Leaving or Quitting Your Rented Apartment In Nigeria?

Many things contribute to ending a tenancy and eventually unless you buy the property, every tenant would leave someday. Everything that has a beginning has an end.
Hopefully every tenant has been helped out of many seemingly impossible situations and can now sleep more peacefully and live better.

A. SO WHY ARE YOU LEAVING?

The best reason to leave rented accommodation as a tenant is when you have built or bought your own house and can finally be the proud owner of your accommodation.

– Some tenants leave because the accommodation is now too small for their needs as a growing family.

– Sometimes the condition of disrepair is just too bad and despite the tenant’s effort to patch up and manage, it has become unbearable and dangerous. It is time to move.

– You received a Quit Notice! Yes that is enough reason to leave. Rather, to quit or else you stand the risk of being evicted eventually if the notice is not intended to squeeze more money out of your pocket.

– A King has come that does not know Joseph. Either by purchase (private treaty) or by auction, if the landlord is dispossessed of his property, the new owners may want to use or renovate their property and ask you to leave. You can delay it but ultimately you will have to move.

– Or you have been identified as an offender of some sort, using the house roughly and causing damage, owing rents repeatedly after many warnings, quarreling with the landlord and other co-tenants.

– There are so many other reasons why people leave their present abode to move on in life, including just wanting a change of environment or escaping hostility in the neighbourhood but most of them have been covered here.

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B. ALSO RECOGNIZE WHEN TO LEAVE

Why should tenants always wait to be pushed around or pushed out before leaving a rented apartment? Ideally every tenant should display a degree of self esteem and move on in certain circumstances.

Deep conflict may arise between the tenant and the landlord. This commonly arises when the landlord lives within the same premises or is within earshot. When such a situation involves a domineering landlord who interferes in everything without the tenant’s privacy being honoured to the level that the tenant has become subservient, it is probably time to leave.

Others are relational and are mentioned briefly below:
– Friction with other tenants based on disagreement about housekeeping (sweeping the compound) or simple contributions towards maintenance that leaves you either bearing mounting expenses alone or being isolated by others.

– Simple things like car parking arrangement needs everyone’s understanding and cooperation. Sometimes, nobody understands, so it is always a struggle.

– Who controls the water tank or the pumping machine? Why is it that others do not get to fetch water?

– Also poor relationship among your children and children of some co-tenants that has defied simple solutions and consequently even the adults/parents have started to quarrel bitterly. In such unhealthy environment it may be wiser to leave.

– Frequent power cuts due to accumulated PHCN billing or crazy billing that results PHCN raids every few weeks may become unbearable and unresolved.

– When conflicts actually become life threatening, it is time to leave. There was once a tenant who came back from work in the evening to find blood sprinkled at his door steps but did not know who it was that sprinkled it. Since he had been at daggers drawn with another he did not wait to find out if it was chicken blood or goat, he simply looked for alternative accommodation. Threats to life can be physical, emotional, or metaphysical. Do not wait to find out which one – just move on.

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C. LEAVE PEACEFULLY

Obviously not all the reasons why people leave are good and many tenants leave in bitter conditions even when they are not forcefully ejected. It is therefore common for people to quarrel as they are leaving. Every tenant should try to avoid such and leave the house peacefully so that years after, the records will witness your peaceful exit.

– Try documenting your complaints by a written letter and also write at the moment you are actually leaving.

– Formally handover the keys to the landlord or his agent(s). You may feel like just leaving the keys at the entrance so that they can come and take their things but it is mature to hand back the house and have someone sign for the keys they have received from you.

As you do this, point out records of payments on utility bills – PHCN (last payment), water (where applicable), telephone and so on.

Remove only your own fittings. It is cheap to take fittings that belong to the house and it derogates your character. Do not take things you have replaced while in use. For instance, if a wall bracket got broken while you lived in a flat and you replaced it with a better one, you need not take the one you bought to replace it, since you originally met one there at your tenancy commencement.

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Make the house as decent as possible as you quit. If you consider the landlord or his agents, you really might not think it is worth it, but it is just decent.

Every of these last positive acts as you leave is just to make you rise above and taller than the unfair treatment given by the landlord or agent since you are purposely not paying him back in his own coin. Ultimately it takes you on to your next apartment whether you own it or not with a lighter feeling and possibly a smile on your face. Someday soon, being a tenant would just have been another stage in life which you have put behind you.

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