The year is again; before you say Jack Robinson, it has run to an end, and landlords will be at your doors once again for yet another rent. But now, as the New Year rolls by, deciding to plan ahead on your accommodation need is a necessity (not considering the harsh economic situation). Surely, some have just renewed their tenancy, others are savouring the pleasure of their new apartment while many are still on the search for where to lay their heads after their daily tasks.
Tenants and accommodation seekers need not be overwhelmed by the hard times to the extent of seeing their dream of being proud house-owners as a mirage.
Indeed, times are tough with the prices of goods and commodities reaching for the sky without corresponding increase in wages and salaries. There is a lull in business activities due to the economic downturn in the nation. Rents are not spared the effects, as tenants are now being made to pay through their nose.
But in the face of the tough times, life has to continue and man cannot shy away from shelter, which is a must like food and clothing. That, however, is why those who are privileged to own houses by dint of hard work, good advice, luck or inheritance cash in on the economic situation and the necessity of shelter to milk or frustrate their tenants or potential accommodation seekers. In the process, the thought flow pattern of many people has been affected, and they, in turn, believe that one has to be a millionaire before thinking of starting a house.
In the nation’s urban and industrialized areas, what potential accommodation seekers p[art with as rent to ensure they live in decent houses or, at least, be some-what comfortable is enough to establish small or medium-scale enterprise4s. such payments with yearly increases and other nuances of landlords continue as rituals for as long as the tenant is not prepared to live on the streets.
Experts say may tenants, especially those in the middle class, suffer in silence in the hands of greedy, callous and self-centered landlords due to their ignorance of the fact that they are capable of becoming proud owners of their own houses even in the face of the harsh realities of the moment.
despite the rising costs of goods and commodities, what is needed to build a moderate house, a two-bedroom bungalow, for instance, is only about double what an accommodation seeker has to cough out to get a two or three-bedroom apartment in some areas in Lagos. This is against the backdrop of the fact that the landlords collect not less than two years’ rent from new tenants. The tenant will have to pay additional agreement fees and agents’ commission, which are substantial percentages of the outrageous rent.
The exorbitant rent notwithstanding, the design of the building may not be to the taste of the tenant. Landlords have always maximized the space on their plots to ‘plant’ as many houses as possible, but the tenant has to make do with what is available in the face of the accommodation problem, especially in the urban areas.
It is possible to own your own house with ease, despite your medium salary. You can allow the completion time-span some time, depending on your capacity. Rather than build through the contractors who would want bulk sum, you can engage the services of bricklayers through direct labour. In that way, the bricklayer will work on the available materials which you can afford at that point in time.
The cost of land varied, depending on the location and function. The middle or low income earners should consider areas that were just opening up because of their relatively low prices.
For instance, despite the high prices put on land in Lagos with between N100, 000 and N150, 000, one could acquire a plot in the hinterland.
1,800 blocks were sufficient for a two-bedroom flat. These would cost about N126, 000 at N70 each. Then, 10 tones of gravel which will be required for base/concrete foundation will cost N15, 000, while the survey, drawing and approval from appropriate authorities will not require more than N50, 000.
About 40 bags of cement, which would cost N38, 400 at N960 each, would complete the two-bedroom flat in terms of laying the blocks and plastering the building. Then, two loads of sharp sand and another of soft will be required. The sharp sand which is estimated at N19, 000, will be used for laying the blocks, while the soft one for plastering will cost N12, 000
Other expenses as far as the bricklayers’ side is concerned include 32 iron rods estimated at about N13, 000 for reinforcement, binding wire to the tune of about N1,500, about 2,500 gallons of water valued at about N3, 000 and workmanship/miscellaneous expenses estimated at N40, 000.
The next step is roofing. For this, three bundles of zinc roofing sheet which would cost about N15, 000, about N50, 000 for wood, nails to the tune of N7, 500 and an estimation of N20, 000 for workmanship, would see the house through.
The doors are estimated to cost N24, 000 while about N12, 000 will provide the windows. With about N20, 000, the homeowner would have got the house painted, the workmanship inclusive.
With proper calculation and planning, low and medium income earners would not find it difficult to own their own houses. One needed not be a millionaire before he could start his house project. It is high time people thought of becoming proud house-owners rather than taking the fruit of their labour to landlords yearly. This, he said, would even force landlords to bring down their rent.
With the various road construction and maintenance works going on in parts of the country, access problem which people had been grappling with in the remote areas, he noted were fast becoming things of the past.