Monday, February 20, 2006
I am effectively homeless after giving my landlady formal notice to end my lease. The requirement of a two-month notice has left me with about 50 days to find a new place. In the meantime I also have to move out and fix & paint my old place in order to get back my deposit worth 2 months rent and other tenant costs.
I am very happy where I am now but this year my situation has changed this year – I need a bigger place, and I also have an additional car loan to service. But I was also getting tired of my current lease requirement of paying rent in cash only – which necessitated two visits to the ATM on consecutive days. In between I always feared I'd be car-jacked and lose a month's rent.
So I am looking for a new place, at similar or lower cost, that’s still close to town, a secure neighborhood, and that’s green. - There are parts of Nairobi where the lack of greenery (trees or grass) is depressing. Also traffic, and the commute to town, should not be a major issue – and this rules out living on Thika Road or Jogoo Road.
In terms of security, there are many beautiful apartments in Nairobi - but to access the compounds is very tricky. Some have non-existent, rocky, dusty or bushy roads. This may be fine now, but I wouldn’t want to use the same road by car or foot at night, and I can only imagine how bad it would be during the rainy season
The search for an apartment has been time-consuming and frustrating and I spend all my free time driving around, looking at "for rent" signs. Any apartment advertised by a real estate agent will cost about 10,000 more than it can truly had for - and they try and justify this by throwing in pool, gym, Jacuzzi and other facilities that I may never use.
The number of con people out there also is troubling. I have seen houses, which I later found out, were not available for rent, or which the owner was unknown, or out of the country. I flatly refuse to pay a viewing fee that some people charge usually 1,500 to view a house. I have learnt not to call cell phone numbers, as 70% of them are a waste of time. And I have found confirmed that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is - like when I see ads, like 3br apartment in Westlands for 20,000