You will notice that in the newly built residential buildings, the ground floor units remain vacant the longest. In most cases, ground floor tenants opt to move to higher floors when they become available. In fact for some, a ground floor unit is a deal-breaker for them. It seems that ground floor rental units are only useful to people living with disabilities because of their convenience and accessibility. Everyone else shuns them. Even if they are told that they will be able to get out of the building fast and first if there is an emergency like fire. Some landlords make these units cheaper and even that does very little to convince the skeptics. Below are some of the reasons why people shy away from ground floor units.
It would be easy for a terrible person to gain access to your unit if it is on the ground floor. No reason a sufficiently motivated person should not climb the wall and access another floor. However, if a person decides on the fly to rob a few people, they will go for the most accessible units. If the unit has windows on the outside then someone could break through those windows. It would be quicker and easier than scaling the wall.
The ground floor units rarely have access to natural light. See, being on the ground floor means that they cannot have windows on the rear lest outsiders gain a point of entry. These units rely on the windows on the front. These are almost never sufficient for allowing natural light. This might force you to keep the lights on during the day which is not only wasteful but also a tad expensive. This constant exposure to bulbs may cause headaches in some people. It may also make the house feel unnaturally warm and stuffy.
Speaking of which, it always seems that the ground floor is the stuffiest space in the whole building. This is because the air does not circulate as well on this floor like it does on other floors. Pollution tends to be heftier on the ground floor. This may extend into the unit. Unless the landlord has taken measures to ensure that the unit can get fresh air, you will be forced to breathe in unpleasant air. You could also have trouble airing your house. That means that if you burn your ugali, you will be stuck with the smell for longer than you would on a different floor because you cannot open the window to let in fresh outside air.
Nairobi has very bad drainage. This is why that every time there is heavy rain, Nairobi becomes one big water mass. This has been so for years. If you live on the ground floor, the rain water could go past the gate and even get into your unit. Property damage should be the least of your worries if this happens. You should worry most about electricity shock. If the water gets into your unit and comes into contact with your live socket extension that you like to leave on the floor then you are in danger of being electrocuted.
People like to talk about how everyone is an adult and should therefore act like it. However, the same people turn around and just do whatever. Often the people who live on the ground floor have to contend with waste from the top floors especially if the caretaker is not keen on cleaning. The top floor tenants will pour their dirty water through the balcony bars. In some cases, they will get your clothes dirty and wet. In other cases if the wind is particularly sassy, the water will be blown right into your kitchen.
Every building has a nosy neighbor. A person who will constantly walk by your door and almost trip on themselves trying to see into your unit. You will not have some people over without the resident broadcaster speculating who it might be. You will not make pilau, chapati or whatever aromatic meal you like without a neighbor suddenly needing a pinch of sugar. If you live on the top floor, no one sees the shoes by your door. No one hears the conversation. You can leave your door open even without a curtain and you business will remain yours.
The ground floor courtyard is usually the designated play area for the building children. The space is safe and big enough to run around. That means that you may have to bid adieu to your Saturday morning sleep in. You may have to turn the sound up. You will also be constantly awakened by the gate or by people who forget the keys then bang on the gate for hours. You will be awakened by people who come in at 3 am and whisper loudly all the way up to their own units. To put it simply, it is very noisy living on the ground floor. Unless you have selective hearing and sleep like the dead, you might not love it.
Many complain that the temperature is very hard to regulate on the ground floor. You cannot cool the house by opening windows. If you try to warm up the house, it will get too warm and uncomfortable. Many complain that the biggest issue is that the ground floor units are too cold.
All these aside, some are just biased against ground floor living. If you have never had your own terrible experience then it is okay to find out on your own. Inspect the unit and see how the landlord has tried to combat the issues. You could find that you actually love it there. If you have a child then be careful about people who leave the gate open. Your child could wander out. Otherwise, choose wisely.