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Published On: Wed, Jul 9th, 2014

A tenant’s house hunting experience in Nigeria

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Let me start with an adage that goes thus, ‘those who had their palm kernel cracked for them by the gods do not know what it takes to crack a palm kernel’. House hunting in Nigeria is definitely a herculean task. Folks that inherited houses or have not lived outside their parent’s abode and their enclave will not appreciate the challenges of renting an apartment, accommodation in Nigeria. It is a truism that house demand in Nigeria far exceeds its supply. It often happens that the house you reject for some reason is swiftly snapped up by another prospective tenant. A lot of times you see an apartment, fall in love with it, agree with the ‘agent’ or landlord on rent etc only for you to come back and discover that someone else offered a higher amount and paid in a jiffy. It’s a harrowing experience!

I think I will pass for an old hand when it comes to house hunting in Nigeria. You will understand what I mean after registering with a couple of so-called unprofessional ‘estate agents’, buy them recharge cards, pay for their transportation only for your house hunting trip to hit a dead-end then they toss you to another of their colleague.

I was amazed with a rather recurring question during one of my house hunting. Most of the ‘agents’, landlords I approached quickly wanted to know where I was from before further discussions. You don’t have to be a trained psychologist to decipher from their countenance whether or not the apartment will be rented to you or not. Believe it or not, a lot of folks out there are patently tribalistic. If I have a choice, I will prefer not to live in the same compound with my landlord/landlady. If you do, many of them will like you to kowtow to them regularly. Directly or indirectly, there is every tendency you will be constantly reminded who owns the house. Sometimes it is akin to a master-servant relationship even when it should be more of a business relationship considering the fact that you pay rent. Of course there are very humane and level-headed landlords/landladies out there. More often than not, those arrogant one’s probably inherited such properties from their parents. I also learnt the hard way that it pays to maintain some space between you and your landlord/landlady, his/her family if you happen to live in the same compound with them.

It is good news that the Lagos state government enacted a Tenancy Law a while ago which has seemingly brought some iota of sanity. We pray they go the whole hog by regulating the activities of the blossoming ‘’Estate Agent’’ Industry because there is a superfluity of dubious quarks around. The Tenancy Law should clarify some grey areas: are landlord’s supposed to be collecting sundry fees such as ‘agreement’, ‘commission’ etc when you rent a house directly from them? Again one will like to see the National Assembly wade into the situation by enacting a Nation-wide law that trickles down the nook and cranny of Nigeria.

The much vaunted mortgage regime will revolutionize Nigeria’s housing industry if well implemented. We hope they walk the talk.


Source:  Nigeria Property Centre

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