The decision to rent, like buying a house, is a dilemma that can be a bit of a fix to resolve. As if price and location aren’t enough of a jigsaw puzzle, there are other contributing factors such as budgeting for PMV or taxi fare, food supply to cover you until your next paycheck, and how much will be set aside for other miscellaneous that can tip the scale unfavorably.
With these variables in mind, your rental plans can become a thing for should I? Will I? Or can I?
The best way to deal with these circumstances is to order your thoughts into sequential steps, and here’s our version of such a sequence that we themed: Ten Steps To Renting In PNG.
1. Have a goal
Do you know how much you’d like to pay fortnightly or monthly? Is it compatible among the current listings in the market?
Do you know the type of space you want? For instance, a self-contained bedsitter in a familiar location, and priced within your budget?
Are you prepared to make certain sacrifices like cutting down your betel nut intake to one a day or nothing at all, in order to facilitate your rental journey?
These questions are easily answered when you have a goal in mind. More preferably, having a goal comes with visualization, sacrifices and discipline which are positive denominators in a memorable rental experience.
2. Specify your search
The art of specifying your search down to the bare essentials is not an exact science, but it has its own merits.
There are a number of tried and truly tested ways to do this: using certain keywords online and by word-of-mouth among friends, colleagues or family. Keep in mind that specified results are only as good as the goal they stem from, so a well defined goal will ensure this.
For instance, you might want to rent a self-contained bedsitter fit for a small family of four at K400 a week, or you may be after something more single-male specific such as a 3x8 room with common share, going for K200 a week.
Everything is obvious when you specify your results. It shows that you know what you want and there’ll be no time wasting in getting it.
3. Explore your options
So, you have a goal and you have specified the results you hope to get, what’s next?
The Hausples website is a noble manifesto to begin with. Whether you subscribe for convenience and amplified options, or you call a friend for information, just begin.
Explore listings online, in newspapers and on notice boards, or network among colleagues, friends and wantoks. Even call a real estate agent if all else turned up unsatisfactory.
However, this step is only circumstantial with inaction, and inaction is the sum total of wishful thinking.
4. Make contact
Once you’ve found your space, in the neighborhood of your choice at an agreeable fee, it’s time to make contact.
Bare in mind, even though the contact may be outrightly informal, at least have the courtesy to maintain some form of communication etiquette, on the phone or in person with the landlord, or an agent if that was the path you took.
This creates mutual understanding and ensures the interaction is seamless and positive.
5. Ask for a viewing
During your conversation with the appropriate source, don’t forget to arrange a viewing of the space you’d like to rent.
Viewing the space in person also helps to point out discrepancies and to bring to light other questions you may have forgotten earlier, when you first contacted the landlord or the listings agent.
Keep an open mind when viewing the space. Be polite and be on your best behaviour. As a potential renter, you want to make a good impression on both the landlord, and the listing agent.
Arriving on time, asking relevant questions, taking your shoes off willingly when entering the rental space, avoiding the bathroom as best as you possibly can, and skipping the idea of bringing food, kids or pets along are some things that can provide for a good impression. Remember, while you are inspecting the property, the agent or landlord is also profiling you as a potential tenant among other applicants.
Questions about the efficiency of the water supply, or if there are recurring power outages, the chances of being mugged, the cost of bond fees/security deposits and if they’re refundable will collectively paint a clear picture of the kind of environment you’ll be moving into.
6. Ask for the contract
You’ve viewed the space. You’ve cleared the air on certain issues about the property. You’re satisfied, and want to move in. It’s time to ask for the contract.
In PNG, however, about half of what you’d refer to as affordable rental space or unit are synonymous with settlements. So expect many tenant-landlord interactions to be informal and without proper documentation. A contract in this case would mean a verbal agreement, rather than pen and paper.
But if your rental preference differs in type, fee, and location other than the settlements, then you would expect a more formal approach in discussing and signing the contract.
7. Reach an agreement
An agreement is formed once the contract has satisfied both sides of the coin.
Sign away if the nature of the contract is in pen and paper. If it’s verbally, then a nod, a smile and a handshake are enough to justify the agreement. Besides, this is Papua New Guinea for heaven’s sake. What do you expect, chicken feathers?
The next step is to plan the move.
8. Make a budget
Having a budget in place before or after you’ve decided to rent is like asking which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Needless to say, it depends on who you are as a person and how you prioritize things. For this article, we think budgeting comes after you’ve decided to secure the rent space you just viewed.
Either way, a budget is one of the most important factors in the renting process. So having a budget means sacrificing unnecessary stress on your earnings. At the end of the day, you don’t want to end up borrowing K100 from the betel nut vendor across the street and repay with a K50 interest, or so it is, when fortnight comes around...you get the picture.
9. Pay the bond fee/security deposit
On many occasions, owners will charge a bond fee upon moving in, and are usually between K500 and K1,800. This will depend on the type of rental space and the features that come with it. Common terms and conditions of these bond fees include:
Refundable after 6 months or a year - after 6 months of renting, or more, the tenant decides to leave, they’re entitled to a refund of their bond fee
Deductible upon damages by tenant - if and when a tenant causes a damage to the property, the cost of the maintenance will be deducted from the bond fee
Deductible when tenant fails to pay for a particular fortnight - if and when a tenant fails to pay the agreed fortnightly rental fee, for instance, K450 per fortnight, that amount will be deducted from the bond fee to cover for that failure
All in all, bond fees are normally the main hurdle to which tenants must overcome before moving in.
Nonetheless, this should be clarified during the agreement process.
10. Prepare for the move
You found the one. You viewed the one. You’ve asked for the contract. Discussed terms and conditions, signed, and now it’s time to prepare for the move.
Here are some tips when preparing to move to your new rental space (apartment, unit or flat):
Ensure all your belongings are accounted for into boxes
That which you use regularly go in a separate box from the occasional items
Make a note to change your address
Ensure all issues pertaining to maintenance are resolved
While common sense may prevail across these issues, there are times when it falls short of reckoning. Your things-to do list may be extended depending on your circumstances.
Nonetheless, once you’ve ticked off your list, there’s nothing more to say than to look forward to your new space.
Get the keys to a new beginning
Looking back, you’ve come a long way, beginning with your decision to rent.
You’ve reached your destination in front of the door to a whole new beginning. It’s time to get the keys to the unit, flat, apartment or Lot and move in.