Accommodation in Lagos
Expats are likely to have their accommodation in Lagos arranged through their employer.
Ownership of property in Nigeria is highly regulated by the government and it’s rare for expats living there to buy. Most expats live in rented apartments or houses in Lagos and most companies not only finance their foreign employee's accommodation, but also secure it and assume responsibility for any leasing logistics.
For expats who are not having their accommodation arranged and paid for by their employer, it’s best to work with a real estate agent or relocation specialist who will assist in the house-hunting process.
Lagos has been named amongst the most expensive cities in the world for expats to live in and the prices of rental properties reflect this. Landlords often demand a two- to three-year lease be signed and this is sometimes expected to be paid upfront. Expats should ensure that they factor this into any employment contract negotiations for their relocation to Nigeria.
Due to shortages of accommodation, it’s not unusual for expats who arrive to work in Lagos to initially stay in a hotel, before being transferred to their permanent accommodation at a later stage. Expats staying in Nigeria short-term are often housed in hotels for the duration of their stay.
Types of housing in Lagos
Fully furnished, semi-furnished and completely unfurnished housing is available in Lagos. In some cases, companies own properties specifically designed to accommodate their expat employees.
Those living in compounds often find themselves in very insular expat communities, far removed from the reality of life in Lagos. Company compounds, apartment blocks and established private and gated housing complexes for expats in Lagos are usually located on Victoria Island and Ikoyi, just east of Lagos Island. Most international schools are also located within these areas.
Factors to consider when house-hunting in Lagos
Security is an important consideration when deciding where to live in Lagos. Many complexes have 24-hour security, which may include armed guards, security cameras and access control into and out of the complex. On-site amenities, including wireless internet, satellite television, gyms, tennis courts and swimming pools are also common.
Nigeria is notorious for its incredibly temperamental power and water supply, including in Lagos; no matter where one lives in the city, boreholes and generators are a must.
If possible, it’s best to live close to one's office or, if living in Lagos with children, close to their school. Traffic can be nightmarish, and expats can expect to spend hours commuting to and from work each day. Most expats hire a personal driver to navigate the traffic; this is often paid for by their employer.