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How to Find Reliable Tenants for Your Rental Property in Nigeria

Posted by John Igbaifua on May 23, 2024

Finding reliable tenants for your rental property in Nigeria can be challenging but crucial for maintaining your investment’s value and ensuring a steady income stream.

A reliable tenant pays rent on time, takes care of your property, and complies with the lease terms. This blog post provides a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to find and select the right tenants, illustrated with relevant examples and practical tips.

Understanding the Importance of Reliable Tenants

Reliable tenants are the backbone of a successful rental property business. They ensure consistent rental income, reduce property damage risks, and minimize the stress of frequent tenant turnover. The process of finding such tenants involves thorough screening, clear communication, and legal safeguards.

Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Reliable Tenants

  1. Prepare Your Property
    • Example: Mr. Ahmed owns a two-bedroom apartment in Lagos. Before listing it for rent, he repainted the walls, fixed any broken fixtures, and ensured all appliances were in working order. A well-maintained property attracts quality tenants who appreciate and respect their living space.
    • Action: Ensure your property is in excellent condition. This includes making necessary repairs, cleaning, and updating features to make it appealing to potential tenants.
  2. Set Clear and Competitive Rental Terms
    • Example: Mrs. Nneka wanted to rent out her apartment in Abuja. She researched similar properties in her neighborhood and set a competitive rent. She also outlined clear terms regarding payment, maintenance responsibilities, and tenant conduct.
    • Action: Research the local market to set a competitive rent. Clearly define your rental terms, including rent amount, payment schedule, security deposit, and lease duration. Be transparent about maintenance responsibilities and house rules.
  3. Advertise Effectively
    • Example: Mr. Olu advertised his property on multiple platforms, including local newspapers, real estate websites like, and social media groups. He included high-quality photos, a detailed description, and contact information.
    • Action: Use multiple channels to advertise your property. Take clear, attractive photos and write a compelling description highlighting the property’s features, location, and amenities. Use online real estate platforms, social media, and local classifieds.
  4. Screen Potential Tenants Thoroughly
    • Example: When Ms. Funmi received applications for her rental property, she conducted background checks on each applicant. She verified their employment, contacted previous landlords, and checked their credit history where possible. One applicant, Mr. Chidi, had a positive rental history and stable job, making him a top candidate.
    • Action: Implement a comprehensive screening process. This should include:
      • Credit Checks: Assess their financial reliability.
      • Employment Verification: Confirm their job stability and income level.
      • References: Contact previous landlords to understand their rental behavior.
      • Personal Interview: Meet the applicants to gauge their suitability and ask pertinent questions.
  5. Utilize a Tenant Application Form
    • Example: Mr. Ade provided all interested tenants with an application form requesting detailed information, including personal details, employment history, and references. This standardized form helped him compare candidates effectively.
    • Action: Create a detailed tenant application form. Include sections for personal information, employment history, rental history, references, and any other relevant details. This helps in maintaining uniformity and ease of comparison.
  6. Conduct In-Person Interviews and Property Tours
    • Example: Mrs. Ifeoma scheduled interviews and property tours for shortlisted applicants. During these tours, she explained the lease terms, house rules, and asked the tenants about their expectations and lifestyle. This interaction helped her assess their suitability.
    • Action: Arrange property tours and in-person interviews with potential tenants. Use this opportunity to explain the lease terms and ask questions to understand their living habits and expectations.
  7. Check References Diligently
    • Example: Mr. Emeka contacted the previous landlords of his top three applicants. He discovered that one candidate, despite having a stable job, had a history of late rent payments and complaints from neighbors. This information was crucial in making his final decision.
    • Action: Contact references provided by the tenant, including previous landlords and employers. Ask about their rental behavior, payment punctuality, and overall character.
  8. Draft a Comprehensive Lease Agreement
    • Example: Ms. Bisi worked with a real estate lawyer to draft a detailed lease agreement for her new tenant, Mr. John. The agreement included all terms of tenancy, including rent amount, payment due dates, maintenance responsibilities, and rules regarding property use.
    • Action: Create a detailed lease agreement that clearly outlines the terms and conditions of the tenancy. Include clauses on rent, security deposit, maintenance, property use, and termination conditions. Ensure both parties sign and retain copies.
  9. Collect a Security Deposit
    • Example: Mr. Tunde required a two-month rent equivalent as a security deposit from his new tenant. This deposit was kept in a separate account and would be used to cover any potential damage or unpaid rent.
    • Action: Request a security deposit from your tenants. This serves as financial protection against any damage or breach of contract. Clearly outline the conditions under which the deposit will be refunded or forfeited.
  10. Maintain Good Communication and Relationship
    • Example: Mrs. Aisha maintained regular communication with her tenants, checking in periodically and addressing any maintenance issues promptly. This proactive approach fostered a positive landlord-tenant relationship and ensured her property was well cared for.
    • Action: Keep open lines of communication with your tenants. Address their concerns promptly and conduct regular property inspections. Building a good relationship can lead to longer tenancies and better property care.

Real-Life Example: Successfully Finding and Retaining Reliable Tenants

Mr. Okoro owns several rental properties in Lagos. He follows a meticulous tenant selection process:

  1. Property Preparation: Before listing a property, Mr. Okoro ensures it is in top condition, conducting necessary repairs and upgrades.
  2. Effective Advertising: He uses multiple advertising platforms and highlights unique property features to attract quality tenants.
  3. Thorough Screening: He implements a rigorous screening process, including background checks, employment verification, and reference checks.
  4. Clear Communication: Mr. Okoro holds in-person interviews and property tours, explaining lease terms and answering tenant questions.
  5. Legal Safeguards: He uses a comprehensive lease agreement and collects a security deposit.
  6. Ongoing Relationship: Throughout the tenancy, he maintains good communication, promptly addresses issues, and conducts regular inspections.

By following these steps, Mr. Okoro has successfully found and retained reliable tenants who respect his properties and adhere to lease terms. His approach not only protects his investment but also ensures a steady rental income and a positive rental experience for his tenants.


Finding reliable tenants in Nigeria requires a strategic approach, involving property preparation, effective advertising, thorough screening, and clear communication.

Therefore, following the detailed steps outlined in this guide, landlords can minimize the risks associated with renting and ensure a positive and profitable rental experience.

Remember, investing time and effort in the tenant selection process is crucial for long-term success in the rental property business. Plusworld realtors has the knack for selecting high paying and valuable tenants for your property if placed under our custody. Contact us today.

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