If you rent a City council house in Kenya, the money you pay at the end of the month is between Kshs900 – Kshs3,500. Given these prices, everyone in Kenya is supposed to have good and affordable accommodation. But alas! That is not about to happen! Like a lot of things in Kenya, the results on paper are so much better than what is actually happening on the ground. Instead of paying Kshs3,500 for that three-bed roomed house in Nairobi, your landlord demands Kshs30,000 each month. If your salary as a Kenyan does not exceed Kshs20,000, you would be unwise to live in a house that costs more than KShs10,000 and that would be stretching it. And you would probably end up in a one-roomed house with a community bathroom in the case of residents of Nairobi. However, there is another way you can solve your housing problem in Kenya. You can get a roommate to help you meet the cost.
Think about it, several people sharing the cost of rent in Kenya has its advantages. Instead of living in a one-roomed house costing you Kshs10,000 in rent, you can pool together two more people and live in a three-bed roomed house that in essence would still cost you Kshs10,000 a month each. You will have a self contained house in Nairobi with a compound, a kitchen, a living room, and bathroom and toilet facilities in Nairobi, Kenya. It will probably be in a more secure estate in the city of Nairobi. However, this would mean finding those other individuals who will be willing to become your housemates.
How do you go about choosing a housemate?
Of course, the financial status is the most pressing issue when it comes to identifying a roomate to live with in Nairobi. You want someone to help you pay the rent so that you live in a comfortable home in Nairobi. It would not do you any favors to find someone on a shaky payroll or an irresponsible individual who will turn into a freeloader. Decide beforehand which expenses you will be responsible for and by the time the new roommate is coming, he/she should find the expenses taken care of. Do not wait until the move because that would only cause you heartache.
Knowing the schedules of your housemates in Kenya is important as this will minimize friction. Are you both working day shifts? Is your housemate on nightshift? Or does your housemate work from home? Will there be a scramble for the bathroom in the morning? Are there any rules to live by in terms of going in and going out? You may want to live totally independent lives but there is some degree of responsibility that comes when you live with someone in the same house in Nairobi.
Your hobbies, personality and cleanliness
Hobbies, especially loud ones, can drive you insane. If your housemate likes playing drums or listening to loud music and you love peace and quiet, that can grate into your nerves. You should strive to know the personality of your housemate and find out whether you can amicably solve any problems that may arise. It is also wise to find out whether your housemate cleans up after themselves or whether you will need to make a schedule for cleaning the areas you will all use.
Relationship status and need for privacy
Is your housemate in a relationship? Or is he or she dating multiple people? How do you feel about that? You need to discuss rules pertaining to having friends and family over in the rental in Nairobi. Remember, you all have equal rights to the facilities and it would be disrespectful for one person to take ownership of the amenities at all times. The need for privacy should also be discussed. You do not want to live with someone who has little respect for personal space or who will not hesitate to budge into your room wherever he or she feels like.
When done in the correct manner, living with a housemate can turn into a valuable experience. It will help you pay your bills without struggling too much and it will also help you learn vital life-skills in Kenya that you can use later on in life.