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Dennis Isong: How to Know If You’re Being Overcharged for Rent



Paying more than the actual rent is a real estate scam carried out by some Nigerian property owners. This usually occurs when you are renewing your lease or moving into a new apartment. In the former situation, an overcharge on the annual cost of an apartment may easily be challenged but in the latter case, there is a good chance that you will continue to pay the inflated rates without discovering the truth. Most landlords rarely return the housing price to its original worth, and once this inflated price is declared normal, the chances of getting your money back are small. Furthermore, while the price of rentals in Nigeria is at the discretion of the landlord, prospective lodgers should exercise caution before going into any binding arrangement. 

But how can you tell if your landlord is overcharging you for rent or not? What steps can you take to avoid being a victim? 

There are several causes of overcharged rent and most of them are largely dependent on environmental factors. Spotting homes with high renting costs nowadays is a difficult call but not impossible. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a certified real estate professional to be able to decode the common signs of this fraudulent scheme. Here are some indicators of overcharged house rent:


Most landlords in Nigeria frequently raise the cost of rent for a variety of reasons. Once your flat rent has been raised, it is your responsibility to investigate the reason for the increase and decide whether it is worth it or not. For example, if a building is valued at 40,000 naira per year and the figures increase the following year as a result of multiple notable upgrades, it is prudent to comply. However, if the restored apartment fails to meet the expected standard that comes with such a high cost, you should begin negotiating with the owner.

You should also meet your co-tenants and learn about their current rent. This will allow you to determine whether or not the rent increase applies exclusively to you. You can also talk to your neighbours about the rental rates in that region. You’ll have a clear financial picture before meeting with the landlord to negotiate.

Location of the Building

Buildings in economically and commercially important areas are typically more expensive than those in less marketing-relevant locales. This is one of the reasons why apartments in Lagos and other major cities are more expensive than those in less developed areas.

So, being overcharged on accommodation in areas that are less economically superior can be avoided provided you have a knowledge of rent trends in that region. You should also determine if paying so much because of a particular location is worth it.

Infrastructures and Amenities

The quality of infrastructural amenities offered in a location has an impact on rental prices. Buildings in areas with good road networks, steady energy supply, clean water, standard schools, a robust security setup, and an adequate waste disposal system, among other things, are generally more expensive than areas that do not have them.

Industrial Relevance

When an area attracts industries, the cost of renting there tends to rise. This is due to the fact that the existence of industries and companies attract a huge market force to a region. In Nigeria, places that have these industries typically have a rental advantage over others, mostly because of people’s desire for a better quality of life.

Living near an industrial region, in many cases, allows you to have easy access to basic infrastructure like good roads, electricity or water. If you live in a community with fewer industries, it’s best to assess the rental before signing an agreement.

Quality of the Apartment

The condition of an apartment speaks louder than a formal bargain. Buildings with adequate ventilation, tiled flooring, plenty of space, a modernised bathroom and toilet, a closet, and other apartment facilities are often more expensive. As a result, you should weigh the interior of the apartment in advance, this way, you’ll know whether it’s worth your patronage or not.

The Type of Home

There are several types of apartments. In cases like this, the higher their rents are, the better they are. Renting a one-bedroom apartment is less expensive than renting a two-bedroom, three-bedroom, and so on.

More specifically, self-contained residences are better suited to families than individuals, nonetheless, renters have no restrictions on their options. If you choose to live in a one-bedroom apartment, you should be aware of its rental value. The same goes for other sorts of structures. Even if you are more interested in luxury, make an effort to learn about the costs of renting well-furnished residences. The reason for this is that it is more difficult to identify an overcharge on costly flats than on their cheaper counterparts.

Knowing when you’re being overcharged for rent is important. Accommodation is already one of an individual’s significant expenses, thus the addition of rental fraud to the scenario adds to the financial instability. Cases of rent overcharges are common in Nigeria’s large cities, so if you plan on relocating to an apartment in one of these regions, be mindful of the bargain you negotiate with any lessor.

Featured Image: Pexel

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