There is quite a bit of supply for residential rentals especially in middle-class areas like Embakasi and Roysambu. This then means that the landlord has to do quite a bit so that their building stands out. The new generation of renters also requires that the landlord put a little more effort into the building aesthetic among other elements.
There are some places where garbage greets you at the gate as soon as you walk in. The hallways will be littered with garbage and dirt. The gate will be all rust and dust. The units might be affordable with all sorts of great qualities but this state of things is enough to turn anyone away regardless of how desperate they are. Not only is it unattractive, but it is also a health hazard to the residents of the building. It also invites pests into the building. The caretaker should wash the hallways and keep the courtyard clean. Garbage should be properly managed and disposed of responsibly.
It would not hurt to give the building a fresh coat of paint every once in a while. Chipped paint is very unattractive. There are people who will not dare walk into a building that looks like an abandoned ruin. Paint seems to give the building a fresh feel and look despite how old it may be or even how run down. Glossing over issues like cracks with paint is not advisable though. The crack will surely run deeper and eventually fell the building into a pile of rubble and injured tenants. This should also extend to the inside of the units. Paint jobs should not wait until a prospective tenant shows up.
Broken window panes should be replaced. Tattered floors should be repaired. Broken latches on the gate should be fixed. Whatever that needs fixing in the building should be handled. If one thing is ignored after a while several things will be broken and then it will be more expensive to fix everything at once. It is also easier to look past one maintenance issue than to look past multiple. A poorly maintained building also tells the tenant that whenever they need something repaired in their unit, it will not be a priority. The tenant perceives that the landlord is not keen on building care and maintenance.
Speaking of which, the landlord should be able to assure tenants that they will be safe. That the roof will not fall on their heads at night. With the wave of falling buildings in Nairobi lately this is a legitimate concern. It is not easy to know which building is unsafe just by looking at it. One would be unable to know which building might collapse due to structural weakness in the future. The tenants, therefore, trust their landlord not to have cut corners during construction.
No one likes to come home to an emptied-out apartment. No one likes to be woken up in the middle of the night by people who have come to reap other people’s sown seeds. The landlord should, therefore, be able to assure the tenants that the building is secure by having at least a gate that remains locked. The building should not be easy to access by anybody who deigns it necessary without the invitation of a resident. If there is no perimeter wall then the outer windows should be properly reinforced to prevent malicious people from breaking through there. This is a big concern especially with the economy of the country making people a lot more desperate to survive financially, therefore, driving the number of unorthodox economic activities higher.
The tenant should feel that they have a direct line to the authority of the building. They should feel that their grievances, whenever they have them, will be handled responsibly and promptly. A good way to display a lack of communication channels with the tenants is by taking a long time to respond to inquiries from potential tenants. Some buildings do not have caretakers either. A prospect simply walks in, opens the door then calls the number at the gate for directions on the next step.
Posting your vacancies online makes you more visible to a wider audience. It puts you and your building in touch with people who might not have time to walk around looking for gates with vacancy notices. It decreases the amount of time a unit remains vacant. However, your online visibility must be executed with expertise and care.
While it is your prerogative as the landlord to charge as much or as little as you want, it is always nice to stay relatively at par with rest of the neighborhood. If it is too high then people will shun your building. If it is too low then people will wonder what flaws you are making up for. People will usually guess that your building is a water supply nightmare. Try to ensure that if you have discounted the baseline, you have not reduced it so much that it arouses suspicion. If you believe your building is worth more than the baseline at least have something more to offer. Something that justifies the higher amount.
Keeping your building fresh and well maintained is not just beneficial to the tenants, it also elongates its life. It is important to keep residential; buildings habitable regardless of how low the rent is. In this era of tenants expecting better, it will keep your building marketable. Do your best!