Five Thing to Look Out for in a Rent Agreement

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Finding an affordable property to rent/lease can be a real nightmare. Sometimes the stress of checking one property after another, perhaps for months, begins to culminate in a desperation—an eagerness to grab the first one that meets our criteria.

When eventually, we find a suitable one, we are often in such a hurry to move in that we do not take time to read and fully understand the terms and conditions contained therein or even insist long enough to have clauses that will favour us inserted into the agreement for fear of losing to other ‘faster’ bidders.

This negligence of the part of tenants can often end up leaving enough room for minor mistakes that can sometimes become so costly we’d wish we never leased/ rented a piece of real estate in the first place.

So before you sign that rental documents, keep your eyes peel on:

1.    Renovations
Before you quickly begin to renovate and fix the place to suite your taste, be sure to look at what the agreement says concerning renovation. If the landlord says you are free to renovate the place, be sure you get this in writing in the rental agreement. Otherwise, you may end up bearing the financial burden of restoring the place to its original condition when it’s time to move. You sure don’t want to part with multiples of hundreds of thousands of Naira just because you didn’t pay attention.

2.    Rent and utilities
Some apartment complexes may include some utilities as part of your rent, therefore the onus lies on you to read the agreement and take note of which ones, and how much. Some landlords will include stuffs like security aspart of the rent and still expect you to continue paying for it on a monthly basis afterwards. So know what you have paid for and what you will still pay for.

3.    Rent renewal:
It is not hard to come across greedy landlords who can insert clauses that automatically disqualifies a tenant from keeping an apartment if their rent is not renewed in, say, three days. This is especially true when house owners are always on the lookout for tenants who are willing to pay more. Stories abound of tenants whose rent were increased by as much as five million Naira [in this same Lagos] —right after they had spent millions renovating the place. The tenant had to move out.

4.    What will make the landlord kick you out?
How do you move into an apartment without checking the agreement to find out what could earn you an eviction notice by tomorrow morning? This right here may not apply to face-me-i-face-you houses, but if you are doing a substantial sum of money to pay for an apartment, you need to have things clearly spelt out.
5.    This is business, no informality
This happens frequently in low-cost housing scenarios. Landlord asks you to pay and promises to give receipt later, without any agreement of any sort. You pay and enter one chance. Never, I repeat, never do this, except you can transfer the money to his bank account and have receipt to show for it.

 

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