Even a perfect home can become a nightmare if it’s not being taken care of, and you can’t get prompt assistance from the manager or owner. When you’re viewing a rental home, there are a few key areas that can help you determine how well the property is being maintained. As both an estate agency, which helps clients find the perfect rental, and a property management service provider, Eden Heights has the ultimate expertise in this field! Read on for some of our key areas to keep an eye on when you’re viewing a property, and work with our team of EARB certified agents to make sure you’re in good hands during your property search and your tenancy!
Outside the rental home...
From the moment you enter the compound, keenly observe all the public areas of an apartment complex or gated community. This includes the driveway and the parking area, all the way through to the building entryways and corridors. Inside and outside, these spaces should be well lit, without missing or flickering bulbs. They should be clean and tidy, without excessive dust built up on window frames or the tops of the floor skirting. While these may seem like small details, they can signal the overall level of care at the compound. For single home properties, these factors still apply in terms of ensuring that outdoor lighting is fully functional, and any paving is not cracking or bulging.
If the property has a swimming pool, this can also be an excellent way to gauge the attention paid to its management. Look at water to see if there is a lot of debris floating on the surface, which would be a sign that it is not skimmed daily. Similarly, visible debris on the bottom of the pool would be a sign that it is not vacuumed regularly. You can also check the tiles to see that they are clean and not damaged, and check for cracking around the pool deck or on the sides and bottom of the pool.
The garden is an easy way to look for signs of good maintenance or neglect. Do the plants seem overgrown, or is the landscaping neatly maintained? Check the length of the grass on any lawns, and see if there are dead patches or patches that have been overtaken by weeds. Look at the hedges, and determine if they have been trimmed recently.
As part of examining the outdoor spaces, be sure to ask about pest control on the property. Nairobi’s lovely climate makes it a wonderful place to live, with mild temperatures throughout most of the year, but it is also unfortunately ideal for pests. Eden Heights recommends quarterly rounds of fumigation to ensure your comfort and health, and it is important to know what efforts are taken in any property before moving in. The timing and the methods used are also very important for pet owners to know, to keep your furry friends safe.
Related to pest control is understanding how garbage is handled at the property, and – crucially – seeing where garbage is stored prior to being removed. Ask how often garbage is collected, and if any sorting is required. When observing where garbage is stored before collection, check to see that it is neat and contained, and not open and therefore potentially attracting pests.
Looking at the exteriors see if any metal surfaces are rusting, and check if the paint is fading, bubbling or peeling. In some cases, this may be the sign of a paint job in need of updating, in which case you can ask about when the owners or managers are next looking refreshing the exteriors. However, some of these problems could be signs of plumbing leaks, as could any wet patches visible on un-painted stone walls.
And when you get inside...
Inside the rental home, check for the same peeling or bubbling issues with the paint, which can indicate excess moisture either from improperly treated walls or from leaks. Additionally, check the quality of the paint job, which can help give you an indication of the quality of work done overall, and therefore, in many cases, the quality of the materials used. Look for neat edges on the paint, and check for errant brush strokes and drips.
When looking at the pluming, of course check all the taps and the water pressure in the showers, but also have a close look at the pluming fixtures and how well they are installed. Examine the sealant around sinks, and look at where the pipes join the walls to see how neatly the work is done. Be sure to check any under-the-sink cupboards for dampness, which can be an indication of leaks. When checking the taps’ functionality, it’s also important to watch how the water drains, to make sure there aren’t any issues of clogging or obstruction.
A big part of the conversation around plumbing also comes to the property’s water supply and storage. Having a borehole water supply can be a big plus, and it is important to know how water is supplied or pumped to the unit you are considering. Ask how situations of water shortages are handled, and if there might be a cost implication for you if it is necessary to bring in supplemental water.
Another key area to ask about is back up power supply, if provided. If the property does have a back-up generator, how often is it serviced, and is it automatic or is it manually turned on?
When touring the property, be sure to ask about its security features. Look at the security cameras on site, and ask to see where they are monitored. Ask about where the video recorded is stored – ideally this would be offsite – and how long it is saved for. When arriving at the property, take note of how you are received at the gate, particularly if you meet the property manager or owner there. Does the guard question you, and record your details? If your unit has an intercom, be sure to test it for both functionality and response time. Finally, be sure to test the keys and the locks, to make sure that they are solid.
Once you’ve viewed the rental home and you’re ready to move ahead, there can still be some red flags. While at some large complexes you may only deal with a property manager, at many locations you should be able to meet the owner of the property as well as a manager, once you have progressed to the point of actually signing the lease. This is very important, as ultimately you should have a relationship with the owner in case of any issues that cannot be resolved with the manager.
The property manager and/or owner, along with yourself as the tenant, should all be on board with a thorough and documented move-in inspection as part of the lease-signing process. This protects you against any charges for extant damage, and it could be a serious red flag if the manager does not already do this as part of their processes. In all cases, it is something you should insist upon. While conducting the inspection, watch out for the attitude of the property manager or owner. Your issues should be taken seriously, and if there are problems that need to be addressed you should be able to get timelines for when they will be fixed. If, on the other hand, they seem to discount any problems pointed out, or explain them away, it could be an indication of how future – and larger – issues will be handled.
While this guide gives you an overview of some of the key areas to look out for, the Eden Heights team brings decades of experience in property management to our work. Our EARB certified agents will ensure that you find a well-maintained rental home, where you can receive timely, personal feedback from the owners or managers. On the other hand, if you own a property and want to ensure that it is kept to the highest standards, contact us to learn more about our property management services!