Among all the things humans need to survive, shelter takes prominence after food. It is a common belief that when you have a roof over your head half of your problem is solved hence the desire of every hard working man to acquire a house they can call home either big, small, round or square. The shape, design, location, interior and exterior does not matter to many as long as it can be called a home while to some it is a thing of importance, after all what is the point of having it if it is not a thing of pride to show the world i have arrived.
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Like many places around the world, getting an apartment to rent in the 21st century does not come easy, but in Nigeria especially Lagos it is a nightmare as some individuals called “Agent” have made it a mission to make life miserable for apartment seekers with their crazy, dehumanizing, heart wrenching, wicked exorbitant fee called “Agent and Agreement Fee.”
Some of these agents are jobless or retired individuals who stumbled on the job and see it as an opportunity to make free money.
FREE MONEY??? Yes! It is free money because these agents contributed absolutely nothing to the process of building the house nor do they invest a dime in the construction expenses but they have successfully made themselves the gatekeeper who dictate the amount to charge for the rent of the apartment because the higher the rent the higher the agent and agreement charges. After the deal is completed they vanish into the thing air and leave you to deal with whatever arising issues with the landlord or landlady.
I must admit that there are educated agents who studied surveyors and other related courses and graduated with honors and are doing the job with ethics and highly professional conduct. On the flip side, some of those who are using this agent’s job to demonize people are also educated.
I cannot help but wonder why landlords or landladies cannot handle the process of renting the house to people without going through an agent. Nonetheless, going through an agent does not guarantee that you will get the best tenant nor does it guarantee the possibility of getting the tenant a house with an honorable landlord in the city.
I often hope that one day technology would help put an end to this menace or bring about some regulatory measure to the system of renting houses but it is unfortunate that most tech geniuses who have ventured into this industry have not succeeded in eradicating it. Rather, they are in bed with the same agents, and those who try to do things differently are there to compete in the business for the most expensive areas in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria. Which begs the question, what is then the hope of a common man who can only afford a rent of 150,000, 250,000 to 350,000 per annum.
Imagine the above self-contained single room apartment in the image above apparently cost 400,000 Naira per annum rent excluding the agent and agreement fee. According to the anonymous tip. The agent in charge of the building proposed asking price is 600,000 Naira per annum rent without agent and agreement. This room will only contain a small bed and nothing more. Before you say maybe the location is Lekki, no! It is not Lekki, the location is somewhere on the mainland area of Lagos state. Even if it was Lekki, wouldn’t it be an act of pure evil to think of giving for rent such a mini space that is not even up to a studio apartment size at an asking price of 600, 000 Naira? What is wrong with us in this country?
Some apartments are not worth what may be considered a standard rate, yet some agents will plan to make their unachievable life fortune from it. Guess what? These agents themselves cannot agree to pay such extortionate rent and fees even if they can afford it. Yet, they would do it to their fellow humans.
The government is bad, politicians are embezzlers is a song we sing, even our toddlers sing it better with their adorable faces but hilarious dance, but none of us remember that we aid and abate the politicians immoralities to destroy ourselves with our notorious act of wickedness clothed with fine linen of selfishness and bigotry.
This is a call to the appropriate authorities to look into this sector for balance. This daylight extortion disguised as a legitimate and honest means of income has to stop. Enough is enough!