Our Toilet is Shaking: Diary of a Nigerian Tenant

On Diary of a Nigerian Tenant, I will be telling you about my experience today being a Nigerian tenant. A few hours ago, I and my co-tenants meant with the leadership of the housing agency managing the building where I live. Well, the meeting was supposed to hold yesterday. According to the agents, they kind of got things mixed missed up, so they had to come today. In attendance were few tenants, because most persons had travelled home due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and others had yet to return from their place of work.

We the tenants were anticipative of the meeting because we had a lot of issues that we need fixing in our apartment. One of our aims was about the renewal of our rents. I must say that COVID-19 was a big hit to every aspect of our lives. It feels that our current rent tenure is a total waste because we did not get the benefit of our money due to the lockdown. I know about some few persons that had only stayed three months here out of the ten months that had already gone past. That is terrible.

When I got a knock on my door this afternoon, I was taken aback who it was, turned out to be an invitation for the meeting. At this point, I have to say that it was raining cat and dog. I quickly wore a shirt and a trouser and matched out. The mistake I made is that I had not worn a cardigan but instead wore a short leaved polo shirt. The freaking cold dealt with me recklessly.

The meeting started with an opening prayer by the president of the agency. From her opening remark, I knew there was little we could negotiate about a particular annual agency payment, the supposed highlight of the day. She went on to ask about certain things, how satisfied we were and what we needed. Of course, as a typical Nigerians, we cannot be fulfilled 😁.

The funny thing is that all the occupants of the house are experiencing a similar problem; the toilet bowl is shaking because it is not attached to the floor. The water cistern does not even have a toilet seat attached to it. So when you poo, you will discover it’s a shaking-rocking toilet.

I need not bother you further about the other details of the meeting. Or should I? One thing peculiar about landlords in Nigeria is that they are always reluctant to do the needful and fix things required when you must have already moved into the apartment. It is easier to insist that everything is in place before moving in than the latter. Do you know why this is very challenging?

There are a lot of prospective Nigerian tenants who are ready to move in with the facility already in place. This knowledge forces a lot of Nigerians to manage the situation to avoid missing out to other house seekers.

Landlords must focus on maintaining their landed properties. They should listen and act on the complaints of their Nigerian tenants. When they make the necessary fixes, they benefit more because it gives their property the propensity to last a long time. So you know, the maintenance culture in Nigeria is quite poor.

In some case, Nigerian landlords are unlucky to rent their houses to some uncultured people. These group of persons never have the intention of contributing their quota to the maintenance of the building. When they leave such a building at the end of the day, the sight is an eyesore.

As a Nigerian tenant, when you are about to enter a building, make sure you thoroughly read through the housing agreement and get as much information about the building. The security situation, power supply to the area and other necessary things should be acknowledged.

The reality of being a Nigerian tenant is that a house for rent can never be perfect. There will always be something that goes amiss, whether the toilet is shaking, erratic power supply, leaking roof, insecurity, etc. All these facts in mind, look for a place that meets your minimum requirement that you can always manage the deficiencies of the building.

The meeting ended on a mixed note which I cannot say whether we were unhappy or we just had to accept the reality. Of course, our preposition on the payment did not go well 😭. We could not bank on the effect of the COVID-19 because everybody is affected – the landlord, real estate agents and tenants. But do you agree that landlords should have given one-month free rent as a palliative?

The fact that we are alive is more reason to be grateful. Many have gone to the land of no return due to the pandemic. Thankfully, everything is appearing to be getting normal. We have to stay positive (not for COVID-19). We need a positive mind that this too shall pass.

Being a Nigerian tenant during a pandemic is not a pleasurable situation. Life must go on people go, people come. Run your race. You can check my favourite Nigerian Personal & Lifestyle bloggers

What is your experience with landlords and real estate agents?

Diary of a Nigerian Tenant

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