Laikipia Landlords decry low income due to reduced number of University Students

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photo by Andrew Walyaula

 

BY WALYAULA ANDREW

Landlords around Laikipia university main campus are in dilemma following the reduced number of admitted students in the past three years.

Many rooms have remained vacant making the house owners bear the dilemma of what to do.

A number of landlords spoke to this writer, expressing their fear of continuing to count on loss as the hostels they set as assets remain without people.

After Laikpia University was accorded a charter in the year 2013 by former president Mwai Kibaki, many individuals embraced the opportunity as they thought of what to invest around.

Building hostels was among the major investments that people preferred. From 2013, numerous hostels have been set up with high expectations of having tenants.

“At first, we really enjoyed as we had many tenants. Contrary to our expectations we are now pleading for tenants to rent the hostels,” said Mugo, one of the landlords.

According to Mugo, the manna in desert are over, now every landlord in collaboration with the caretaker are on the run to persuade students to rent their hostels the same way as looking for water in a desert.

Bernard Kamau is a caretaker in one of the hostels around Laikipia University and said that many of the houses are vacant and neither a landlord nor a caretaker is contended with situation.

He added that they have resorted to reducing rent in a bid to win tenants.

Mr. Kamau revealed that they used to charge twenty thousand per room, which was then reduced to sixteen thousand in a whole semester. It should be noted that hostels are charged differently depending on the facilities and proximity to the learning institution.

One-bedroom, before, it ranged from seven thousand to ten thousand and now it ranges between six thousand to eight thousand per month with deposit fee, which is refundable. In a semester, students residing in one bedroom approximately pay at least Ksh24,000 with the highest paying Ksh32,000 minus deposit fee at the moment. These are the most expensive hostels at the place.

There are also bedsitters, houses with single room and washroom within. Majority of the house owners before, they charged Ksh4,000 to Ksh7,000 but now the rent is between Ksh3500 to Ksh5000 per month with a deposit fee, which is refunded. A total Ksh14,00 to Ksh20,000 are paid in a single semester excluding deposit fee as per the moment.

Single room, houses with one room only before the rent was Ksh16,000 to Ksh20,000 and now it is at Ksh8,000 to Ksh13,000 in a whole semester.

It was also probed that previously even one room could accommodate two students as they all paid for rent. Contrary, now many of the students are opting to live individually.

Other house owners have diverted their houses from being hostels to rental houses.

According to them, this is the best way to receive tenants at any time compared to hostels which is more of accommodating students for a duration of four months. For instance, a student living in one bedroom can fail to attain the rent between the semester and move to single house, the hostels being converted to rental houses allows for monthly payment which is easier.

Students on the other continue with their learning activities at the university which is located in an interior region making life cheaper for students.