My friend has been looking for an apartment for several weeks and it's becoming a huge headache. He wants something small and simple. A one bedroom apartment in Surulere. He was hoping he would get this for about 300 or 400 thousand naira, but alas it is not to be so! Except he wants to live in a dingy closet in some obscure shithole.
Oh, he did find two decent places he could afford. He was excited but unfortunately they both came with a clause; the landlord doesn't want an igbo person.
A third place he could afford and did like, also came with a clause; the landlord is not renting to single people, only family.
Nigerian landlords are an interesting lot. I've heard all sorts; no single women (I've been told that). Single women but she must have a professional job she is doing (Wait. You're taking the piss, right? What does it matter to you as long as I pay my rent when due?). No Igbos. (Igbos wetin una do people?). No single men. No Muslims. Only yoruba Muslims. Only newly weds. Only families; no singletons. On and on it goes..
Now this landlord insists that the only persons he can lease his one bedroom flat to, is a family. He must be one of all those fetish landlords that people talk about. The ones that they say when you live in their houses things stop working in your life. So it's only a family you're going to rent out your one bedroom flat to? One tiny airless flat with cubicle for a bedroom and it must be a whole family? You must be a wicked pezzon!
Yesterday my friend calls me complaining. Their rent was just increased from 1M Naira to 1.4M Naira. This, for a 3 bedroom flat in Agege. Hmmmm.
Another friend's parents are moving out of their gbagada home this year because the rent skyrocketed. Like you wake up one day and learn that your rent is twice what it was yesterday, and if you don't like it then it's ok. Just please kindly vacate the premises.
I know that the land and the property thereon belongs to the landlord, either by inheritance, acquisition, gift or whatever, and as such she/he is entitled to do just what she/he pleases.
But I wonder how it works. Landlord's kids' school fees increases? Just increase the rent. Landlord's wife is pregnant? Increase the rent. Landlord's girlfriend needs a summer vacation? Increase the rent. Landlord sees the area is developing eventhough landlord has in no way contributed to this? Increase the rent. The government just fixed the roads and put street lights? Increase the rent. Landlord doesn't like the tenants? Increase the rent.
I'm going to be a landlord so I'd like to know now how these things work. Can I randomly and arbitrarily increase rents whenever I please? Is it well within my rights to refuse to rent my premises to certain tribes, religions or classes of people? If there are laws regulating these things am I subjected to them when the property is legally mine, acquired by my own sweat?
What do you think? Have you had any interesting experience with landlords? And landlords, what informs your decisions? Tell...