Finding the right apartment to rent is a big decision as it affects your lifestyle. Muhammed Kizito, a real estate manager, says before you finally make up your mind about the house, make sure you have asked the right questions.
What are the lease terms?
Kizito says as a tenant, you should know where the lease begins and ends. “If you do not understand any aspect, ask. Make sure there is no communication gap between you and the landlord,” he advises.
He adds that tenants can ask for necessary documents such as maintenance receipts and electricity bills.
“Find out how much the landlord is charging as security deposit and be clear about how this amount will be paid when you decide to leave the house,” Kizito says.
He adds that some other things to know are how often the rent will be increased, how much the advance rent amount is and the landlord’s late rent policy. “Generally, the amount of monthly rent goes up by 10 per cent.
Make sure you know how much you will be paying next year if you continue staying in the apartment. This allows you time to preopare yourself and know whether you will be able to afford the increment,” kizito says.
What is included in the rent?
Kizito says some services may be covered in the monthly rent, while others may not. Ask the landlord before signing the lease agreement if charges for amenities such as electricity connections are covered.
“Some landlords charge a fixed amount for electricity, while some get a separate meter installed.
This also involves maintenance fee and here most of the tenants needs to pay a certain amount to the management bodies,” Kizito says.
He adds that to avoid any conflict later, ask the landlord who will pay the extra maintenance cost, in addition to the monthly rent. Find out what happens in the scenario of major repairs, such as leakage or other works. Make sure the landlord bears the cost.
Right to decorate
Kizito says you must ask the landlord if you can hang things such as pictures on the walls or if you are allowed to paint the walls different colours.
“If he refuses to allow you to hang things on the wall, you can assure him by promising to patch up the wall holes and paint them back to the original colour before you leave,” Kizito says.
Sheilah Namaweje, a property agent, says you must also ask about the guest policy and whether the landlord allows guests and whether they prefer a certain gender and after a certain time. Some landlords are casual about guests and do not bother much.
“In independent houses guests and visitors are not an issue, but in cases where the landlord lives within the same premises, there might be some restrictions,” she says, adding that one must also ask whether the landlord allows children or other live-in relatives.
Safety and security
Namaweje says as a tenant, you should ask the landlord what safety measures the property has, including a watchman, double door lock or a CCTV camera.
“Research your landlord’s reputation in the area. You can ask the neighbours, the watchman of the building, the local grocery shop attendant for more information and know exactly what you are getting into.
Whatever it takes, do your research and make sure you only move into a house when all your requirements have been met. This will give you a much needed peace of mind since your home should be a sanctuary.
Sheilah Namaweje, a property agent, says you should ask the landlord if the parking facility is covered in your monthly rent. Generally in a gated community, tenants get to enjoy the parking space available in independent houses, the parking spaces are taken on first come first serve basis.
Namwanje says it is good to live within a walkable distance of hospital, schools and markets.
“Even if you opt for a developing area to lower your rental expense, essential commodities should be easily accessible,” Namaweje says.