Renting an apartment in Lagos is harder than finding a pin in the groundnut pyramid. No matter how prepared you are for the drama, there will always be something that blindsides you, even if you are an old hand at it.
Since we are good people that always got your back, we curated nine things you are bound to encounter when house-hunting in Lagos;
1) Be ready to fill a form that requires much more details than an international passport form:
Your agent will surely give you a document filled with inane questions such as; “What is your grandmother’s maiden name?”, “What’s your village home address?”, “Fill in the details of five guarantors.” The most ridiculous thing? This is BEFORE they take you to see a house! The agent will explain that it is necessary and oh, would you pay for the form to assure them of your seriousness to rent a house?
2) Be ready to see all sort of ridiculous structures:
Clearly, most Lagos houses were built without a blueprint. How else will you describe the rationale behind having a toilet in a kitchen?
3) Brace yourself for the moment your agent asks for more:
Halfway through taking you round a billion unsuitable apartments, the agent will suddenly look at your irritated face in a pensive way before he says; “The good ones within your budget were taken before you came but I have several houses you’d love! It’s just that it’s more than your stated budget.”
4) Unreasonable T&C’s apply to that very good apartment:
After the trauma of seeing nonsense, you’ll finally see an apartment that seems custom made for you! However, the sledgehammer comes when the agent tells you the terms and conditions to be met, which often border on the point of outrageous. One of the most famous is; “Only someone of a particular tribe can rent this house.”
5) Get ready to meet the owner–you might leave emotionally scarred:
The next phase of inane, intrusive questioning loaded with discrimination is about to come your way. Be ready for tribalism; why they don’t rent to Igbo’s, Hausa’s or Yoruba’s.
And if it’s a live in home owner, chances are you will be told about a house curfew, somewhat like; “Nobody leaves this house until 7 am and must be back by 8 pm”. All explanations about how that won’t be feasible for you, will be said on your way out. Compromise is not their forte.
6) Procure the husband/fiance or buh-bye!
If you love the house but are seeing signs that you might not get to rent because of the sexist demands of your prospective landlord, it may be wise to pay a stand-in to act as your fiance or husband, or maybe create a fictional character who leaves in the abroad. You might wanna have a backup on that fib though, in case they ask to facetime him sistah!
7) Youth discrimination is a badge of honor for some home owners:
If you are young, grabbing the bag and decide to rent a house, you’ll be sure to encounter questions like; “This one you’re carrying laptop, are you sure you are not doing Yahoo?”, ” Where did you get money for rent?”, “Why are you leaving your parents?”
Then demands will come; “I want to speak to your parents, I must advice them on how to train children”, “Goan get letter from your office, I won’t rent to you if I don’t see it o”, “Don’t bring friends to this house, I must not see boys or girls entering this place anyhow.”
8) Be prepared for questions about belongings:
Oh yeah! Because your car will disturb the other two already in the compound. And your freezer and oven is gonna make the electricity bill skyrocket. Even worse? The fact that you have so many clothes means you go out often which means you’ll shower a lot hence the water rates will increase because of YOU.
9) Expect to pay the outstanding utility bills of past tenants:
If you make the mistake of not asking to see if there are pending bills before you pay rent then you’ll probably end up paying hundreds of thousands for utilities you didn’t use, alongside your bills. The home owner usually gives the “old tenants” excuse when asked about how that came to be.