Olufunke Alao

I’ve heard a lot of interesting landlord stories and I’ll share some here but first let me share my own landlord saga with you.

I once rented an apartment in Lagos and my landlord asked me to drop a postdated cheque because he wanted me to pay for 2 years. That, by the way, is illegal according to the Lagos State land laws. I didn’t do it.

There are so many greedy landlords, especially in Lagos who will promise you heaven and earth only to elope after you’ve paid rent.

Dozie, my new friend from Abuja told me about his former landlord who promised to make some improvements to the house on the agreement that the rent will be increased by 50,000 Naira the following year. The landlord reneged on this agreement, she didn’t make any improvement on the house and still went on to increase the rent as agreed earlier.

As I was researching for this article my sister also told me about a story that went viral about a man who had been paying rent for 10 years to his wife, not knowing that his wife was the landlord. Funny right? The day he found out that his wife was the landlord he fell into a coma. I know a few of my female clients who would be secret landlords to their hubby but I won’t mention names..*laughs. I thought this story was funny but she’s a smart businesswoman if you ask me. There shouldn’t be sentiments in business especially in real estate where a lot of money is involved. However, I don’t subscribe to deceit in business either.

There is another phenomenon amongst landlords, some of them especially when you live with them in their property they get so nosy and unbearable but not all landlords are like that, though. There are still so many responsible landlords out there and I hope you are one of them.

I have so many clients who treat their tenants with such respect and care. I even have a client who organizes tennis tournaments for his tenants and even makes them matching T-shirts. My company offers facility management services and we’ve worked with some great landlords and some not so great ones too..*laughs

We also heard of ‘yeye landlords’ who have sexual affairs with tenants and these tenants don’t pay rent as such. This is bad for business and in no time such a landlord will run down by the time accounts don’t balance up. Reputation is a great asset in the real estate circle and if you have a rotten reputation you’ll hardly bear fruits.

Professionalism is essential as many landlords will go to lengths to get rents and additional payments from tenants. Some will come up with all sorts of charges that weren’t initially included in the Tenancy Agreement.
I even heard of a landlord that went to his tenant’s place of work to embarrass her openly. That is so uncouth and unprofessional as there are better ways to go about it.

The most touching of the landlord chronicles is that of Steph my budding nurse friend who rented a BQ ( boys quartets) in Lekki Lagos and months after she moved in, having paid rent realized that the landlord had sold the house and moved out of Nigeria with his family. There were no arrangements between the former landlord and the new one concerning Steph and her tenancy. Needless to say that it was a very troubling experience for her.

Being a landlord is not an opportunity to oppress. The fact that you’re privileged to own real estate doesn’t mean you’re supreme or that other people don’t matter. Don’t forget that without these tenants you’ll have no business or money. Your tenants are your clients, your money makers, and you ought to treat them like Kings and Queens.

On a lighter note, don’t mess with your tenants except you know their full history and family background. That’s how a landlord slapped his tenant in anger and slept in the barracks that night. He slapped the wrong person. *laughs

I must say that this article is not written to attack or ridicule landlords, I just thought to do an expose on the various rampant vices amongst landlords in our time. However, I’m also writing this to encourage landlords to be more professional and kind towards tenants.

If you’re a landlord and you just can’t be bothered about managing tenants and maintenance of the property especially if you own more than one property or you’re not domiciled where your properties are, I will recommend that you hire a Facility Manager to take the stress of you and increase productivity.

The landlords I’ve worked with always have positive feedback on how signing up with our company to manage their facility has been a great decision and made their lives less complicated.

Let me leave you with this quote
“Yeye Landlords end up being broke, don’t be a Yeye Landlord’

Funke Alao ESQ. is the Chief Realtor at MOLAB GROUP

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