Lagos state, according to Worldnomads is a high-risk area for travellers. However, this commercial hub of Nigeria is filled with lots of opportunities for youngsters.
Akinwunmi Ambode, a former governor of Lagos state once stated that 123,000 people migrate to Lagos state every day; this means every minute, 86 persons move to the second-largest city in Africa.
If you are one of these people and in search of an apartment, it is worthy to note that even though Lagos is about 655% larger than New York, anybody who has ever been in your shoes will tell you “it is not easy to get an apartment in Lagos”. Also, your nightmare is never complete without the headaches from Real Estate agents.
Here are five tips to mitigate your horrible experience. Don’t be angry at us for using the word “horrible”, you will understand when you start your excursion with one of these agents.
Hold on, are you thinking of going house-hunting all by yourself? As much as it is not impossible to get a place using this Do It Yourself (DIY) method, your chance of success is limited in this city.
When dealing with any real estate agent in Lagos, make sure he/she has an office, or shop (it will amaze you some of them do). With this, you know where to find them in case of any problem.
This however does not rule out real estate agents without an office/shop. Just be more careful in your dealings with them. Better if they are recommended by a friend with a positive review.
Have a Deal Before Paying Consultation Fee
It is not unlikely for Lagos real estate agents to request a consultation fee before showing you around the potential houses. This consultation fee ranges from N2,000 to N10,000 and may be more in sophisticated areas of Lagos, depending on how well you can negotiate.
If you are reaching out to the real agent via phone, make sure to confirm and haggle the consultation fee before travelling to the scheduled meeting point.
Many of them are more concerned about the consultation fee, this is why you need to request certain conditions are met. Before paying, make it clear if the property is not as shown (probably) in a WhatsApp photo, you are getting your money back. Also state that if the properties they are showing are not what you are looking for, they will continue to help you in search of a befitting one.
It is also worthy to note that Lagos real estate agents usually charge commission and agreement fees. There have been testimonies that even when these agents do not charge these fees, the landlord would instead.
The Lagos State Real Estate Transaction Regulatory Authority Law stipulates the fee should not to be more than 15 per cent.
However, get ready to haggle the price, as Lagos real estate agents are ready to charge you more than 50% of your house rent. This means a house with a rent of N350,000 for instance may be listed for N550,000 when all the commissions are calculated.
Payment Without Physical Examination
You may get too excited to see a property you will like to occupy. As in, not physically, but on phone (probably via WhatsApp). Stop!! What if the real estate agent took a picture of an already occupied property and presented it to you as vacant.
Never pay for a room in Lagos without going to inspect it yourself. While inspecting, make sure you check out all the necessary facilities. If possible, interview some of the tenants on the property about their experience. There is nothing bad in getting to know the experience that awaits you in your intending new home.
Pay To My Account Agents
Don’t pay into a Lagos agent account. Insist on seeing the landlord. If impossible, ask for the landlord’s lawyer’s contact. Most property owners in Lagos usually have a lawyer that handles their tenancy agreement.
Only pay to the landlord’s account and never into the agent’s account no matter how nice he/she seems.
Payment Without Receipt
Whether you are paying to a landlord or his lawyer, ensure a receipt or proof of payment is issued.
The receipt should state:
- Date on which rent was received
- Names and addresses of the landlord and the tenant
- Description and location of premises in respect of which the rent is paid
- Amount of rent paid
- Period to which the payment relates
It is advisable not to pay in cash and instead pay via a bank transfer. This method of payment will give you evidence of payment.
Now that you have five ways to outsmart dubious Lagos real estate agents, it is worthy to know some things about the state’s tenancy law.
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Lagos Tenancy Law 2011 Section 4 states that:
It shall be unlawful for a landlord or his agent to demand or receive from a sitting tenant rent in excess of six (6)
months from a monthly tenant and one (1) year from a yearly tenant in respect of any premises without prejudice to the
nature of tenancy held at the commencement of the tenancy.
(2) It shall be unlawful for a sitting tenant to offer or pay rent in excess of one (1) year for a yearly tenant and six (6) months for a monthly tenant in respect of any premises.
(3) It shall be unlawful for a landlord or his agent to demand or receive from a new or would be tenant rent in
excess of one (1) year in respect of any premises.
(4) It shall be unlawful for a new or would be tenant to offer or pay rent in excess of one (1) year in respect of
(5) Any person who receives or pays rent in excess of what is prescribed in this Section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of One Hundred Thousand Naira (N100,000.00) or to three (3) months imprisonment
The Tenancy Law 2011 however does not apply to these areas:
(ii) Ikeja GRA.
(iv) Victoria Island
Section 6 of the law however states that:
(1) the tenant’s entitlement to quiet and peaceable enjoyment of the Premises includes the right to –
(b) Freedom from unreasonable disturbance;
(c) exclusive possession of the premises, subject to the landlord’s restricted right of inspection; and
(d) the use of common areas for reasonable and lawful purpose.
(2) Where a tenant with the previous consent in writing of the landlord, effects improvements on the premises and the landlord determines the tenancy, such a tenant shall be entitled to claim compensation for the effected improvements on quitting the premises.