By Damilola Ojo
LAGOS, (Sundiata Post) – When you become a part of the private rented sector for the first time, there are a number of things you have to consider to ensure you are not cheated and that you’re in a secure and safe tenancy. Jumia Travel, the leading online travel agency, shares 6 things you as a first time renter should consider before renting an apartment.
Tenancy Contracts – Though they tend to be long, confusing and full of legal jargon, it is important to avoid the temptation of just skipping to the end and signing it without reading. A tenancy contract is a legally binding document that mandates your landlord to do certain things that you definitely should be aware of to avoid being taken by a rude surprise.
Upfront Costs – It’s easy for first-time renters to forget that aside monthly or yearly rent, there are also upfront costs of renting an apartment and you’ll almost always have to complete the payment of the costs before you can move into the apartment. You should prepare and plan ahead for these costs to avoid a rude shock in this area.
Long Term Costs – Aside monthly or yearly rent, there are other utility payments like electricity, water etc. that you have to consider. You need to be sure if certain utilities are covered by your rent and provided for or if you will have to either source for them or pay for them.
Take a Meter Reading Before Signing on the Dotted Line – Landlords are fond of passing on previous electricity bills to new and unsuspecting tenants. Ensure you are not a victim of this by taking a meter reading of the electricity meter when you come to inspect the house. You can also request to see evidence that electricity bills have been paid to date and there are no outstanding bills left for you to shoulder. Please ensure you do this to avoid being charged by PHCN for electricity previous tenants used.
Safety and Appearance of the Neighbourhood – Many first-time renters often get carried away with the excitement of renting their first apartment and forget to assess the safety of the neighbourhood their renting the apartment in. Please ensure you do not make this mistake. Landlords will hardly be truthful or sincere about the safety of the neighbourhood of their apartments, so you have to ask around and make necessary enquiries. You can talk to one or two people who live and work around the area to get information about what the area is really like.
Accessibility – Try to get an apartment that has an easy or relatively easy access to public transportation, provision stores, medical facilities or anything else you consider important to your living situation. This will help make life in the apartment easier for you.