After 17 years living in Taman Inderawasih, Prai, I moved to a residential house located at Taman Sri Nibong, Penang. The house-for-rent was posted in the popular website, www.mudah.my. I was surfing the Internet for houses to rent and saw the ad for this double-storey detached house. What attracted me to the ad was the price. It offered a rental of MYR 1,200 per month. Others were MYR 1,500 per month and above at the same locality. I immediately called the broker that Friday evening at 6.00pm and he answered his mobile. I am grateful that he answered the phone at that hour and we made an appointment to view the property on the next day, Saturday. The broker did ask my name, and made a note of my mobile number.
Saturday came and my daughter and I went to Taman Sri Nibong. It was not difficult to find. This housing estate is situated at the Bayan Lepas district with a postcode of 11900. The Lim Chong Eu Expressway by-passes the housing estate and the other entrance/exit will lead you to the Bayan Lepas roundabout. From Lim Chong Eu Expressway, you can turn off into Queensbay Mall.
This picture is taken from Queensbay Mall, third floor car park. It shows Taman Sri Nibong with terraced houses and Lavinia Apartments on the right and Lim Chong Eu Expressway.
Another picture showing Lavinia Apartments located beyond the trees. I love the hills of Penang in the background. In the foreground is traffic on the expressway.
The broker called to say he had a short delay and told me to wait for him at the entrance to the Lavinia Apartments since I was not familiar with the road names at Taman Sri Nibong. He turned up shortly and we followed his car to see the property. It was about 11am and the street was quiet but I did notice the number of cars parked on the road that Saturday morning, which was a non-working day.
This is my street where I live in Taman Sri Nibong. You can see the AEON sign (right) which is an outlet in Queensbay Mall, Penang. Each house has a green council-designated garbage bin. The tree just behind the blue car is an apple mango tree.
This picture shows a house that is renovated with a white balcony in the street where I live. The tree with fruits is a quinine tree. Almost each house has two cars and maybe a third or fourth.
The broker briefly stopped by the house and pointed to it and he drove a short distance to park his car. We promptly parked at the vacant driveway he had earlier indicated. As we alighted, I noticed that the driveway was neat with a little patch of green; a batch of pandan plants was growing near the fence. The broker took out a bunch of keys and opened the door.
I was surprised by the high ceiling of the house. The walls had a fresh coat of white paint and the electrical points, switches, and fans looked new. The broker told me that the owner had recently refurbished the house because it was really rundown. Two bathroom floors had new tiles and the doors and windows plus grills were freshly painted grey. The kitchen was bare except for a kitchen sink with some electrical outlets. Out of four bedrooms, only one had a ceiling fan. Two bathrooms had no water heater points. But the house looked nice with the new paint and the high ceiling. After the tour, the broker told us terms and conditions.
Terms included a contract to rent for two years and rent is to be paid at the beginning of the month. A deposit of one month’s rental and utilities for one month—and this was later fixed at MYR 400 because I did not intend to install more than one air-conditioning unit. I was also asked to pay for sewage charges amounting to MYR 192 for two years because the owner had told the broker that previous tenants had not paid these bills. I also had to pay brokerage fees of MYR 1,000.
Conditions such as fittings and fixtures can be installed but are not to be removed with the exception of electrical items. This means that I can do extra wiring to install new electrical points for water heaters, ceiling fans, and air-conditioning units; install build-in shelves and cabinets, redo the garden fencing and put in awnings all at my own expense. That’s generally how it goes here in Penang as a tenant. I did install electrical points for the heaters and fans for the rooms. I haven’t done much else but I am considering installing awnings at the back and front of the house to provide more shade from the tropical sun. The owner doesn’t have any other obligations. It may look like a good investment to own property but I know first-hand that it is not as easy as it sounds.
This broker told me that the house was rundown because the earlier tenants had not looked after the house. Sewage and electrical bills were not paid. The locks and windows were vandalised because it was vacant for a while and the roof of the house was leaking in two places. The upstairs master bathroom was leaking water into the living room ceiling. The owner had to spend MYR 10,000 to give it a facelift and repairs.
Moving house can be a costly affair. I had to pay for the transportation of my furniture and things from Taman Inderawasih, Prai to Penang. For two trips, each trip costing MYR 900, I got my furniture moved but they weren’t cared for. During the first trip, rain came unexpectedly and the lorry was too big to come into the car porch and so some of my furniture got wet. There are movers who do a good job for a higher price but I had opted not to take them because my furniture was not new.
Looking at my rented house, I still smile because of the new paint and high ceiling. Not all house owners will do refurbishing. They will just let the house and don’t bother to give it a new coat of paint or check on the electrical wiring. The tenants have to spend on the refurbishing themselves. I am glad that my house owner did repairs and provided a clean and nice house to stay in. Should you ever face leakage in your house another great option is to hire SCR Melbourne who can help you with any type of house leaking matters. Everything in my house is fine now so needless to say, I am enjoying my stay here in Taman Sri Nibong.
/// Written by Irene Tan, Malaysia