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May 17, 2020

Impact of COVID-19 on Nigerian renters

Most renters in Nigeria are going to finding it harder to pay their rent due to COVID-19, a survey conducted by Nigeria’s leading rental property website renting.ng, has revealed.

Almost two-thirds say they will struggle to pay their rent when its due.

 Around the world, People are impacted by COVID-19 differently. To better understand its impact on Nigerian renters, renting.ng surveyed 1,000 people across Nigeria to get an insight into the direct impact of the pandemic on rental affordability, people’s plans and their level of optimism post pandemic.

Direct impact on jobs

64% of renters indicated they are earning less as a direct impact of the pandemic, gratefully, 33% have not lost their jobs and their earnings have remained the same so far.

 Renting.ng’s Chief Executive Officer Mr Paul Ojobo said; “The trend around the world is that retail, transport and restaurant businesses have been impacted most and because most Nigerian job areas are informal, the impact on people’s ability to pay their rent will soon become more obvious”. Paul Ojobo also believe that the 33% responders who haven’t lost their jobs are most likely government workers.

 More than half of the respondents (70%) would like to see more support for renters from Landlords and government agencies.

More communication from Agents and landlords is needed

Two-thirds of renters said they don’t feel confident asking their agents or landlord for help, and only 32% said their landlord will be helpful if they are unable to pay their rent.

 “Landlords and property agents will need to be patient and cautious when approaching tenants about rent,” Mr Ojobo said. “Open and honest communication will be the key as we prepare for the tough months ahead”

 Interestingly not all renters are prepared to seek a reduction or differed rent payment. In fact, only 15% have asked for a reduction or a deferred rent. 85% are still optimistic about being able to pay the full amount when its due.

 “Obviously, every case is different, and the renters will generally be required to demonstrate any impact on their income/affordability. landlords are also affected by the crisis and not all of them will be open to a delay or reduced rents”.

 The survey indicates that 25% of landlord are open to honest conversation with their tenants while 45% will not be open to any conversation about delayed or reduced rent. A larger number are however indifferent about it and indicated that they will approach the conversation on a case by case basis.

Moving plans left on hold

The survey also revealed that a quarter of the respondents had planned to move in the next three months. Of that group, 60% have now put those plans on hold indefinitely, with another 30% indicating that their planned moves will be delayed. “This is not surprising, during a period of uncertainty.

 

With record levels of rental properties available right now and the possibility of downward pressure on rents, there is even more incentive for landlords and agents to negotiate with their tenants, because finding a new one will be a little harder,” Mr Ojobo said.

 Post COVID-19 Optimism

 The most worrisome trend in the survey is the number of people feeling anxious about life after the pandemic, with the loss of jobs and reduced income 37% of the respondents are extremely worried about life after COVID-19, while 15% are worried. This indicates that over 50% of people are anxious in one way or the other about life post pandemic.

“This is a sign that most of us are impacted in one way or the other, so this is a time for us to come together as a community, we therefore encourage renters, agents and Landlord to stay connected, communicate more and be more understanding”