How Real Estate Investors Can Capitalize on Students’ Hostels

It is always a real hustle for students to find accommodation in the universities and colleges they are joining. The situation is even worse for others who are not first years. Real estate investors can use this opportunity to provide alternative accommodation for learners.

How Real Estate Investors Can Capitalize on Students’ Hostels
Hostel with twin bed and a separate double-decker bed

The State of University Hostels in Kenya

Most public universities in Kenya have a lot of land, but sadly, students still lack enough hostels and are forced to seek accommodation elsewhere. For many reasons, students tend to prefer hostels out of the institutions. Some of these reasons are:

  • Most students are not able to scramble for the little spaces in the school’s hostels.
  • Some of the universities do not allow students to cook their own food, so they would rather live away from school and cook for themselves.
  • Even though there are cleaners who clean the hostels on campus, washrooms get dirty soon after being cleaned up. This is due to the large number of students which makes it hard for them to be held accountable.
  • Some universities require the students to pay either the full school fees or half of it for them to book hostels on campus. Some of the learners may not be able to meet this requirement especially those who depend on funding such as that from the HELB.
  • Congestion in the hostels hinders personal space and some students have bad encounters when their roommates invite their friends over.

How to Profit from Hostels

In order to maximize your profits, you have to stand out and you can be simple when doing so. You don’t have to have a huge and luxurious hostel only for it to be half full. Some of the things you have to take into account are,


Many hostel owners make students pay high rental fees and still have other charges. There are other high-end hostels that have high fees but considering the facilities they have, their location and the services they offer, these agree with the price. Not all parents can afford this and some see this as “spoiling their children with too much comfort.” Such upscale hostels have a lot of logistics involved hence the high fees.

Providing basic needs in a hostel is key to ensuring that you don’t run out of clients. Some students don’t need big rooms with classy beds, just a conducive learning environment with the necessary equipment is enough for them. Some students also cater for themselves and luxury is not important to them. The hostel management needs to come up with reasonable prices to attract students.

When listing your hostel, don’t overpromise. For example, don’t say there’s high-speed Wi-Fi and you know very well that it is unreliable.


This is an important factor when it comes to hostels. The hostel should at least be near the university or be near the main road. This will enable those who walk to and even those who commute to campus avoid being late due to traffic jams.


Hygiene is always paramount, especially in the COVID-19 season one cannot overlook this important element. The management should put measures to ensure hygiene is maintained. Trash cans, water, disinfectants among other things should be provided. Personal hygiene should also be encouraged. 


From personal safety to the safety of one’s belongings, how secure the hostel is will determine whether or not it will have occupants. This is another reason why students shun campus hostels. Laptops are easily lost since it is hard to control movement in the rooms.

Lockers or and closets should be functioning properly and guards should be on the lookout twenty-four, hours seven days a week. The management can easily take control of movement in the hostel.


Rude staff is a no-no in any business. Having staff that understands young people and is ready to reason with them can be an advantage.  Complains should be listened to and concerns raised by the students should be listened to and acted upon if necessary.


There are many universities in Kenya and the number of students joining campus increase rapidly. Aside from building hostels, investors can invest in students’ hostel and still make good money.