Costs to know before renting an apartment

Renting an apartment may be both an exciting as well as terrifying activity. Whether you’re a longtime tenant or a first-time renter, there are a lot of other things to think about in addition to the advertised rent for your new apartment. Beneath the surface, hidden costs can frequently be under the radar, causing financial strain if not anticipated and accounted for appropriately. Knowing these additional costs is essential for a hassle-free and budget-friendly rental experience. In this article, we have discussed some of the hidden costs that you should know when renting an apartment. 

Hidden Costs to know before renting an apartment

Agency Fees 

Using a real estate agent or agency helps people with the apartment hunt. Their knowledge, services and input are essential in the rental process and usually come at a cost. Agency fees are normally calculated as a percentage of the yearly rent, usually between 5% and 15%. The standard fee in Nigeria is 10% of rent. The responsibility of covering these costs lies with the tenant and should be accounted for in the tenant’s rent budgeting.

Legal Fees 

Lawyers help in drafting the contract that binds the landlord and tenant. The expenses spent while drafting and evaluating the tenancy agreement are accounted for in the legal fees. Depending on the complexity of the contract and the legal services rendered, these costs could vary but are usually between 5 and 10%. To make sure that the terms and circumstances of the lease are reasonable and enforceable under law, it is advisable to seek the advice of a certified legal expert. The cost of legal fees can be incurred by the tenant most times or paid by the house owner. 

Security/Caution Deposit 

Landlords in Nigeria commonly request a security deposit equivalent to several months’ rent upfront. This deposit serves as financial protection for the landlord against any potential damages or unpaid rent during the tenancy period. While it’s intended to be refundable at the end of the lease term, deductions may occur for repairs or outstanding bills. Ensure that the terms regarding the security deposit are clearly outlined in the tenancy agreement.

Utility Bills 

While some rental properties may include utilities such as water and waste disposal in the rent, others may require tenants to cover these expenses separately. Electricity, gas, water, and internet bills can significantly inflate monthly living costs if not factored into your budget. Clarify with the landlord or property manager which utilities are included and which ones you’re responsible for paying.

Maintenance and Repairs 

It’s inevitable that wear and tear will occur during the course of your tenancy. While minor maintenance tasks may be the responsibility of the landlord, tenants are often expected to cover the costs associated with repairs resulting from negligence or accidental damage. Familiarize yourself with the maintenance policies outlined in the lease agreement to avoid any surprises down the line.

Community Fees 

In certain residential communities or estates, tenants may be required to pay additional fees for amenities and communal services such as security, garbage collection, landscaping, and maintenance of common areas. These fees, often referred to as service charges or estate dues, can vary widely depending on the facilities provided and the overall management of the property.

Parking Fees 

If you own a vehicle, parking arrangements can add to your monthly expenses. Some apartments may offer designated parking spaces included in the rent, while others may charge an extra fee for parking privileges. Additionally, urban areas may have limited parking availability, necessitating the use of paid parking facilities.


While not mandatory, renters’ insurance can provide invaluable protection against unforeseen events such as theft, fire, or natural disasters. The cost of insurance premiums will depend on factors such as the value of your belongings and the level of coverage selected. Consider obtaining renters’ insurance to safeguard your personal property and mitigate financial risks.

Renewal Fees 

Upon the expiration of your lease term, you may choose to renew your tenancy agreement for another term. Some landlords or agencies may charge a renewal fee for processing the paperwork and formalizing the extension. Be aware of any renewal fees specified in the lease agreement and factor them into your decision-making process. 


Renting an apartment in Nigeria involves more than just paying the monthly rent. Hidden costs lurk in various aspects of the renting process, from agency fees to utility bills and maintenance expenses. Thoroughly scrutinizing the terms of the lease agreement and budgeting for these additional costs can help you avoid financial surprises and ensure a more seamless renting experience. By being proactive and well-informed, you can navigate the rental market with confidence and peace of mind. 


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