The latest news on the renting of the six studio apartments in Yopougon is that the contract is signed and five month’s deposit has been collected on four of the six units. We selected tenants that had a regular income coming from non-ambiguous activities and turned away a few people that had the money for the deposit but no well defined source of income. In principle I kind of like to give people a chance, but in this case it’s likely to be a bad business strategy.
The remaining two apartments should be filled by the 1st of July, as there are some good candidates and we are just holding off to the end of the month to fill them. The experience so far is that demand is strong and there are no problems finding tenants without any marketing efforts. Having people seeing a new building and spreading the word themselves worked fine.
How much trouble there will be in the future, and whether tenants will fall behind on rents is still an open question though.
Here’s what I know about the four tenants:
1) Is a driver on a minibus service (“Gbaka”) between Abidjan and Dabou. Lives with his wife who does small scale trading (“petit commerce”) and one child.
2) Is a taxi driver.
3) Works at a hardware shop (a “quincaillerie”)
4) One unit, instead of constructed as an apartment was made into a kiosque that currently sells groceries, technically making it fancy-sounding commercial real estate. The guy who runs the kiosque lives elsewhere.
One striking thing is that the contracts have all been signed with men, which I guess isn’t a coincidence but more a reflection of patriarchal values. However, I don’t think it’s uncommon that women own or rent their homes in Abidjan, for instance the main tenant for the house in Cocody is a woman, but that’s an area with less traditional values than Yopougon.