“His children broke into people’s houses to steal” — Nigerians share their stories of horrible tenants
"The tenant was disrespectful to my dad, didn't pay rent and accused my parents of locking his destiny with the house. He said his future getting locked was why he couldn't make money to be able to afford his rent."
Renting your property comes with a lot of hope and faith that your house will be in safe hands and that your tenants will adhere to all the rules of their contracts. Some homeowners have, however, yet to be lucky enough to have good tenants. We asked them to share their stories with us, and these are the entries we received.
His children broke into people’s houses to steal — Ayomi, Mowe.
My dad had a tenant, one of the worst tenants my dad ever had, who lived in a 2-bedroom apartment. His rent was 200k, and he was in the house for two and a half years. Although his rent had been significantly subsidised and the apartment rented to him was well maintained, he still struggled to pay for it. Despite owing rent, he also destroyed the property, and his children were notorious for breaking into people’s houses to steal.
When the man started giving my dad some trouble, my dad decided to follow due process and took him to court, but the problem was how slow the judicial process was. At some point, it began to feel like he was paying more money on legal fees than he was getting in rent.
When this tenant finally decided to leave, he moved out in the middle of the night after owing rent for almost six months. As if that wasn’t enough, he had changed the locks to prevent access to the house and also broken all the tiles.
Since this experience, my dad has become less friendly with tenants. He has stopped being overly familiar with his tenants and leaves them to his lawyers. I know there’s no manual for getting sensible tenants, so I just hope we don’t have to deal with any more unfortunate people.
Her children broke all the windows — Dee, Lagos.
Our tenant is a single mother with three sons; as we all know, it’s normal for children to play around the house. The issue with them playing around the house is their destruction of the doors and windows.
Every time the tenant is contacted concerning the damage her children are doing, she doesn’t take any accountability but instead, plays the victim and says she trusts her boys not to wreak havoc. She would also say, “There’s no one God won’t build a house for, " and insist that the landlady’s picking on her.
As though her children’s destruction of property is not enough, she also defaults on rent payments. Her rent is ₦144,000, but she always pays it in bits which wasn’t the tenancy agreement. Sometimes, her rent payment gets spread across months, depending on whatever she can afford.
The landlady is a peaceful person and has been through the legal process of ejecting her, but instead, this tenant has called everyone to beg the landlady on her behalf. The tenant finally agreed to leave the property at the end of the year after being made to write an undertaking by the landlord.
For now, we can’t statistically say the amount of damage done till she leaves the house and it’s been examined, but the house's exterior looks pretty bad, especially the windows and doors.
The landlady has decided to change her caretaker once this tenant moves out. She also won’t be taking in single parents, only families.
He didn’t pay rent and turned the public toilet into his store — Sango, Ogun State.
My dad had some stores in Sango that he rented out to traders. In 2005, he rented out this store to a popular spare parts seller. Two years after he’d been in the store, he stopped paying rent until he was given a quit notice. His rent was due in February of 2007, but he wasn’t given a quit notice until June because he had lied about the business being bad and not being able to afford his rent.
Two months (August 2007) after the notice was given, he paid six months' rent and continued to carry out his business from that store. Fast forward to April 2008, he still hadn’t offered a balance or said when the rent would be paid. After extending so much grace to this tenant, my dad went with the police to the store to better understand what had been happening. When he got to the store, the tenant was nowhere to be found.
The police searched around and eventually found him at the back of the store where the toilet used to be. They discovered that he had broken one of the two toilets in the facility and converted it into a store for himself despite owing rent in the rented store. He was arrested that day and bailed the next day. The police gave him a week's ultimatum to leave the property, which he did.
The co-tenant didn’t report all he’d done to the landlord because they assumed he’d been given a pass to do whatever he wanted with the property.
He accused my parents of locking his destiny — Dayo, Lagos.
The tenant was disrespectful to my dad, didn't pay rent and accused my parents of locking his destiny with the house. He said his future getting locked was why he couldn't make money to be able to afford his rent.
When he was given a quit notice, he started littering the house with cowries, chicken feathers, red clothes and other indications of the occultic. He went as far as putting up my dad’s picture wishing death on him. He’d start chanting out incantations whenever my parents brought in the police to handle the situation.
After he left the house two years and a few months later, he left it in shambles. He didn’t fix anything that got destroyed (light bulbs, broken taps etc.). He also caused a lot of damage to the wall he built his fake shrine.
Although that tenant is gone now, my parents still have a problematic tenant. I wonder how long this rubbish is going to last. I’m hoping my parents stop being so lenient with tenants.
He sublet the property and harassed tenants — Biodun, Ile-Ife
There are four rooms in a wing downstairs, while the apartments are flats. Unknown to me, one of the tenants has been subletting one of the wings downstairs to two other people and calling himself the wing coordinator.
He had been harassing regular tenants with threats of giving them an eviction notice. When he found out tenants had been paying their rent directly to me, he called me to tell me I had no right to collect rent from them and that it was his job as principal tenant and wing coordinator to be the one in charge of rent collection.
I can’t believe he had the audacity to sublet a house that’s not his and still be boastful.
He lied about moving out — Laide, Ibadan.
This tenant had been owing rent for almost two years and had been served several quit notices, which he never obeyed. At the beginning of April this year, he signed an undertaking that he would move out of the house by April 30. When the time came for him to move out, he called me to ask for a few days' extension, which we obliged, he called again for more days, and we still obliged.
Finally, on May 20, he called me to inform me that he’d packed out and that I should send someone to come and collect the keys from him. I was excited to be rid of the obnoxious debtor; little did I know what he had planned for me.
I sent someone to get the keys from him, but he kept being unreachable. I'd call, and he would not pick up; he would pick up and promise to hand over the keys the following day, only for him to rinse and repeat the same action.
When I figured out his game plan, I sent someone to the property to see what was happening, and we discovered that he was still staying there; he hadn't moved. The following day, after he’d gone out, I informed someone to double-lock the house and lock him out of the property.
I called to tell him that since he had refused to drop the keys, I had double-locked the house until relevant authorities arrived to sort out the matter. He thought I was joking since I don’t live in the same city as him. When he realised I was joking, he started frantically begging me to allow him back into the house. I told him there was no house for him and he’d only be granted access if he wanted to get all his things out of the house, and after all, he had already told me he’d moved out.
This was the final straw with this tenant and why I started recording conversations. He was a pathological liar.
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