Be careful what you sign up for – lessons learnt from a terrible tenant

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Buhari and Trump

There was a devious tenant I worked with some years back. I just remembered him because of Buhari’s picture with Trump. Only God knows what our President has signed for us.

So this man came to me, all humble and gentle. Telling me how he was the best of tenants anyone could ever ask for. I had been advertising that property for a while and was quite broke myself, so I was eager to make a quick buck.

It’s always a mistake when you feel like making a quick buck. Trust me, it never ends well.

This man took me on a fine merry-go-round. He entered the flat, called his woli who prayed and commanded over the phone. The end result was that oro ase ti tele; the word of command had followed his choice of our flat.  He said his pregnant wife would be so happy, and then asked for the prices.

Imagine ooo, someone that has not even concluded on prices and agreement but had received confirmation from his woli. I should have known I was walking into an irredeemable mess.

He looked into the rooms and said he was renting 3 out of 4. He would pay immediately for two but I have to promise to keep the last one for him.

I told him that wouldn’t be a problem, but if I found someone else for the last room, I wouldn’t hesitate to rent it out.

I pulled out my tenancy agreement form. I had by then asked one of my lawyer friends who also just finished school to be a signatory to my forms. I didn’t have money as a young property agent to hire a veteran lawyer.

He looked at the form and counted out the cash so I could see it. My hands were itchy but I told myself to take caution. He gave me the money and asked that I extend the beginning of his tenancy to the first day of the next month. In fact these events happened sometime in May 2016. He asked that I shift the tenancy to June since he had come after the 1st of May.

He said nobody starts tenancy in the middle of the month. Common sense should have told me this was bullcrap. Receipts and agreements are dated for a reason and anytime someone asks you to modify the dates, be at alert! That person never means well.

Anyway, I agreed to shift the date to June do that he can get his pregnant wife ready. Not long after this funny character turned out to be an opportunist. He knew the rooms were being advertised way below market value, so he wanted to rent them then look for subtenants who would pay him the right price at a profit.

The change of date gave him about two or three weeks to scout for and secure prospective tenants. He called himself “onile” and that’s what his tenants knew him as.

He became a landlord under another person’s property. The story ended really nastily. Thankfully, my gut feelings made me stay away from spending the agency fees. The situation got so ugly we had to return his money and even paid police to settle a myriad of cases with him.

This is why I look at that picture of the President signing papers with trepidation. There are people like Trump in the world; they are shrewd and street savvy. They know all the clauses to put on paper, and how to turn your hurried decisions into a truckload of pain and regrets.

On the plus side, you now know when you are dealing with conmen. They come with slick tongues, demon chasing and holy water sprinkling packages, but don’t respect receipts, agreements, dates and they never stay on the queue.

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