How to be a successful landlord 

Sunday March 28 2021
By Stella Riunga Rop

As a long-term tenant, I have noted some very interesting similarities between the houses I have occupied. 

My suspicion is that there is a rule book somewhere all landlords/landladies read; a secret vow they make to abide by these rules. Well, here they are.

1. Select the most dizzying tile pattern you can find and use it throughout the house. I do not know why but where I live, the owners of the rental properties that myself and most of my friends occupy have been having a passionate love affair with hideous tiles for decades now.

 They come in standard colour ranges: vomit green, mud brown, screaming orange and boring blue. If you make the mistake of looking too closely at the tiles when climbing the stairs, your head will start to spin.

 Enter the house itself and you will find the stair tiles’ deformed cousins filling up the whole sitting room. Some houses even have four different types of tiles going on (bathrooms, bedrooms, living area and kitchen), each one more colourful and headache-inducing than the last.

2. Ensure that all repairs/plumbing/light construction that includes hammering, drilling, welding and so on are done between the hours of 7 am and 9 am on Saturday mornings. 
3. Never, ever name your rental property. This is taboo. 


The name should be a secret known only to yourself and the tax collectors.

 Leave it unmarked and unnamed and let your tenants struggle to direct visitors and delivery riders to the place: “Ehhhhh look for that set of shops on your right side on the tarmacked road…no, not your left, right, and then turn into the dirt road opposite and drive up to the last blue gate. 

No, no name, just a blue gate… kinda faded, yes, actually let me wait for you at the turning…” 

4. Grass is for cows, goats and other ruminants. Any open area should be cemented or at least have paving blocks laid on it. Gravel is also ok, but avoid grass at any cost.
Get all these tips and more from the 1980 bestseller by Mwanyumba Mapesa: How to guarantee your success as a landlord/lady. Happy reading!