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Five Questions Intending Home Renter-Tenant Must Answer Before Making Payment

Whichever way any intending home renter/ tenant want to look at it, landlords are not devils and in most cases they are not magicians either. 

Whatever facilities they have not provided for before you rent the house will most certainly not suddenly appear after you make payment. 

Ignore the pleas and promises of your real estate agent. You will be the one to live in the house for the next one year or so. And you will be the one to bear the brunt of their (landlord and agent) selfishness. 

So before you sign that tenancy agreement, ask yourself these five questions.

1. How far is the house from your working place or school?

If it’s within walking distance, great! If not then consider the cost. 

Add up the total cost it will take you to transport yourself to work/ school in a month. If it’s more than 30% of your salary/ monthly stipend, then that house is not worth it, no matter how gorgeous it may look. 

What if you have a car? I’d advise you take into consideration the distance and traffic on your way to and from work/ school. If you must pass through a busy area where traffic is hell, then maybe your agent has not done enough to earn her commission yet.

2. Is there steady water supply?

I believe it’s Fela who sang ‘Water, e no get enemy’. It’s as true as heaven. 

Water is an inestimable resource that should come cheap, constantly and in abundance. 

If the water is supplied via pipes directly into your would-be apartment, great! If not, you can manage if there’s a borehole or a clean well within the compound. 

But if you have to go three streets or ten houses away before you can access good, portable water, I think you should only take the house (if you must!) should the landlords daughters agree to fetch a drum of water for your exclusive use twice a week….for free.

3. Is there any bugging electricity issues on ground?

Let me not waste words on houses that are not connected to the national grid. Power supply may not be steady presently but soon it will. Still that is not excuse for not getting connected. If you cannot see any cable wire running from an electric pole into the building, run!

As for house that have stored up huge bills with the Electricity Distribution Company, ask that the landlord explain how your monthly power bills will not be affected by their past slothful habits.

4. Is the home in good condition?

Of course if you ask the landlord or agent this question, both will most certainly reply yes, even if the opposite is true. Therefore, you may have to take a little tour around the house to be sure. 

Look at the ceiling for signs of leaks during rains. Check the window and doors. Take the stairs one at a time. Stand on the veranda. Hold the railings fast. You can even try to flush the toilet. 

Overlook the wall paints since you can get it painted later without burning a hole in your pockets but check closely the part of the walls to the floor to see tell-tale signs of the house standing in a swamp. 

If it’s all good, you are safe.

5. What do you have to share with other tenants?

I didn’t believe this could ever happen until a client of mine called to complain that the landlord insisted that the tenant from the other flat would be using my client’s toilet facilities. 

Apparently, the tenant and his family had been using the restroom in the vacant flat before my client moved in because the plumbing system in his own apartment got damaged and the landlord refused to pay good money to get it fixed. 

Two tenants from two different flats sharing the same toilet in a house that is not face-me-I-face-you. Incredulous! We took up issues with the landlord and got him to stop the abusive acts. 

So be clear up front what facilities are exclusively yours: the parking space, electricity meter, compound cleaning duties, main generator fuelling and the likes. 

Once all your questions are answered satisfactorily, be rest assured that your money has bought you good comfort, pay every dues you have agreed on and good luck in your new home. 

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