In Summary

  • “For landlords who are busy and have  little experience in property management, it can be disastrous to hand their assets to a third party, especially if the individual does not live up to the landlord’s expectations,” says Ms Dorothy Wanjiru, a property management agent based in Ruiru.
  • House owners should place their assets in the hands of a reputable company that knows how to go about the business and can follow up in case a tenant becomes troublesome. 
  • It is paramount to understand the relationship between the landlord, property manager and the tenant.

Aware of the acute accommodation shortage in public universities, Ms Priscilla Mwangi decided to invest in a hostel in Gwa-Kairu in Ruiru, Kiambu County, in 2008.  

But after eight months of juggling between managing it and overseeing the construction of another hostel, she was overwhelmed.

 “The work was becoming too hectic. Students need a lot of attention since they have diverse needs. I realised I needed a property manager, so I hired one,” says Ms Mwangi.

However, in less than two months, the number of tenants started declining; in fact, some rooms would remain vacant for months. Her efforts to find out what the problem was from the manager yielded nothing. Since that had never happened under her watch, she believed the problem had to do with the manager, so she fired the manager.

“I hired another manager and things started improving but after about a month, they took a turn for the worse,” says Ms Mwangi.

Upon investigating to establish the cause of the problem, Ms Mwangi learnt that both property managers had been irresponsible; cleaning was done irregularly, and they gave female tenants preferential treatment.

“One of the students told me that pretty girls rarely ever got into trouble for playing loud music, unlike the not-so-beautiful girls and the men,” she says.

But with a second project ongoing, she still needed a manager for her hostel. “This time I hired someone I trusted, and a woman for a change.  She has managed the property since then and the results are remarkable,” Ms Mwangi says.

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