I and my roomy were awoken by several bangs on the door early this morning. If we had some rent arrears, we would have assumed it was the landlord knocking. Well it just happened to be a friend who needed some help. To cut the gist short, that incident this morning got us talking about Calabar landlords as I remembered one which I had in my first year.
The value for his house is greater than that of the tenant. Always acting like money isn’t his problem, but flash him some cash and your request is speedily accepted. He insists you have to pay your toilet fee when paying the rent. There is always a compulsory question “How many people will stay in the house”. Tell them one and they warn against bringing in people to stay with you. Tell them more than one or two and they request that each person must pay their toilet fee. But when the soakaway gets full even if you are just two weeks old in the house, he wants you to pay for the evacuation.
You will also be asked to buy or pay for drinks before moving in. There is so much significance attached to that liquor that without it, you won’t be accepted or properly welcomed into their house. Some would ask you to pay for light bill, but after a month in the compound, ‘NEPA” still comes to disconnect the light. Some after bypassing the water board meter will demand for water bill without showing you the bill from the water board corporation.
The best way to live at peace is not to rent a house where the landlord resides there too. His wife when faced with recession will use firewood to cook by your window with the clothes you just washed still hanging outside. Whenever he has money for petrol, he makes sure the generator exhaust is facing your window.
He decides where you empty your laundry or kitchen water. He gives so many rules that are not included in the tenancy agreement. When you have a misunderstanding with him he snubs at your greetings. When you sing he is unhappy and when you are happy and laughing, he gets bitter. He will never be at peace with you if you happen to be an “Atam” person. Six months before your rent is due, he sees you anytime of the day and asks ‘How far’? Then when your rent expires, he will always be the one to wake you every morning.
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