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Business licensing in Nairobi

This page is here to help give you a starting point to find out about some of the obligations that may apply to you if you decide to host Trips or Experiences on Airbnb. It’s for your information only and includes summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to official resources that you may find helpful.

Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.

Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the law has not changed recently.*

Could I be a business? What things should I think about if I am a business?

When am I a business or conducting a "trade"?

If you regularly provide a service in return for money (for example, if you regularly have people over for dinner and charge a fee for this), you are likely to be considered to be conducting a “trade” or business and you could be required to obtain a business permit with respect to the business premises in which such services are offered. We recommend that you contact the Nairobi County Government offices to find out whether you might be conducting a business or trade, based on your specific circumstances.

What if I am a business - what things should I be thinking about?

Do any business registration / licensing obligations apply?

Every person who is conducting a business or trade within the area controlled by the Nairobi County Government (or within the area of another county government in Kenya) is required to obtain a business permit in relation to the premises from which the person conducts the business or trade. KenInvest publishes information about the process for obtaining a business permit which you may find useful, and you can download the business permit registration here. The fee you will need to pay to register your business will depend on the type of activity you want to carry out, number of employees and size of premises. You can contact the Nairobi County Government offices to confirm the exact amounts payable.

You should be aware of potential criminal offences for failure to comply with business permit requirements, which may include financial penalties and the possibility of a custodial sentence.

If you are not sure about whether you need to obtain a business permit, you should contact the Nairobi County Government.

What legal structure could I choose to use?

There are different legal structures you can use to set up your business. For example, you could choose to set up as a company or a partnership, or to register your business name as a sole proprietor.

KenInvest publish a guide on starting a business in Kenya, which you might find useful.

Is there anything I need to be aware of when dealing with consumers?

Yes. You will need to comply with the Consumer Protection Act 2012, which requires businesses to provide goods and services of a reasonable quality and prevents businesses from engaging in unfair trade practices and making unconscionable representations, such as providing misleading information about the goods or services they are supplying or the price of these. It is very important that you make sure that the information you provide Guests is accurate and not misleading.

Is there anything else I should be thinking about?

Yes - depending on the activity you will be providing or organising, you may need to register, obtain licenses, or follow specific rules that apply to that activity. Our section on activity specific licensing covers some of the typical activities, but is not intended to be comprehensive. You should always check the position with your local county or seek advice from a legal professional. You should also check what tax and accounting rules apply to you, and make sure you have the right insurance cover in place to cover all the activities you will be providing.

Activity-specific licensing requirements

Depending on the activity you will be providing or organising, you may need to register, obtain a specific licence, or follow specific rules that apply to that activity. This section covers some of the typical activities, but is not intended to be comprehensive. The Kenyan Government’s business licensing portal allows you to search for the types of licences you may need depending on the type of activity you want to carry out. You should always check the position with your county government offices or seek advice from a legal advisor.

*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).