Alarm raised as Kenya’s real estate sector grapples with fake products

Low prices are drawing property developers to
Low prices are drawing property developers to fakes, including kitchen sinks. PHOTO | FILE 

The fast-growing real estate sector in Kenya is grappling with a rise in fake products mainly imported from Asia (mainly China) by dealers out to make quick money at the expense of house developers, buyers and tenants.

They mainly include house fittings like taps, window panes, hinges, water heaters, electricity cables, locks, bulb holders, doors and sinks.

In Nairobi, the mushrooming of hardware shops in different suburbs, has ensured the products are readily available to buyers.

The result is that house buyers have to replace a good number of the gadgets as soon as they occupy the houses. As in the other industries, what is drawing most property developers to the fakes is the low prices.

“A genuine tap, for instance, goes at an average of Sh1,000 ($10) but a fake one would even cost a quarter of that. A developer out to make the most from his project would go for these gadgets, sell the unit only for the house owner to start experiencing problems,” said Antony Kuyo, a real-estate consultant.

He added that the problem is widespread across the country and those paying hardest are house buyers and tenants.

“For tenants, they have to replace these items that include taps, hinges, water heaters and even doors in houses they have rented lest they don’t get their deposits back when they are moving out,” he said.