenya are:

1. Security: Most rental properties for expats in Kenya come equipped with 24/7 security features such as gated compounds, CCTV surveillance, and security guards to ensure the safety of residents.

2. Furnished or semi-furnished units: Many rental properties in Kenya targeting expats come fully furnished or semi-furnished, including essential household items such as furniture, appliances, and kitchenware.

3. High-speed internet and cable TV: Access to reliable internet connectivity and cable TV services is often included in rental properties for expats to facilitate communication and entertainment needs.

4. Generator backup: Given the occasional power outages in Kenya, rental properties for expats often provide generator backup to ensure uninterrupted power supply.

5. Swimming pool and gym facilities: Some upscale rental properties for expats in Kenya offer additional amenities such as swimming pools, gyms, and recreational facilities for residents to relax and unwind.

6. Parking: Most rental properties in Kenya provide designated parking spaces for residents, either within the compound or in nearby parking lots.

Overall, rental properties for expats in Kenya prioritize comfort, security, and convenience, providing a range of amenities to ensure a pleasant living experience for foreign residents.

16. What are the common challenges expats face when finding housing in Kenya?

1. Limited Availability: One common challenge that expats face when finding housing in Kenya is the limited availability of suitable accommodation. The demand for quality housing often exceeds the supply, leading to high competition and limited choices for expatriates.

2. High Rental Prices: Another challenge is the relatively high rental prices in major cities like Nairobi and Mombasa. Expats may find themselves paying premium rates for housing that meets their standards, which can put a strain on their budget.

3. Discrimination: Some expats may face discrimination from landlords or real estate agents based on their nationality, race, or other factors. This can make it difficult for expatriates to secure housing in certain areas or developments.

4. Unfamiliarity with Local Market: Many expats may struggle with navigating the local real estate market in Kenya, particularly if they are not familiar with the local customs, laws, and rental practices. This lack of knowledge can lead to misunderstandings and challenges in finding suitable housing.

5. Language Barrier: For expats who are not proficient in Swahili or local languages, communication barriers can arise when dealing with landlords, agents, or property managers. Misunderstandings due to language issues can make the housing search process more difficult.

6. Lengthy Approval Processes: The process of securing rental accommodation in Kenya may be complex and time-consuming, involving paperwork, references, and background checks. Expats may find it challenging to navigate these processes efficiently, especially if they are on a tight timeline.

7. Lack of Furnished Options: Expats who prefer furnished accommodation may find limited options available in Kenya, especially outside of major urban centers. This can make it challenging for expatriates who are looking for ready-to-move-in housing options.

8. Inconsistent Quality: The quality of rental properties in Kenya can vary widely, and expats may struggle to find housing that meets their expectations in terms of amenities, cleanliness, and maintenance standards. This inconsistency can make the housing search process frustrating for expatriates.

In conclusion, expats in Kenya face various challenges when finding housing, including limited availability, high rental prices, discrimination, unfamiliarity with the local market, language barriers, lengthy approval processes, lack of furnished options, and inconsistent quality of properties. Overcoming these challenges may require careful research, effective communication, and patience in navigating the local real estate landscape.

17. How can expats find roommates or housemates in Kenya?

Finding roommates or housemates as an expat in Kenya can be a great way to share living costs and create a sense of community in a new country. Here are some ways expats can find roommates or housemates in Kenya:

1. Online Platforms: Utilize websites and online platforms such as, Roomsync, and Facebook groups specifically for expats or housing in Kenya to connect with potential roommates.

2. Social Media: Join expat groups on social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to network with other expats who may be looking for roommates.

3. Real Estate Agencies: Contact local real estate agencies in Kenya that specialize in expat housing to inquire about roommate matching services or listings for shared accommodations.

4. Expatriate Networking Events: Attend expatriate networking events or social gatherings in Kenya where you can meet other expats who may be looking for roommates.

5. Word of Mouth: Spread the word among your friends, colleagues, or acquaintances in Kenya that you are looking for roommates, as they may have connections or know someone who is also in search of shared housing.

By exploring these avenues and actively reaching out to potential roommates, expats in Kenya can successfully find compatible housemates to share accommodation and build a supportive living environment.

18. What are the best ways for expats to connect with the local community when searching for housing in Kenya?

When searching for housing in Kenya as an expat, it is essential to connect with the local community to facilitate the process and create a smoother transition. Some of the best ways for expats to connect with the local community include:

1. Engaging with Online Platforms: Utilize online forums, social media groups, and expat websites specific to Kenya to connect with locals who can provide valuable insights and recommendations for housing options.

2. Networking Events and Expat Groups: Attend networking events, join expat groups, and participate in local community activities to meet people and gain insider knowledge about housing opportunities in Kenya.

3. Seek Local Real Estate Agents: Collaborate with local real estate agents who are well-versed in the housing market and can assist in finding suitable accommodation that meets your needs and budget.

4. Language Exchange Programs: Participate in language exchange programs to improve language skills and interact with locals, which can open doors to housing suggestions and connections within the community.

5. Volunteer Work: Get involved in volunteer work or community projects to immerse yourself in the local culture, build relationships with residents, and potentially uncover housing leads through word-of-mouth recommendations.

By actively engaging with the local community through various channels, expats can not only find suitable housing options in Kenya but also establish meaningful connections and integrate more seamlessly into their new environment.

19. Are there any specific locations or accommodations tailored for expats in Kenya?

Yes, there are specific locations and accommodations in Kenya that are tailored for expats. Some of the popular areas where expats tend to reside in Kenya include:

1. Nairobi: The capital city of Kenya is a hub for expatriates due to its diverse range of housing options, international schools, healthcare facilities, and social amenities.
2. Mombasa: Located on the coast, Mombasa is a popular choice for expats looking for a tropical lifestyle with access to stunning beaches and a vibrant cultural scene.
3. Karen: A suburb of Nairobi, Karen is known for its upscale housing options, leafy neighborhoods, and proximity to shopping malls, restaurants, and international schools.
4. Gigiri: Home to the United Nations headquarters and various embassies, Gigiri is a secure and well-connected neighborhood popular among expats working in diplomatic circles.
5. Runda: Another affluent suburb of Nairobi, Runda offers luxurious housing options such as standalone homes, villas, and gated communities with top-notch security features.

These areas often cater to expats by offering furnished and serviced apartments, gated communities with round-the-clock security, proximity to international schools and hospitals, as well as access to recreational facilities like golf courses and membership clubs. Expats in Kenya can find housing tailored to their needs, preferences, and budget in these specific locations.

20. How can expats ensure a smooth transition into their new home in Kenya?

Ensuring a smooth transition into a new home in Kenya as an expat requires careful planning and consideration. Here are some key steps expats can take:

1. Researching the Housing Market: Before arriving in Kenya, expats should research the local housing market to understand the types of accommodations available, the average rental prices, and the best neighborhoods for expats to live in.

2. Engaging a Real Estate Agent: Working with a reputable real estate agent can make the process of finding a home in Kenya much easier. Agents can provide valuable insights, show available properties, and help negotiate rental agreements.

3. Understanding Legal Requirements: Expats need to be familiar with the legal requirements for renting a property in Kenya, including the lease agreement terms, deposit amounts, and any necessary permits or documentation.

4. Setting a Realistic Budget: It’s important for expats to set a realistic budget for their housing expenses in Kenya, taking into account rent, utilities, and any additional costs such as security fees or maintenance.

5. Checking the Property Thoroughly: Before signing a lease, expats should thoroughly inspect the property to ensure it meets their requirements and is in good condition. They should also check for any potential issues or damages that need to be addressed before moving in.

6. Seeking Recommendations: Expats can also seek recommendations from other expats, colleagues, or locals who have experience with finding housing in Kenya. They can provide valuable advice and insights based on their own experiences.

By following these steps and carefully planning their housing search, expats can ensure a smooth transition into their new home in Kenya.