Bizzare designs from Kenyan landlords that sparked debate

Necessity continued to drive innovations in the real estate sector, forcing landlords to come up with new designs to address myriad housing challenges.

The decision to solve the problems facing the real estate sector has led landlords to unveil interior and exterior designs that have sparked debate among tenants and other Kenyans.

Occasionally, some constructions have been bizarrely executed, with a toilet sink in the living room, or a toilet bowl in the kitchen in some homes in Nairobi.

Other landlords are building mini skyscrapers that are extremely narrow stairs and narrow corridors

Photo collage between a toilet and sink opposite another toilet

Photo collage between a toilet and a sink opposite another toilet in a house


In 2018, a skyscraper under construction in Kayole, Nairobi, caused outrage and forced then-Governor of Nairobi Mike Mbuvi Sonko to order the demolition† The narrow five-story building relied on other houses for support.

Since the exterior flaws were easily noticed, landlords turned to designing the interiors to meet the rising rental demand.

A 2020 report from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicates that homes in Nairobi are shrinking as landlords rush to attract tenants.

Developers are targeting renters rushing into town for low-income jobs. The rising population in Nairobi and rising land prices are also affecting building designs.

Landlords are thus forced to think outside the box with a few suitable squat toilets in the same room as the bathroom.

To maximize the available space, some put sinks and cabinets in very odd positions in the house.

As weather conditions vary across the country, a number of developers in some estates have installed water heaters on their sinks, fueling the debate over tenant safety.

Further, questions arose as to whether such hazardous designs have been approved by the National Construction Authority (NCA).

Tenants also complained that newly built houses have different sets of tiles and paintings.

However, some landlords have embraced smart design and automation to attract tenants.

An apartment building in Nairobi.

An apartment building in Nairobi.


The landlords lure buyers with internet-furnished homes in combination with intercoms, camera surveillance, gas meter systems, automated parking systems, automatic gates and automated garden sprinklers.

Automated rental collection, correspondence with tenantshouse cleaning, security, support, front house, technical support and space planning also act as incentives.

Landlords also use Virtual Reality (VR) to allow customers to view pre-developed or turnkey homes.

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