How to add a rental unit to your backyard.

How to add a rental unit to your backyard.

This article will guide you on the steps involved in order to construct additional rental residential units within your compound.
one bedrromed unit ontop of garage
1. Measure out the size of the backyard.

If the area is less than 30 square meters [roughly six meters by 5 meters] you can have a single room or bed-sitter. If the area is more than 30 square meters [6m by 5m] you can have a one bedroomed unit per floor. If the area is around 60 square meters [6m by 8m] you can have a 2 bedroomed unit per floor level. These are the units that offer the highest demand in rental income. These units can be added vertically upwards as in stacked several levels high to maximize the land use.

2. Ask your architect to Determine whether the local authority will give permission to add extra units.
The local authority divides specific areas in zones and determines how each zone should be developed. In Karen or Runda for example, you can only have 1 single dwelling per each half acre and a servant’s quarters. In Ngong road, you can have many residential units within the same plot so long as they fulfill the given plot ratio and ground coverage.

3. Ask your architect to come up with drawings for the residential units.
The design should be in such a manner that it maximizes the potential of the plot and gives adequate privacy between you and your would-be tenants. A separate entrance for the tenants can be incorporated.

4. Ask your architect to Check out the average rents for the surrounding areas to determine how much rent you will charge and how long it will take to repay the construction loan.

5. Once the drawings are approved by the local authority, apply for a mortgage or construction loan through your favorite bank.

6. Invite building contractors to quote for the construction.
Once several contractors compete for the building construction, select the best in terms of pricing and quality of previous works done. Get into contract with the contractor. Your architect will avail to you a detailed construction contract agreement.

The agreement specifies several issues:

[a]The quality of the work to be carried out and the materials to be used. For example, for masonry stone walling, the agreement specifies the size of the stone to be used, the kind of finish to be applied internally e.g. plaster and externally e.g. keying. It specifies the quantity of paint to be used, how many coats to be applied. The more detailed the contract, the less the chances of disagreements and misunderstanding between the client and contractor since all specifics will be laid down in black and white.

[b]The time period that the construction will take. The contractor binds himself to complete the works within a given time period failure to which several remedial measures shall take place. If the contractor does not complete the works within the given period of time, the client can invoke the ‘liquidated damages’ clause that specifies how much money that the contractor should pay the client per week for every extra week delayed.

[c] Settlement of Disputes. The contract specifies how to resolve issues coming up within the contract. The most common method is through the appointment of a registered arbitrator .Litigation is usually the last resort.

[d]Defects liability Period. The contract specifies a period of which after the practical completion of the works that the contractor will remedy any defects within the works at no extra cost. This period is usually 6 months. This is more like a guarantee that a customer gets when he buys an electronic product from a shop. The most common defects are usually leaking roofs, doors not opening/closing, settlement cracks and blocked plumbing.

Once the construction contract is signed, you can now sit back and relax as your building is constructed and hope to earn rental income happily ever after.

Frank Gichuhi.

Francis Gichuhi (692 Posts)

Architect Francis Gichuhi . B.Arch. University of Nairobi. Registered Architect, Kenya. Member, Architectural Association of Kenya. Contacts. email Telephone +254721410684


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