Getting your first apartment can be very exciting and very expensive. While the prospect of never being woken up from sleep to wash plates again is great, rent is also cost. For most people, the sensible thing to do is get a flatmate or two. But what they don’t know is that finding a great flatmate can be harder than finding someone to marry. And is even more important than making sure you get an apartment where the electricity supply isn’t too bad or doesn’t flood when someone sneezes.
To avoid getting stuck with a nightmare of a flatmate, you need to ask any potential flatmate you might be considering these questions.
You got rent money? And not just the rent money alone? Because that’s just the beginning? These LAWMA and PHCN bills won’t pay themselves.
How’s your family doing?
Are you going to move in half of your 21 family members into our two bedroom apartment two months into our stay?
How many people are really moving in?
Are you in a relationship? Does your boyfriend/girlfriend have a home of their own? Or are they going to become our third flatmate who doesn’t pay rent after we move in?
What’s your morning routine like? Am I going to wake up to you screaming about repentance and eternal damnation at 4 am every day?
Let’s talk about your friends.
How often do your friends visit? And what is the usual nature of these visits? Is it the ‘how far just checking on you’ kind? Or the ‘let me crash on your couch for two days that’ll turn into two months’ kind?
Do you have any secret children staying with your parents? Who will suddenly come and stay with you for two months when they are on holiday from school?
What about unconventional pets? Because I’m guessing that’s what the snake you are keeping in a calabash must be?
You know there’ll be bills right?
Again is it only rent money you have to your name? Or do you have a constant source of income and a plan to pay your bills and feed yourself for the year? Plans that don’t include eating my food when I’m away.
Flat mate not BFF please.
Are you looking for a new best friend? Because that’s not me. Except on the days corner you in the kitchen or living room to rant about a bad date.
Any criminal record?
Are you wanted by the police or any federal government agency like EFCC or NDLEA? Yeah, I know it’s all a mix-up and you are not guilty of anything, please just let me know now.
Do you need to join an AA group?
How often do you drink? Do like to indulge in a glass of wine every now and then or am I going to be jumping over empty alcohol bottles when I enter the kitchen?
Have you ever lived on your own? Or do you still expect the generator to magically never run out of petrol, or the electricity bills to automatically be paid?
Do you clean?
What’s your definition of clean? Being able to eat off the toilet floor after you’ve cleaned it every week? Or sweeping once a month and hoping your fairy godmother will sort out everything else?
Let’s make it official.
Are you willing to sign a flatmate contract? Because it’s 2019 and I want everything we’ve agreed on written in black and white and signed.