9 Things to Know Before Renting a House in Nigeria

It is the ultimate joy of everyone to have a place to call home. Whether you’re renting or buying a new home, the joy of moving into a new home is the same, no matter the type of house you’re moving into. But, before you rent an apartment in Nigeria, there are things you need to know. Below is a detailed list of things to consider before renting an apartment in Nigeria.

Things to Know Before Renting a House in Nigeria

Make sure you can afford it.

Will that pop’d roof, beautiful tiles and electric shower still look the same in a year when you’re about to renew the rent? Make sure you have a budget and stick to it. Don’t go looking for apartment in Ikoji or Maitama when your pocket is saying  Ajah or Jikwoyi.

Consider the commute.

This one very important thing you need to consider if you’re renting a house for the first time anywhere in Nigeria.

Is a cheaper apartment with a distance between your home and place of work better than an expensive and close apartment? For example, if you work on Lagos Island and you live on the mainland, if you consider the cost of daily commute, will it be cheaper to get a shared apartment on the Island or will it be cheaper if you get an apartment on the mainland. You get to decide about that.

See the apartment before you make payment

House hunting in Nigeria can be really crazy; you have to always be vigilant so as not to get scammed. There have been many cases of apartments looking completely different from their pictures online and agents running away with client’s house rent (what I ordered vs. what I got). Make sure to see the apartment and inspect the surrounding before any payment is made.

Be Careful of eager Landlords/ Agents.

There are times when an landlord might just be too eager to have a new tenant in his apartment. But, often times an overzealous landlord could mean trouble. There may be things to fix in the apartment, uncleared PHCN bills, leaking pipes, filled septic tank, the apartment could be prone to flooding during the rainy season or even a bad history about the home the landlord doesn’t want you to know.

leaking pipe .source: forbes.com

Check the amenities of the house.

Check the power outlets in the sitting room, kitchen and every room in the house and every other amenity before signing the agreement and making payment. Most people never even bother to do this as long as they’ve been briefed by the agent/ landlord. There’s nothing worse than having to fix leaking pipes, broken showers and toilets after the rent has been fully paid.

Even if it’s a newly built house, ensure you check all  that needs to be checked and if there is any issue, you can bring it up now and hopefully it can be addressed by the landlord.

This will help you avoid any surprises or “stories that touch” after making payment.

Utilities & Privileges

Another important thing you need to know before renting a house is the inclusion of utilities and privileges covered by your rent. Who pays the security bills ? The sanitation fees (If there’s any) and electricity bills? Who pays for unforeseen contingencies like the pump machine damage, broken down fence due to heavy rain etc. Most landlords will have you pay electricity bills and sometimes waste disposal bills and even security levy; hence, you need to ask if the utility bills are already included in the house rent or if you’ll need to pay the bills yourself.If your house rent includes a service charge, that means all the bills are included. But, you still need to talk about it because the landlord may not even be aware of a service charge.

Also ask about the dos and don’ts of your new home. Are you’re allowed to have a celebration or a party in the new apartment? Are you allowed to fix an air conditioner? All these are questions you need to ask

Get to know your Landlord

Do not skip this step. Try to make your own findings: does he stay in the same building? If the answer is no, how far is he away from you, is he very religious ?, what about his political affiliations? (APC/PDP/LP etc) These are things you should know before making that payment and moving in. There are landlords who give quit notice for very silly differences.

Try to meet your potential neighbours.

You don’t want to be surprised on your first night in your new apartment that you have crazy neighbours. One of your neighbours could be the wannabe DJ that plays music all night or that spirikoko neighbour that holds a Vigil every night. A little “meet and greet” can set a tone for a friendship and even let you know more about the apartment and the landlord.

Nigerian tenancy agreement

Ask for a tenancy agreement

The tenancy agreement fully spells out your rights as a tenant. This document should be fully drafted by a lawyer and should include all your legal rights and covenants

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