FIBRE: Platform for Making Monthly Payment for Rented Apartments in Lagos
Barely six months ago, Obinna Okwodu set up Fibre, a platform that allows people make monthly payments to live in homes and apartments in the city of Lagos. Getting a quality home in major cities across Nigeria can be a real pain for a number of reasons, the major being affordability, which is often related to the problematic tradition of paying rent in lump sums.
In my quest to find an apartment some months ago, all I kept hearing from my real estate agent was, “…there are houses everywhere, the issue is money.” And he was right. I had my budget and had saved up for months. Confident that now I had enough to get a place of my own, the house hunt began. So did my frustration. As if additional fee demands like caution and maintenance were not absurd enough, landlords were demanding lump sum payments of up to two years.
Fortunately, a platform like Fibre has been established to revolutionise the housing/rent market in Nigeria. “I think it’s ridiculous for people to save up a year, sometimes two years’ worth of rent to be able to find a place to live,” Obinna said in an interview with Ventures Africa. “I think it’s very symptomatic of the economy that we’re in; the fact that we treat everybody as though they are a hundred percent risk when that’s not the case.”
The service Fibre offers is unparalleled; it fixes a huge problem that has long existed in Nigeria’s rental market. One that has forced people to double up and has promoted shelter poverty as well. In Nigeria, it is not uncommon to find young people living in a shared apartment, or in unfurnished apartments. People spend so much on rent, it chokes spending on other goods and services, forcing them to cut back on other necessities. But with the advent of monthly rents for housing, such issues are sure to become tales of the past.
“Why pay 2 years’ upfront? Join the Fibre network and pay monthly.”
Fibre partners with landlords across Lagos state to make quality accommodation available to people who join the Fibre network, all you have to do is sign up and make a request. It’s quite easy and convenient, hence it didn’t come as a surprise when Obinna said the response has been tremendous so far. “It’s been great. I didn’t expect the response that we’re getting,” he enthused. “It seems that this is a problem that a lot of the country is facing, people want to be able to break up their rent payments, and not cough up large sums of money.”
For now, Fibre is operational only in Lagos, but the goal is to over the next couple of years, cover other major cities in Nigeria, and potentially Africa. Very good initiative. we must say.
Source: Ventures Africa