How to be a Good Tenant: 16 Unwritten Rules

Being a tenant in Nigeria can be a bit hard. It’s even harder if you have your landlord in the same compound or if you have more than two other co-tenants in the same compound. A more serious situation is if you live in a face-me-I-face-you house. There are too many written and unwritten rules to follow if you want to be a good tenant in Nigeria.

A good tenant  isn’t just that person with the “nice guy” tag, He/She is someone the landlord and co tenants respect and speak well of all the time. No matter where you live in Nigeria, the following rules are generally applicable in any kind of environment.

Here are 16 unwritten rules to be a good tenant

1. Pay your rent on time: This is by far the most important rule. Whether you live in self con or miniflat, or even a duplex, just ensure that you pay you rent on time. This not only makes your landlord respect you, you’re also confident to be in his good books all the time. when there’s a delay in payment some other time, he’ll understand that you’re not always like that.

2. Prepare your utility bills in advance: Utility bills like electricity and waste disposal bills are usually paid at the end of the month.  Make sure you have it prepared before there’s a general contribution to pay the bills depending on the tenancy agreement. Trust me; you don’t want to be that guy who doesn’t pay his bill.

3. Borrow sparingly: We’re humans and we’re bound to need a thing or two we do not have at a particular moment.  It could be the matches just got finished unexpectedly or you forgot to buy enough water (sachet or bottle) and now the estate gate is locked. Things like this are bound to happen from time to time and it isn’t a crime if you go to your neighbour to borrow. But don’t overdo this, else, you’ll lose your respect faster than a head of state running for third term.

4. Kindness counts: Genuinely show kindness to your neighbour(s). Most people think kindness is all about giving cash.  A simple gesture, like taking in a neighbour’s clothes during unexpected rain not only commands respect, but promotes love and peaceful coexistence among neighbours.

5. Keep it low behind closed doors: Do you need it scold your children ? argument with your better half, or receiving phone calls. Always keep it low behind closed doors.

6. Be tolerant: If you live in a city like Lagos or Abuja, you are bound to have neighbours of different cultural and religious backgrounds. Be tolerant to their belief so you can all live in harmony.

7. Greet your neighbours: It may not even go beyond “good morning”, “good afternoon” and “good night” just make it a duty to always greet people around you.

8. Avoid gossip: When you gossip with your neighbours, they’ll do the same about you in your absence. Shikena

9. Avoid dating your co-tenants: Especially if you live in a shared apartment. No matter how cute and tempting they may seem, you do not want the extra drama that comes with the relationship. Imagine if there’s a fight between you two, or one of you is short on rent or your utility bills or if there’s a break up. If your intentions aren’t genuine from the start , avoid it totally.

10. Never return home drunk: If you ended up being drunk at a party or weekend groove, just go home with your friends. You don’t want to have that drunkard tag in the neighbourhood.

11. To the bachelors: If you’re a bachelor, avoid close interactions with the landlord’s daughter(s), except the landlord initiates the relationship. Avoid close interactions with single and married ladies in the compound too.

12. To the single ladies: If you’re a single lady, make sure the neighbours know your fiancé or boyfriend. Sadly, It is cultural for Nigerians to treat single ladies living alone without respect. In order to avoid gossip and unnecessary drama, let your boyfriend pay you a visit once in a while and make sure to introduce him to your neighbours.

13. Be considerate: Be considerate with the way you park your car(s) in the compound. Always consider other tenants coming in or going out of the compound while parking your car.

14. Always lead by example:  let your way of reasoning and doing things stand out from the rest of the neighbours.

15. Respect personal space: Avoid entering your neighbour’s flat/room at will. They might want to reciprocate, knocking on your door on a Sunday morning or at odd times when you need your rest.

16. Limit visitors:  No matter the type of house you live, avoid bringing in too many friends to your house.

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