When you will have a prospective home in mind in the area of your choice, here are several elements to review in addition to usual checks before making a final decision.
Water and electricity shortages are a serious problem affecting many areas but may vary from street to street within the same neighborhood. Try to obtain as exact of a picture possible of the situation. Water tanks are normally installed but ensure that all taps are connected. Generators equip all gated communities and expensive houses but it will be your expense if there is not one.
If the property is equiped qith a generator, ensure that the lease agreement speficies who is in charge of maintenance and repairs and about the fuel cost; it is rarely included in the service charge and usually shared among tenants (in that case, enquire if there is a meter for each unit and if not, how sharing calculations are made).
Noise pollution: this is an acute problem in most parts of Accra but much less in prime expatriate areas. Day and night-time noise may come from numerous sources so check the close proximity well (including back streets) for bars and other entertainment venues, community halls, current or foreseen construction sites, car repair shops and mostly churches (which can be located in any type of building) - keeping in mind that noise level is unrelated to size.
There is no law in Ghana about making noise at an open-air location, day or night.
Noise may also come from neighbours: check the water pumps, boys quarters or accommodation rented to third-parties that could easily be close to the property you are considering and generate noise or disturbance.
As far as the areas south of Accra’s airport - Cantonments, Labone and Osu - airplanes are taking of south/south-east and pass above in full thrust.
Roof waterproofing: thanks to the interesting climatic phenomena called “Dahomey Gap”, Accra receives a small amount of rainfall compared to other capitals on the Gulf of Guinea coast. During the rainy season however, rainfall can be heavy. Flat roofs of many properties do not favor water drainage and, in any case, ceilings and walls, especially bottoms, must be checked (including in closets) for water and humidity marks showing possible problems.
Direct environment salubrity, particularly with regards to mosquitoes. Avoid homes close to canals, gutters and other public areas prone to water stagnation and to inhabited buildings (they may become construction sites as well). Check the street’s sewage system if any and its condition.
Check as well if used-water drains from neighbours and/or their boys quarters are not open-air and going through the property.
Usability of access roads: unpaved streets may not be smooth, will deteriorate further and may be problematic during rainy seasons.
Security: besides general security concerns which may affect the choice of a neighborhood and the security of the property itself, consider issues that are close to your potential home, such as public lighting, number of inhabited buildings in the street, private/public vehicle and pedestrian traffic patterns. Should you plan to use a two-wheeler or simply walk in your neighborhood, the mere condition of the roads and the presence of daunting open gutters on “sidewalks” and on the street represent a safety hazard.
It is always advisable to investigate the property by inquiring to previous tenants and the people in the area: neighbors, staff and guards (including the neighbor’s) and eventually from the landlord. This process helps to reveal some unseen issues. Visiting the area at different times of the day will also help you better evaluate some of these issues.
It is also important to ensure that your agent has checked that everything is working properly before signing a lease so your future accommodation is fully ready-to-move-in and there will not be issues to deal with after rent has been paid to a possibly unconsiderate landlord.
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