It’s very easy to grow excited about finding an apartment that ticks all the boxes for you. So exciting that you sign the tenancy agreement and go into a contract with terms that do not favor you.

The risk of signing yourself into an unpleasant situation is high in Lagos. But you can avoid having to tell stories that touch. In this article you’ll find essential questions for your landlord. The answers to these queries will help you make the best decisions.

Here, we’ll cover issues that should come up during your first meeting with the landlord. Those include security and curfews, pets and visitors, rent hikes, subletting, and so much more.

Security and Curfews

Security is a genuine concern in Lagos, as break-ins are the norm in some neighborhoods, but rare in others. So, make sure to ask about the security situation in the neighborhood you’re looking to rent in. Is there a private security outfit in charge? Is there a vigilante group? Do you have to pay security dues? Where it concerns your home-to-be, there’s nothing like too much information.

Also, security-related is the question of curfews. Some landlords insist on having a curfew for their rented out homes as a security precaution. But this can be inconvenient if you work night shifts or have an active nightlife. Getting this info helps you decide what’s best for you.

Electricity Bill

A nightmare, is renting an apartment in Lagos and finding out that your flat owes EKEDC a six-figure electricity bill. Please, ask your landlord for the most recent electricity receipts for that apartment. It might make you seem like that annoying kid that asks too many questions in class. But it saves you an entire year of trouble.

questions to ask your landlord

Rent Increases

If the apartment is one you love and are sure you’ll live in for a while, you’ll want to know about potential hikes in rent. Ask your landlord what the frequency of rent increases is, and how much it’s likely to increase by. That helps you decide if it’s a cost you can bear, and plan if you’re still interested.

Pets and Visitors

Have you ever been a cat person surrounded by non-cat people? To avoid super-stitious-stories, ask your landlord if you can have pets. Ask what pets the landlord allows, and how much freedom they’re allowed to have. You wouldn’t want your pet ram roaming around on an unfortunate Sallah eve.

Also important is the landlord’s policy on visitors. Do they have a special curfew? How many people can visit at a time? Do they need clearance before entrance? These might seem like ridiculous questions, but some landlords place a premium value on quiet. No house parties. Sorry.

questions to ask your landlord

Subletting

Transfers or job changes happen, and sometimes you have to leave your rented apartment while your rent is still running. In cases like that, you’d want to sublet your space. Which is great, unless your tenancy agreement prohibits subletting. As difficult as it seems, make sure you ask your landlord about subletting before you sign the tenancy agreement.

Property Maintenance

If you want to live in a serviced apartment, we’ve covered the kinds of maintenance that your service charge takes care of. In this meeting, ask your landlord who handles internal repairs like leaking pipes in the kitchen. If the landlord is, is there a time limit for their indemnity? When do those repairs become your responsibility? A month after you move in? Three? Six?

questions to ask your landlord

Modifications

The need to make modifications to an apartment is usually a sore spot when house hunting in Lagos. Most landlords will not let you break through a part of their wall to make room for a new closet. Or break through walls to connect two rooms.

Having this conversation now, allows you to explain the specific purpose of the modifications. And share the precautions you’ll take to protect the property from unnecessary damage. Modifications like installing POP ceilings and cabinets are usually welcome. But if you’ll change or add to the structure, ask your landlord.

Discrimination

Usually, the house agent screens you based on the property owners’ likes and dislikes. On my last home inspection tour in Lagos, my agent kept saying “obinrin” while on the phone -- that means woman in Yoruba. He asked after my ethnicity and my religion. When queried about his intrusive questioning, he said that some landlords don’t want Muslims, while others are keen on young Muslim men.

You might slip through the house agent stage with no discriminatory issues. But you will face it when you meet the landlord — especially if you’re a single woman.

Quick fact: House-hunting in Lagos isn’t a simple journey. Know this and don’t get discouraged when you meet bigoted landlords.

questions to ask your landlord

Your first date is successful when you’ve asked your landlord all the right questions, and gotten satisfactory answers. After that, you can move on to sign the tenancy agreement and pay the rental fees. Once you do all that and collect the keys to your new home, prepare to go home shopping!

Hang on. You don’t want to fill up a filthy space with your new stuff, right? At this stage, the Eden Life deep cleaning plan is perfect for you. Get a subscription to this cleaning plan, and we’ll scrub and clean your entire home till it sparkles.