To help first time renters avoid rookie mistakes these are the checklist for preparation and research. Some of the situations warned against or described here are specific to Ghana while some are general.
Amenities like convenient stores, medical stores and public transport, proper drainage system for a place like Ghana. Check for emergency exit point or if the access route to the house is easy for good maneuvering for fire service vehicles or other emergency vehicles
As a renter, it’s important to pick a property that will have the best mix of lifestyle, amenities and commute says Sydney based buyer’s agent Rich Harvey.
Write a wish list
Rentals must haves or deal- breakers
You might want a lot of natural lights and balcony or stairs and a lack of bench space could be a no-go or you might take structural design seriously. Some renters get suspicious if the electrical layout is covered with trunking everywhere. Since this is a sign of improperly designed buildings. How about the toilet facility? Some are pit holes with little to no maintenance. You might want to check that out for your health while you think of choosing.
Storage and space are super important when sizing up a rental. But this could be secondary depending on what your must haves or deal breakers are. For drivers, where will your car go, is there a garage or street parking available?
Owner occupiers tend to take better care of their property, so leasing alongside them might be an advantage. However, in Ghana a prospective renter needs to investigate thoroughly the true nature of the owner/landlord since they rather tend to cause a lot of troubles. Noise can be disruptive so look out for floor boards; people walking above you can be loud and listen for road noise. Try and visit the property during peak hour so that it gives you an idea of worst-case scenario. Check for privacy and other security aspects like it’s the residence gated? Are you looking straight into the neighbor’s lounge room? Do you want to live next door to a Doberman who barks all night?
Check for windows and doors opening and shutting properly. These are things worth testing.
How much and what is included in the price.
Check if the rent cost includes utilities…
A pool and green garden may be appealing but Ms Smith says it’s important to find out who will be responsible for maintaining them.
Plenty of traps for those new to the game
What to look out for on inspection.
Proper ventilation so as not to affect health of occupants. The proper system to be cool with is two windows must be available for rooms and the direction must be north-south and not east-west because of the directional points of the rising and setting of the sun. This is important since Ghana is a tropical zone.
Emmanuel who is a quantity surveyor with renting experience advises: With renting a room, my small experience I had was with the utility bills. It will be good to go in for a room or apartment that has an individual meter and does not share with other rooms or apartment. Even if the apartment has a meter and it is postpaid it will be ideal to get the meter number and check from E.C.G the statement on the meter to confirm the possibility of outstanding bills. Same applies for water, check if the house has a water meter or they give the house a flat rate every month to pay. And if they do that, what is the parameters for the sharing of the bill?
Thoroughly inspect the property and take lots of notes and photos for later study.
Know your rights and actually read your tenancy agreement so that you avoid renting a place where you are not allowed to return after 6pm. No matter how nice the place, look through the tenancy agreement to confirm if it favours you. Look after the property and report damage as soon as possible. Get everything in writing.
Mould and Water Damage
When it comes to mould, you want a rental with proper ventilation in places like bathrooms and the kitchen.
Landlord should maintain the property based on the condition it was in at the time you leased it. Primarily, it’s the fixtures and fittings such as stoves, sewage toilets, shower, sockets, and plumbing works. You can also look out for cracks in the wall to confirm if the defect is damaging or alarming.
Proximity or closeness to your work place is important for some tenants but some do not care about that since they keep changing jobs or locations due to the nature of their jobs. They move like nomads. Particularly craftsmen and freelancers and civil servants would not necessarily consider proximity to workplace. It is the responsibility of the agents to make available inspection reports after doing their building surveys but no, Ghanaian agents just introduce the renter to the tenant and expert commission.
Find out the flooding or water log situation of the area. That’s why the best time to search for a home to rent is during rainy seasons. Or you could simply ask others already living in the residence. It’s prudent to identify if the flooding situation in the area affect your rooms or house. Because in Ghana areas that do not have proper layout and drainage systems tend to flood a lot. Of course, most areas do not have proper layout or drainage system. Note there that, it does not depend on how good looking the neighborhood is, because nice places like Adjiringanor (Jayorl) floods. Just be conscious about flood prone areas.