Getting a place to rent can be quite a challenge. It could take anywhere from a few days to few weeks or even more. Especially in big cities such as Lagos. It could be nerve-racking and time-consuming. I was just contributing my own quota of social media engagement on the ever controversial platform ‘twitter’ when I came across several tweets of random Lagosians narrating their different experiences on ‘house hunting in lagos’ They were epic lol.
Realizing I have been a victim of some of these scenerios back when I was naïve or even too careless to lookout for the obvious signs, I can’t help but laugh. Abi no be for this Lagos, eye don see . I have decided to share with you some life saving tips to renting an apartment in Lagos. Oya grab a popcorn!
Bad road network: Always inspect the roads to your new found house for potholes and a good drainage system. You don’t want to end up fixing the shocks of your car every month due to bad roads, Trust me! or start having issues because the street to your apartment is flooded. If you hear “Government go soon fix the road”, just know that is a lie. Sanwo-Olu has other baby boy things to do. Stay only if you are ok with managing the bad road (e.g. most of your movement will be on okada)
Flood: The best time to search for accommodation in Nigeria especially in major cities is during the rainy season. Rainy season in Nigeria, especially Lagos can be one of the ugly times of the year for residents. Flood is a major risk as lives and properties are lost most times. Please, research the location you have chosen and how it responds to flooding risk as i wouldn’t want you to wake up one morning homeless or worse, wake up to see your bed floating down the street. Don’t let the beauty of a particular area convince you into moving there, all that glitter is not gold. Whether it is rainy (season) or not, look for signs of where the walls/ fences in the area look discoloured at the bottom or covered in moss. That is where water reaches when it rains.
The building: When on the house hunt, you need to take your time to inspect the building and apartment carefully. For example, you don’t want to end up living in an apartment and be scared when it rains. Inspect the house for cracks on the walls and ceiling, check for the piping system of the house too. You have to keep an eye open for the littlest of things such as mobile network reception. If you are looking for an apartment on the topmost floor, look at the internal walls for lines which are tell tale signs of a leaking roof. If they just repainted this is hard. Either way get assurances on who bears the liability for external damage (like roof leakage repairs).
Security: When looking for an apartment for rent in Lagos, I would advise you to check during the day as well as in the evenings for security reasons. With this, you can get to see the environs in the day when most people are out and about their business’ as well as in the evenings when most of them are getting back. If you see signs on the walls saying “stop the violence”, “lets leave in peace”. Them dey do better cultism for that end. If you still take the house, anything wey you see manage am like that.
Electricity: You maybe wondering how you’ll know if the location you are looking to rent has stable electricity. One of our Lagos hacks will be to look for a local shop to buy “Cold water” or “Coke”. The point here is to watch out for the response from the seller. If you hear “How na? Where you wan find cold coke from”, RUN. This is a big sign that electricity is poor in the area. What better way to find out than from a local store owner who has lived in the area for donkey years. Additionally, Always ask for the NEPA bill of the apartment before you carry national debt. No be the landlord carry you come Lagos o.
Tenancy agreement: Before signing any document with regards renting a property, it is important you take time to read through. Whatever you put a signature on means you accept and can be used against you. This is why renting a house in Lagos isn’t a process you rush. Everyone knows this tenancy agreement can be quite lengthy, boring and confusing. However, if you cannot read through by yourself, send it down to your lawyer to take care of it. It helps you to be on the safe side come what may. Anytime the agent and landlord tell you that “na just to complete am na”, better get it in writing or avoid if you have options. Especially in low end housing.
There you have it, these are the essential things you need to know before renting an apartment in Lagos. Regardless of whether you are a first time home seeker in Lagos or not, information is key. Make you no go dey bite finger las las LMAO.