Cofundie - Rental Property

6 THINGS TO NOTE BEFORE RENTING THAT APARTMENT

The process of renting an apartment, especially in Africa, can be overwhelming. The struggle to maintain the balance between comfortable and affordable has led many to make the wrong decision. And because housing isn’t something that we can opt-in and out of easily, they are forced to manage these terrible conditions.

Today, we are going to consider what minute details we often overlook when searching for shelter:

I asked a couple of our Nigerian friends what things they wished they knew before renting their apartments.

1.MAINTAINANCE

Victor.

Location: Ibadan, Nigeria.

Rent p/a: N600k ($1,250)

“The rent is the easiest part to pay for…” 

When looking for apartments, it’s easy to forget that more will be needed to design the space to your liking. Feeling right at home in your own space comes with a lot of redesigning and renovation. And that comes at a cost.

Your rent savings should cover everything from annual rent, maintenance, logistics, etc.

2. WATER

Azeez.

Location: Isheri, Lagos.

Rent p/a: N350k ($730) 

“It would have helped to know that the water situation was terrible…”

While this might not be a continental issue, checking to see the state of amenities like water would help you understand how efficient living there is. Renting an apartment with little to no running water means you will spend more to get good water.

3. STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY

Jordan

Location: Ajah, Lagos.

Rent p/a: N1.8m ($3,750)

“This is quite specific to my place, but I wish I knew the roof was leaking…”

It is impossible to know everything about an apartment before renting, but one thing you should be aware of is the structural integrity of the building. Are there any cracks, leaks, or visible repairs? Any signs that the house might not be able to hold its own against intense weather conditions?

A hack to knowing this is to do your house searching during the rainy season. You can see how effective the gutters are and if any of the roofs are defective.

4. OUTSTANDING DEBTS & BILLS

Richard

Location: Ogba, Lagos.

Rent p/a: N800k ($1,670)

“I wish I had asked to see the outstanding electricity bill.”

This situation is quite common for tenants in Lagos. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to clarify that you will not be inheriting the bills of the last occupants. Ask for the updated NEPA (electricity), waste, and water bills, or else you might end up paying almost double your rent.

David

Location: Yaba, Lagos.

Rent p/a: N2.6m ($5,417)

“It would have been better to know how much I was to pay for the monthly bills.”

This scenario isn’t rare. Many agents hardly disclose specific details about the space. Information like how much each tenant contributes to the compound’s bills is sometimes disclosed after an agreement has been reached. However, these minor subscriptions are a significant factor in determining if an apartment is suitable for you.

Talk to your landlord, agent, or you could even ask people already living in the building, so you know you are getting a fair price.

5. LIGHT

Bolaji

Location: Yaba, Lagos.

Rent p/a: N1.6m ($3,333)

“Maybe the light situation…”

Countries like Nigeria that cannot afford to supply electricity 24/7 force their citizens to spend more on alternatives like generators and inverters. Knowing the average number of hours the apartment gets daily is crucial so you know if you can cover for the rest of the time.

6. THE CO-TENANTS

Samuel

Location: Yaba, Lagos.

Rent p/a: N300k ($625)

“Would have loved to know the co-tenants.”

Now, this is hard to evaluate before moving in, but you have to admit that knowing your co-tenants would help facilitate your decision-making process. You don’t want to be stuck with a lousy neighbour or someone who always defaults on their bills.

A hack to figuring this out is to ask tenants about their experiences living there. You could also ask neighbours if the compound has a reputation for trouble.

HONOURABLE MENTION

Tomi

Location: Yaba, Lagos.

Rent p/a: N2.5m ($5,208)

“Do not move in until repairs are completed.”

It is not enough to note the things that need fixing; you have to make sure the repairs are completed before moving in. It is easy to get the promise of the landlord or caretaker. You don’t want to move on based on empty promises lest you might end up fixing those things yourself.

In conclusion, making sure your rent is worth the living experience is very important, and it would be costly to make a defective space yours. Be aware of any red flags in the apartment and make your concerns known. If your concerns are not attended to, move on to the next apartment on your list.

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