Being a tenant in Nigeria is really hard. It’s even harder if you have your landlord in the same compound or if you have more than two other co-tenants in the same compound. The worst situation is if you live me in a face me I face you. There are too many written and unwritten rules to follow if you want to be the good tenant.
The good tenant isn’t just that good guy with the “nice guy” tag, he/she is someone the landlord and co-tenants respect and speak well of all the time.
No matter where you live in Nigeria, the following rules are generally applicable in any kind of environment.
Pay your rent on time
This is by far the most important rule. Whether you live in a flat, single apartment or even a duplex, just ensure that you pay you rent on time. This not only makes your landlord respect you, you’re also confident to be in his good books all the time .And when there’s a delay in payment some other time, he’ll understand that you’re not always like that.
Prepare your utility bills before the end of the month
Utility bills like electricity and waste management bills are usually paid at the end of the month. Make sure you have it prepared before there’s a general contribution to pay the bills (depending on the arrangement you have in place with your co-tenants or landlord). Trust me; you don’t want to be that guy who doesn’t pay his bills.
Don’t be the borrowing neighbour
We’re humans and we’re bound to need a thing or two we do not have at a particular moment.
It could be the match box got empty unexpectedly or you forgot to buy enough water (sachet or bottle) and now the estate gate is locked. Things like this are bound to happen from time to time and it isn’t a crime if you go to your neighbour to borrow. But don’t overdo this, especially if you live in an estate kind of setting. You don’t want to be that borrowing neighbour guy that goes to his neighbour for salt, oil, iron even polish. You’ll lose your respect faster than a Nigerian head of state running for third term.
Be kind to your neighbours
Genuinely show kindness to your neighbour(s). Most people think kindness is all about giving cash. I’ll tell you a short story. It was a Saturday afternoon, and like most Saturdays in the south west, there were parties and my neighbours attended. Then it began to rain and I noticed that there were clothes on the line outside. Being the only one around, I took the clothes inside while it was still cloudy before it began to rain. To my neighbour’s surprise, I presented the dry and neatly folded clothes to her when she returned later that night. She was happy and she thanked me. I didn’t even know the clothes were what she intended to put on to church the following day.
Little acts of kindness not only command respect, but love and peaceful coexistence among neighbours.
Keep it low behind closed doors.
Do you need to scold your children, argue with your better half, or receiving phone calls. Always keep it low behind closed doors.
If you live in a city like Lagos or Abuja, you are bound to have neighbours of different cultural and religious backgrounds. Be tolerant with their belief so you can all live in harmony.
Always greet people around you
It may not even go beyond “good morning”, “good afternoon” and “good night” just make it a duty to always greet people around you.
Avoid gossip with your neighbours.
When you gossip about your neighbours, they’ll do the same about you in your absence shikena!
Avoid dating your co tenants *
Especially if you live in a shared apartment. No matter how cute and tempting they may seem, you do not want the extra drama that comes with the relationship. Imagine if there’s a fight between you two, or one of you is short on rent or your utility bills or if there’s a break up…or it could end in a good way too, and you both live happily ever after.
To the bachelors
If you’re a bachelor, avoid close interactions with the landlord’s daughter(s), except the landlord initiates the relationship. Avoid close interactions with single and married ladies in the compound too.
To the single ladies
If you’re a single lady, make sure the neighbours know your fiancé or boyfriend. It’s mostly cultural for Nigerians to treat single ladies living alone without respect (which is really bad). In order to avoid gossips and unnecessary drama, let your boyfriend pay you a visit once in a while and make sure to introduce him to your neighbours.
Other rules include:
Be considerate with the way you park your car(s) in the compound. Always consider other tenants coming in or going out of the compound while parking your car.
Never return home drunk .If you ended up being drunk at a party or weekend groove, just go home with your friends. You don’t want to have that drunkard tag in the neighbourhood.
Be modest and mind your business all the time.
Always lead by example, let your way of reasoning and doing things stand out from the rest of the neighbours.
Avoid entering your neighbours flat /room at will. They might want to reciprocate, knocking on your door on a Sunday morning or at odd times when you need your rest.
Make sure you have a job. If you don’t have a job, you won’t have a voice in the compound. Especially if you live in a shared apartment.
If you live in a shared apartment, avoid bringing too many friends to your house.
Lastly, don’t be that guy who doesn’t flush the toilet after use. If you live in a face me I face you, you won’t only get daily insults…you’ll get cursed too. And if you’re neighbours are the fetish type, it’s only a matter of time before they render you useless.