• Just like in bars and restaurants, the landlord reserves the right of admittance. That means that they can choose to turn you away without having to explain their reason for doing it. In some other cases, which are quite few, you will be told why you are being turned away. Otherwise you will always wonder why your money was not good enough. Below are a few of the possible reasons why you might miss out on an opportunity to rent out a particular place.

Personal Preference

Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to the people they interact and engage with. Everyone is entitled to choose their in-crowd. Some landlords like to only admit people from their own co-cultures. Some landlords still practice tribalism where they refuse to admit people from specific tribes. This may be due to prejudices or stereotypes. Others dislike people who smoke and/or drink. Some will refuse to admit people from some specific religions. Whatever the case, there really is nothing you can do. It is not your house. You just have to move on and rent someplace else.

First Impression

People judge others based on the perception they have when they first meet. Some may not like you when you first meet. It is something that happens. If the landlord dislikes you at the first meeting they might be reluctant to let you rent their house. This is yet another thing that you can do nothing about. No use trying to change their mind. It is not illegal to exercise the right of admittance (or not to admit).

Bad Review

If you left the previous rental on a bad note and by a stroke of bad luck the new potential landlord knows the old, then there is a chance they might find out about the circumstances surrounding the move. In this case, they will be hearing only one side of the story.

If the landlord somehow finds out about frequent evictions or moves they might perceive you as a problematic tenant. In most cases, they will be right to deny admittance to such a person.

Point is that, if the potential landlord learns of something bad or that they perceive as bad then they will use that as grounds for refusing to rent to you. However, in some cases if you are upfront about it and explain your situation convincingly then the landlord might rent out to you anyway.

Questionable Income

More often than not, landlords ask about your income. This is their way of trying to discern whether you will be able to pay rent on time. However, if you are flustered or tell a story that is chock full of holes then they might think you are a criminal. No landlord will want to admit someone whose income source is not exactly on the up and up. They only have to suspect that you do not have a legitimate job or may be linked to crime and you will be done. However, some landlords do not care much for where you get the money. As long as you do it on time.

Terms of Renting

Every landlord has a right to create rules for their building. Landlords for extensions and buildings with many tenants tend to have more rules. The former would like for their family’s space to be respected. The latter means to keep peace and cohesion within such a large group. Every tenant who agrees to sign on to live in the building automatically agrees to the rules. This is as long as the landlord makes people aware of the rules beforehand.

If you refuse to adhere to the rules and conditions set by the landlord then they are not obligated to compromise for you. Therefore, if you are not amenable to the conditions set by the landlord you should simply turn away. You should not be offended when the landlord refuses to rent out the house to you.

Number of Residents

The number of residents allowed to live in a single unit can be a big point of contention. This is especially true if the landlord does not charge separately for the utilities. Imagine five people living in a small bedsitter where they only pay the rent, no power or water bill. These people will use a lot of water and power. Thus, renting out to such a big number of people for a small unit will be more expensive for the landlord. He or she may also be trying to avoid congestion in the building by admitting so many people in small units.


Here is a hypothetical; you are a hawker dealing in sweets and other small items. You request admittance then immediately after another person with a better financial standing does the same. Obviously the landlord is going to choose the better alternative. It is not bias. It is business. The landlord will obviously pick someone who has a better chance and capability to pay rent.

Signs You Will Be Turned Away

Some landlords may tell you outright that they will not let you rent in their building. Others will simply be passive aggressive without ever saying it out loud. Below are some signs:

  • The landlord will not be receptive to your questions about possible repairs and improvements to the house before you move in.
  • The landlord will constantly make reference to you finding another place to live.
  • The landlord might intentionally quote a much higher rent than what others are paying and the neighborhood baseline.
  • The landlord will outline some impossible and highly restrictive conditions that you would have to live by as a tenant in that building

There is no law in Kenya prohibiting a landlord from denying admittance to one person and giving it to another. Besides, why would you want to live in a building where the landlord does not like you much?