Apartments in Zambia are known as “apartments” and “flats” referring to a purpose-built self-contained residential units in a building. Such a building may be called an apartment building, apartment house, block of flats, tower block, high-rise or, occasionally mansion block, especially if it consists of many apartments for rent. Apartments may be owned by an owner/occupier, by leasehold tenure or rented by tenants.
Apartments in Zambia come in many different types. Some are quite small and offering the most basic of amenities, and others are fully-furnished, with all the services of a luxury hotel. As they range across such a broad spectrum, it is important that you asses your own needs and financial means to find the right one for you. The upside to this variety is that almost anyone can live in an apartment that meets their requirements. Apartments may be available for rent furnished or unfurnished.
The smallest self-contained apartment is referred to as a “studio”. These usually consist of a large single main room which acts as the living, dining room and bedroom combined. They usually also include kitchen facilities with a separate smaller bathroom. Studios tend to be the least expensive, so they are especially suitable for those with limited budgets, such as students.
Moving up from studios are one-bedroom apartments, in which a bedroom is separate from the rest of the apartment. Then there are two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments. Flats with more than three bedrooms are rare. Separate bedrooms allow for more privacy, and an apartment’s cost can be shared amongst roommates. It also means you can move in with your family, although rental leases often limit the maximum number of people who can reside in each apartment. And for cleanliness or minimising noise, many letters will place restrictions on tenants regarding keeping pets in an apartment.
In Zambia, we generally expect an apartment to be fully furnished with all the utilities in place, including house help. Apartments are expected to be on the luxury end of the accommodation spectrum and are rented out for short-term to long-term lease. They may offer serviced, self-catering accommodation in the city to visiting business and leisure travelers. Hotels have their place, but why choose a hotel when apartments offer you three to five times the space? You’ll have total freedom to work, entertain, cook, sleep and relax as you like. When viewing apartment prices you can compare them to the price of staying in a hotel by dividing the nightly rate by the number of bedrooms.
Such apartments can also be perfect for those who aren’t just passing through and need something more permanent, or even want to own one. Many find owning or renting an apartment more convenient than owning a house as the general maintenance and landscaping is taken care of by the owner or body corporate.
The piece of real estate of an apartment is individually owned or rented. Use of land access to common facilities such as hallways, heating system, elevators, and exterior areas are executed under legal rights associated with the individual ownership. These rights are controlled by the association of owners that jointly represent ownership of its entirety.
A serviced apartment is any space, regardless of size, for residential living that includes regular maid and cleaning services provided by the rental agent. They are intended to combine the best features of luxury and self-contained apartments, with the services of a hotel. Often adjunct to a hotel they have guests semi-permanently installed in the apartment but using the luxury hotel facilities such as housekeeping, laundry, catering and other services, if and when desired. Serviced apartments, intended to be convenient for shorter stays, include soft furnishings and kitchen utensils.
A feature of some apartments is having quite glamorous interiors with lavish bathrooms but no kitchen or laundry spaces in each flat. This style of living is very fashionable as many people find they can’t afford hotel standard live-in staff and revel in a “lock-up and leave” lifestyle usually made possible by serviced apartment hotels. Such serviced apartment hotel complexes continue to be constructed. Recently, a number of hotels have supplemented their traditional business model with serviced apartment wings, creating privately owned areas within their buildings.
In some locales, a garden apartment complex consists of low-rise apartment buildings built with landscaped grounds surrounding them. The apartment buildings are often arranged around courtyards that are open at one end. Each apartment has its own building entrance, or shares that entrance via a staircase and lobby that adjoins other units immediately above and/or below it. Each apartment occupies only one level. Such garden apartment buildings are almost never more than three stories high, since they typically don’t have lifts. Some garden apartment buildings place a one-car garage under each apartment. The interior grounds are often landscaped.
Laundry facilities may be found in a common area accessible to all the tenants in an apartment building, or each apartment may have its own facilities. Depending on when the building was built and its design, utilities such as water, heating, and electricity may be common for all the apartments in the building, especially if a swimming pool is on the premises. Outlets for connection to telephones are typically included in apartments. Telephone service is optional and is almost always billed separately from the rent payments. Cable television, internet access and similar amenities also cost extra. Parking spaces, air conditioners, and extra storage space may be included with an apartment.
Most apartment complexes in Zambia have some form of security at the gate and some apartment buildings have higher levels of security. For example, to enter a high-security building, a person must validate their key card at the main entrance. Some buildings have security personnel to guard the premises. Many middle and upper-tier apartments have video phones, whereby residents can see and verify who is at the main entrance before allowing access to the building.
Are you searching for an apartment? Whether you’re a student, visitor to the country, someone seeking a family home, or you just want to defray the costs in time, money and effort that a house entails, the benefits of apartment living are self-evident. We’re here to help you discover your perfect apartment in Zambia.