How to decide on the best off-campus hostel accommodation for you

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When choosing an apartment for your student days you need to know your price range and play around with other important factors, keeping in mind your price range.

For instance, bedsitters along Thika Road will range from 4,000, if you are determined, to 15,000 if you are, well, rich, one bedroom 6500- 15000 and so on. Is the electricity and water bill included in the rent? Is it not?

To avoid the added expense of buying furniture you could find an off-campus hostel. You could choose to split costs with friends and rent a larger house. Do check with the management though as some apartments have rules against this.

Security is a key factor what with burglary being commonplace in university towns. If you will have classes late into the evening, you do not want to be commuting to the middle of nowhere at night, especially if you are not good with knives.

Security can be as simple as the apartment being in a frequented area and you are guaranteed relative safety late into the night. It could also be that the apartment has a doorman who oversees the comings and goings with rules that prevent the opposite sex or guests in general from accessing the apartment.

Prioritizing your needs is, therefore, important in the search for accommodation. Ask questions into these policies so you are sure what you are signing up for.

Ultimately, off-campus housing is a question of trade-offs, especially on proximity, price, and aesthetics. You can rent a well-furnished one bedroom house at sh.7000 a distance away from school while this is practically impossible within the campus location.

Familiarize yourself with the rules, you don’t want to move in with an expensive system to be told you cannot play music between  6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.

Finding accommodation off-campus will be difficult in the month admissions are carried out. Since the government intake begins in September you will be much better off scouting for houses in the beginning of August.

Once you find a house, all you need do is pay the rent and it will be reserved for the given month. To ensure you get the best deal, take your time in your search, say dedicate a day to finding the right house. In the long holiday period, there are many vacant houses so this should not be a problem.

If you are taking a parallel program whose intakes are during the semester, you will save yourself a lot of trouble by using an agent since most houses will be fully occupied at the time.

Ask around with friends and family for trustworthy agents. Most agents along Thika road (where most university students within Nairobi choose to stay) will send you photos of the house but will charge a  physical viewing fee of sh. 500.

In the excitement of moving out your home and renting an apartment, you can easily be conned. So, be wary. You are less likely to be conned with apartments that have tenants set in.

Con men masquerade as caretakers for almost completed buildings to fleece students, just because they say they claim to be the landlords does not mean they are.

Do not rush into paying, check with the current tenants and if there is an available bank account, pay through it. You want to be able to chase down your money should it disappear.


  1. very thoughtful article on off campus housing for the college student, by any chance do you have a college student or are you one yourself?
    My son graduated quite long ago from college, I remember the expense of housing for him. Even though he attended a college in a small country town, housing was still quite an expense for him and me.
    Very good information to help others with a college student who will be needing housing, I am sure many parents will love your article .

  2. Very good post I have a buddy who is trying to make a decision on whether or not to do on or off campus housing. I will send this post in a link text to him and see if if helps him out.
    I wish I could’ve read something like this before I went to college. Thank you

  3. I have a son who will be going to college soon, so this is all new to me. He is pretty shy and not that outgoing so I was thinking that an on-campus dorm might be a good way to help him get to know more people. Is this a correct assumption, or would he be better off with off-campus housing?

    • I think he should start off with on-campus living then later advance to off-campus living.Yet again it will depend with what he wants. You should talk to him and see what he wants then you two will come into an agreement.

  4. When i decided to move from campus hostels to off-campus apartments, i knew very little about what i was supposed to take care of before moving into my current place. I’m experiencing a lot, security issues, power outs, water shortages, to mention but a few. Luckily i have saved enough to move to a new place around Juja and i will definitely take the tips you have given me not to regret again. Thanks for the hacks

    • Yeah, i also went through the same trouble but i’m now fine after making sure i will be comfortable in case i moved into the apartment. Thanks and good luck in your house hunting, you can contact me i help you out.


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