Landlord don do you strong tin before? Here’s my story:
I was thinking about a past event that happened in my life. It was about my unfortunate ordeal with my landlord. I did my NYSC in the South- Eastern part of Nigeria and I rented a studio apartment a.k.a self-contained for myself. I heard the Landlord(lady) wasn’t nice but to my surprise I enjoyed every bit of my stay there. The service year was over and I landed a job immediately in Port Harcourt. I had to leave fast to secure my job, hoping to come back and take my properties. But a month later, I was transferred back there, so I went back but needed to get a bigger apartment cos I don upgrade na. This lady was patient with me to get another apartment two months after my rent expired and told me I should take all the time. I was shocked and appreciative but I just didn’t want to take advantage of that so I quickly looked for an apartment, desperately, I might add. I eventually moved to the new place. I was so impressed with her ethics, I got her some bottles of wine to say thank you. Then my ordeal started….
When I got this new place, I was accompanied by a former colleague who knew the area very well and was a good negotiator. I was looking for a one bedroom apartment to pay for a year. I finally saw something I loved but it wasn’t ready. My colleague and I struck a deal with the landlord and excitedly, I paid almost the whole rent upfront and promised to come back the next day to pay a tiny balance left, which was a score-thousand. Omo! I came back and I didn’t see the Landlord, rather I saw the wife and when I handed her the balance, she seemed shocked and “thought I was paying for two years”. Whaaaat?!!! My head spun/spinned (anyone, English hard!). I called the Landlord and my colleague, the Landlord told me that he told me I’m to pay for two years. Whaaat?!…. How? We signed on a piece of paper just to collect money. The real document wasn’t signed yet. His lawyer brought the real document later for me to sign and it stated two years. I was so upset. This people don put me for one chance. In the midst of the brouhaha, Lawyer was asking for his fee, na dat time I know say dem don send people from village to hinder my progress. The landlord told me that I had no problem, I can pay the 2nd year’s rent, 3 months later into my first year rent. I told him I can’t cough out 2nd year rent that early, that I have to take back my money and start house-hunting again which I’d given up on. He said it wasn’t necessary and that he’d give me 6 months to pay instead. I thought it was a good deal, We agreed and signed on it, na there I enter wahala oh. My shine-shine teeth and happy -go-lucky personality has put me in serious problem.
Gradually I started fixing things in the house. I had to do the light fittings, kitchen fittings to my taste. Even had to choose the paint I needed for the place, he said the one I wanted was expensive, so I added money to his paint budget to give me the coating I wanted. Single girl then, working hard, I come home from work so tired. They were so nice, their kids would run errands for me. All was well, after all I was living in my own-paid home, E easy?! I started putting things in the house, that wasn’t easy cos I had to save and wait till pay day. Like joke like joke, 6 months reach o. I was yet to get 2nd year’s rent according to our agreement.
Na so my wahala start. Nice family just started keeping long face for me. Not talking to me. Errands from kids stopped. As I was installing my DSTV at that point, e be like make the man carry gun shoot me. I wasn’t free again. Pride no gree me ask people for money cos na me dey sing “Independent woman” pass. I beg Landlord o, say make him wait. Say I go pay the next month on pay day. I carry my whole salary plus small saving, join pay and ate like a pauper that month! Then they started shining teeth again with me. I sat and thought hard, a lot of unfair things were going on because I was naive. PHCN bills would come even when I don’t see light. As in , the place was known not to have light but he told me otherwise. Even when I was on vacation and with my parents the whole month, I came back to get a bill. I complained and complained but it wasn’t doing anything cos the other tenants weren’t cooperative, probably scared of the dude. The Landlord tagged me as a pain in the ass because I kept singing my rights (after I’ve realized myself. lol)
I got married the month my 2nd rent was to expire. With wedding arrangements on my mind, I told him I need a week extra, to focus on my wedding and come back to pack my things. It passed a week and he started disturbing that people want to rent. I was so disgusted, I told him they have to wait. I came back, packed my stuff, sold some things. The funny thing was he wanted some of the properties I fixed to be left behind for free. I say lai lai, him must pay if not I’m pulling everything out. That’s when he said he’d pay but was offering very maigre amount. His lawyer was saying I should take the amount because the landlord has done me a favor taking two weeks extra for free. Chai, I don suffer! I was soooo upset. That wasn’t even legal. I had a 3 months right to stay before eviction. I just carry my load and ran as fast as I could and never looked back. After all, I was going to join hubby. My brethren and sistren, na so I take comot from pressure oh. I know he is a good man but the man like money toooo much.
I found out, this is really an issue. To build your house, people will ask you for agent fee, lawyer fee, marching ground fee, community development fee etc on top of the throat-cutting land purchase. Then when you decide to rent, you still face a smaller scale of these giant demons. You just can’t escape it. This taught be a whole lot, I know I was naive and stupid not doing proper protocol but I thought we had chemistry. LOL. Na who chemistry epp? Whether your Landlord is the nicest person on earth, take paperwork seriously. Weigh long term agreements and consequences before you sign the dotted lines. My next post on this topic will be about knowing your right as a Tenant and also as a Landlord, before we hear that one thing-one thing happened, and someone ended up in jail. Abeg, share your landlord/tenant experience.
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