How to Deal with Outstanding Utility Bills for a Newly Rented Apartment

You know that headache you get when you discover that the new three bedroom flat you just rented has an outstanding bill of 100,000 NGN after your first two weeks of relocation. Then you get angry and confused at the same time. Now, it’s your landlord turn to start avoiding you. Especially if he doesn’t stay in the same compound. Below are always ways to go about creating a change when you rent an apartment with an outstanding bill;


  1. Prevention is Better than Cure

One of the most important things to look out for when renting an apartment is to take note of outstanding utility bills. Most Nigerians like me do not pay attention to this. Until I learnt my lesson the hard way. We rented an apartment where there was no light because the IKEDC official had disconnected the light. So there was no utility bill for a year. We were not enjoying electricity because the previous tenants tapped electricity from the next building and we could not do so because of some religious reasons. The (Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company) IKEDC officials didn’t do their job well. They were busy adding up bills for a flat that they had taken the wires away. The bill was a whopping sum of 300,000 NGN.

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  1. Organise a Meeting With Your Landlord;

If you are already in such situation, there is no point taking preventive measures. You have to face it, especially if the bill is peculiar to your flat alone. You can fix a meeting with your landlord on how to resolve the issue. Lagos landlords may be difficult when it comes to such issues. So if you tell him the first time, he may start avoiding you like a plague so that you don’t bring up the issue again. Still, you need to make sure you get his attention.

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  1. Meet With The Service Provider

This is the ideal thing to do. But most service providers in Nigeria are not well structured and are not customer friendly. So you may not like their disposition towards the matter. However, during certain seasons, these service providers slash the prices of services for customers with very high bills, but the period is not usually predictable. In August 2016, for example, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) offered a discount to those whose bills exceed 50,000 NGN. To ease the payment.


  1. Have an Agreement with Your Landlord
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When renting an apartment, don’t be too anxious not to check the rental agreement. Rule out some things that do not favour you. Then you can fashion another agreement. Most tenants do not meticulously study the rental agreement. Especially Nigerian, they feel it is usually long and boring. So take your time to read it.

Again, since you have acquired the property, it may be difficult to review the rental agreement. You can go back to check if the rental agreement favours you on such issues. If not create a quick agreement with your landlord.

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  1.     In Worse Case, You May Have to Pay a Percentage

This is the worse that can’t happen. You can’t and won’t pay all. So split the bill and pay a certain percentage. It may be as low as 10%. In fact, if you have a meter, and it is functional, you pay only every time you recharge and trust me, you may end up paying less than 10%.


Have you ever rented an apartment with an outstanding bill? Please share your experience in the comment section. Your comment will be highly appreciated.

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