Access to Airbnbs, lodgings, and guest houses in Kenya now requires ID deposit

Nairobi socialite Starlet Wahu found murdered in South B Airbnb
Popular socialite Starlet Wahu Mwangi was found murdered in an Airbnb in Nairobi's South B estate

Nairobi, Kenya | By Michael Wandati | A new policy in Kenya mandates visitors seeking accommodation in Airbnbs, lodgings, and guest houses to temporarily deposit their identification documents upon entry.

This initiative, prompted by heightened security concerns, responds to recent cases of violence, including murders, within properties affiliated with online accommodation platforms. Notably, two women were found murdered in Nairobi Airbnbs within the past week, leading to increased scrutiny.

It started with popular socialite Starlet Wahu whose body was discovered in an Airbnb in South B, Nairobi, Kenya before a man he had checked in with was arrested and linked to serial murders. He is in custody pending formal charges in court after police were allowed more time to complete investigations.

And on Sunday, the dismembered body of another woman was found in an Airbnb in Roysambu, a Suburb in Nairobi, Kenya. A man who had checked in with her is said to have been seen escaping in blood-stained clothes in what raised the alarm on Sunday.

Police said the woman’s chopped-up body parts were later found packed in polythene bags ready for disposal, prompting a search for the man who was still at large by Tuesday.

The Private Security Regulatory Authority (PRSA) has responded by directing private security providers to retain identification documents of individuals accessing supervised premises. This directive includes meticulous documentation of entry and exit details, aligning with Section 48 of the Private Security Regulation Act.

Fazul Mahamed, the head of PRSA, emphasized the importance of accurate record-keeping to deter criminal activities and enhance the safety of residents and guests.

Also Read: Nairobi socialite Starlet Wahu found murdered in South B Airbnb

“The primary objective of this directive is to deter criminal activities within these premises and enhance the safety of residents and guests,” Mahamed said in a statement.

In addition to the identification policy, private security agents must maintain an updated log of vehicles, ensure functional CCTV and security cameras, and uphold an Access Control Policy.

These measures aim to address rising security concerns and create a safer environment for those utilizing such accommodations.

They must also keep a security occurrence book to record daily significant incidents and notable events concerning the safety of residents and customers,” he said.