“Water no get enemy” according to the popular Afrobeat Legend Fela. Furthermore, it is no respecter of valuables, landlord or tenant. The world over, rainy season is usually the toughest season of the year and Nigeria is no exception. Yes, I know we have harmattan and Sunny seasons but rain in Nigeria (Lagos) is always an issue as flooding becomes residents on our streets and for some people – in their homes. Even the beautiful houses on the island are not left out of this ‘divine visitation’ when water overflows from the sea. (See our article on how to rainproof your house).
So, say you moved out here, courtesy of a new job or you managed to browbeat some relative/friend of yours to allow you stay with them before you get something going for yourself. Sooner or later, you are going to be scouting for an apartment in the city. Whether you get an agent’s number or you get to check out apartments on a listing site, one thing you have to consider is this “Lagos is a different city when it’s rainy season.”
When it rains in Lagos, the ambiance is different. The beauty usually fades into the flood and only returns when the water recedes. In many parts of the city, roads turn into streams, gutter turn into mini-lakes – cars get stuck, traffic builds up and the city literary shuts down. And it is almost irrelevant whether you are in the “Tush Island” part of the town or just the “Mainland”.
So, while making plans to move into a new apartment, you have to do right by yourself by going to the neighbourhood during rainy season to get a feel of the area. Check that the street is tarred or that the drainages work fine (If there are any drainages). However, if you are house hunting during the dry season – make sure to ask questions about the flood situation of the area before you pay for the property.
And always take an apartment above sea level if you can. Somehow, the landlord and agent might conveniently forget to mention that the reason the ground floor is cheaper than upstairs is because you might not be enjoying it for the 6 months of rainy seasons. When in doubt, just go up. You will save your properties and your sanity.
You have to be diligent with this stuff. Housing in Lagos is expensive and you don’t want to get to feel like you were conned into moving into an apartment in a neighbourhood plagued by flood. Doing your scouting during the rainy season provides you with a lot of benefits.