Focus: The trials and tribulations of moving house

After staying in a run down apartment for over one year, Moses decided to move house. Fed up with staying in a dingy place, he wanted some good space to lay his head.

After staying in a run down apartment for over one year, Moses decided to move house. Fed up with staying in a dingy place, he wanted some good space to lay his head.

He tells me with a tinge of frustration that his attempt to get a house that is befitting of his tastes has been a frustrating experience.

“I want to move house but these commissioners are making life hell for me,” says Moses, talking about the numerous house brokers he has dealt with. Privacy is one of the things Moses is looking for. His frustration is obvious.

“We live like we used to live when we were in high school with all these friends coming around when they are drunk.” He is one of the young out and about guys in their mid twenties trying out life in Kigali.

These are mostly bar hopping and fun loving young men who you will always find in the most happening places in Kigali.

Go to club Cadillac or at MTN centre these guys will be there. Dressed in the latest designer clothes and carrying the latest mobile phones; they are without a doubt trendsetters.

But the glamour ends there. All that glitters is not gold.
Most of them live in overcrowded apartments and are often known to default on rent.

“I had rented my main house to a gentleman who told me that he is a businessman dealing in imports from Dubai,” says Muyakazi a landlord in Kicukiro.

“But within a week, around five other young men had joined him in the house.” Munyakazi adds that after barely one month he was forced to give them matching orders to leave his house.

“They would come at night drunk and start shouting and making noise in the whole neighborhood.’

“The whole place had become some thing like the ‘big brother house’ we watched on TV”. Having been told to leave, the wayward residents began their house search. But, as it later emerged, this was no easy feat.

“I met a guy going by the name Kalolero and he told me that he could get me a nice house at a fee”, says Kamali, one of the members of the ‘big brother house’.

Kamali says that it was that experience that opened his eyes to the fact that he needed to move on and end his unproductive way of life.

“By not living on my own, I lost focus and was not even able to get a job”.

The first step he knew was to become independent and live on his own, independent of the “gang”. But getting a house was a hassle, he had not imagined.

He says that he originally thought that after asking around briefly, he would easily get a good place in a respectable neighborhood. His search started in Remera and later he proceeded to Kacyiru. But all this did not yield much.

“I went asking around but this proved to be a waste of time”.

It was not until he knocked at a “kipango”- some ne’s residence in Kacyiru that a lady who identified herself as Oddeta, after listening to his ordeal advised him to seek the services of brokers. These are the guys commonly referred to as “bakomisoneri”.

Muyobo the first broker he dealt with demanded Frw10,000 before even embarking on the house search on his behalf. After getting the house, the broker would again pocket more money.

“As if that was not bad enough, this Muyobo told me that I would pay him the equivalent of one half of the amount of rent I would be paying”, Kamali says.

To Kamali, that was daylight robbery and he would have none of it. He again contacted another broker. As he was to find out later on, this one was worse than the first he had dealt with.

“He also demanded to be paid a half of the money I would be paying for rent,” Kamali says.

“But worse still he would ask for two thousand francs every time I called him to update me on how the search was going on.”

“After giving flimsy excuses, he would then demand for more facilitation in form of money.”

As luck would have it, Kamali finally got an affordable house at Frw50,000, when a friend got a scholarship to study in South Africa. But even getting to move was also some kind of trouble.

“I had bought a lot of things in anticipation of getting my own home, but after getting it, I got problems trying to get a way I would arrange my property in the new house.”

“Had it not been for my sister who had gone through the same experience many times, and she being a woman, knew how to go about such mundane issues.”