Utilization of Sources of Rental Housing Information Among Low - Income Earners in Urban Areas: A Case of Kiambu County, Kenya.
Njoroge, Lawrence Kinuthia
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In comparison to their counterparts in the upper and middle-income groups, low-income earners incur costs and time in search for housing. This is attributed to the existing effective and efficient sources of housing information which are skewed towards serving the upper and middle-income earners excluding the low-income group. The study therefore examined the utilization of sources of rental housing information among the low-income earners in urban areas in Kenya. The specific objectives of the study were to identify the sources of rental housing information, establish the determinants of the sources and establish the challenges associated with accessing rental housing information from the various sources among the low-income earners. Data was collected from a sample of 360 respondents drawn from the low-income earners living in Ruiru Biashara ward (Kiambu County) by use of questionnaires. Results indicated that there were only verbal, print and agent rental housing information sources. A multicollinearity test for the independent variables of the multinomial model was conducted, a Likelihood diagnostic test, the Hausman-McFadden test and the Cronbach’s Alpha test. The Multinomial regression indicated that only education and sex were determinants of the sources utilized while age, employment and tribe did not have any effect on source utilization. Considering technology preference in searching rental housing information, age and sex were the most important determinants while employment, tribe and education were not important. Qualitative analysis identified convenience as the most important determinant of utilizing a rental housing information source. The greatest challenge encountered by the low-income earners while utilizing the identified sources was the long information search time. The study concluded that verbal and print rental housing information sources are the most effective in disseminating rental housing information among the low-income earners in urban areas. The study further recommends a revisit of the minimal education attainment policy in Kenya, housing development for the low-income group, the development of an online housing information platform targeting the low-income group, sensitization on the availability of online rental housing information platforms, a review and enforcement of the Cybercrimes Act of 2017 and an improvement in communication and professionalism among property owners/managers.