Renting an apartment in a city like Lagos is actually a big deal especially if you’ve been in the hands of some of the “deadly agents/landlords” you might get so frustrated and give up. Finding the right apartment to rent is a big decision as it affects your life and lifestyle. It affects everything from where you eat, sleep, your commute to work and so on. In the previous blog, I gave out 5 essential tips to renting an apartment in Lagos. There are levels to getting your desired apartment in this city, you can’t afford to skip the process. Before you conclude on the apartment you decide to rent, you need to ask your agent/landlord an array of questions.
Now, truth is there are hundreds of questions you can ask the agent about your potential home and you had better ask them if you want to be quite sure of the home you are about to rent. You’ve most likely decided on the area you want to live, so which house is right for you to rent.
To help you do your homework so you won’t end up having headache all through your stay in the house, below are 10 questions you must not leave out.
- What are the lease terms?
You should be thoroughly aware as the renter, the duration of the rent and when it starts and end. A lot of landlords in Lagos still asks for 2 years upfront payment despite the Lagos state government stating a year lease should be paid. So you better ask before you enter one chance.
- What is included in the rent?
This question is important if you don’t want to end up like my friend, Tunde. The agent told him the rent for the apartment was N300,000 and has a first-time renter, he thought it included the agreement and commission, only to be put on a long thing when he was asked to pay extra N100,000 when he was about to pay for the apartment. You need to know what you’re paying for so as to maximise your budget. Here are things that may or may not be included: Agreement, commision, service charge, utilities: Ask which ones, too—electricity, water, Wi-Fi…
- How do I pay rent?
Some places stick with checks and tellers and see it as the least expensive option, but some places allow you to pay rent online using platforms such as kwaba. Easy, faster and alot reliable, helping to bridge the gap between properties and finance by providing acess to affordable loan facilities. You can easily spread your rent into convenient installments. Read more
- How often does the rent go up?
In Lagos state Nigeria, some landlords increase the value of the rent how they feel, not bothered about their tenants. This information may not be in the contract document itself. If you’re thinking of staying in this apartment for a long time, you’ll want to know if you should expect an increase in rent each year. So ask before you are made to pay more in a short while.
- Is the rent typical ?
Ask this question and also make enquiries from other homes in the area. If not, Kola that lives in a mini flat in your street might be paying less than you live in a similar apartment.
- What are the terms of your contract ?
If you sign a one-year contract and you want to move out when it’s over, 30-day’s notice is generally an acceptable amount of time.
- What are your late payment policies?
Find out if there are late fees and when they come into play.
- Maintenance policy?
Some landlords require their tenants to pay for maintenance once a year while others don’t. Ask the agent or landlord if you are required to pay any maintenance fee and also what’s to happen in the case of emergency repairs. You want to know who to call if there’s water coming from your upstairs neighbor’s bathroom. You want to have access to help 24/7.
- Can I make changes to the apartment?
Some places are fine with you painting, for example, but it’s unlikely they’ll let you take down walls. Some landlords might ask you to put the apartment back to the way you found it before you move out. If you have a landlord that doesn’t want you to put nails on the walls, it is better you ask the landlord if you can hang things on the walls? Are you allowed to paint the walls as you want or change the tiles? Before you collect query.
- What is the guest policy?
Guests are typically allowed, but landlords like to define guests. Otherwise, the line between a long-term guest and a roommate can get blurry. Your contract may state that guests can stay no longer than two weeks. This might seem like a funny question but I have heard situations where landlords complain that a particular tenant receives too many visitors or a guest has stayed too long.
- Do I need a cosigner?
The issue of having a cosigner is a bit tricky but it is better you ask. This is most common among Lagos landlords. An unmarried lady was denied renting an apartment she liked just because she was unmarried. The landlord asked her to come with a man that will co-sign the apartment with her before he’ll allow her to rent it. Asking this question can save you from embarrassment before you fall in love with the house.
Like I said earlier, there’s no end to this. You just have to keep asking. Prepare a questionaire if need be. You don’t want to bite that finger in the end.
Do not repeat Tunde’s mistakes! LMAO!