Senate considers bill to regulate house rent payment in Abuja

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A bill seeking to make the advanced payment of rent illegal in the Federal Capital Territory has scaled second reading in the Senate.

Tagged: “A Bill for the Regulation of Advanced Rent on Residential Apartments, Office Space” was sponsored by Senator Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West).

The lawmaker, in his lead debate on the general principles, said the bill seeks to regulate the mode of payment of rent on residential apartments, office space, rooms and accommodation in the FCT.

According to him, the move by the chamber to regulate the payment of rents in the FCT stemmed from the obligation of its constitutional responsibilities, aimed at impacting the lives of residents.

“If passed, this Bill will improve the well- being and standard of living of residents and minimize corruption and immorality emanating from the oppressive tenancy system in the Federal Capital Territory.

“This Bill will make life less stressful and less painful for majority of the down-trodden and low income earners in the Federal Territory”, Adeyemi said.

He explained further that due to global economic recession, life has become very challenging and almost unbearable for the low income earners despite the huge palliative measures by the Federal Government through the N-POWER traders money.

He noted that in the FCT, landlords demand between one to three years advanced rent, a situation which he said “automatically adds a huge burden on the masses, subsequently giving rise to desperation and corruption.”

He lamented that the “tenancy system has continuously impoverished Nigerians who are salaried employees that can only pay rent after receiving their first remuneration.”

“This tenancy system is unafrican, unislamic and indeed unbiblical”, the lawmaker added.

Adeyemi expressed concern that many residents of the FCT are finding it difficult to cope with huge rent payments, adding that, “many houses built within the city center for such purposes are empty.”

He said that yearly tenancy has continued to breed corruption, moral decadence and huge inequality as low income earners who cannot afford to continually pay their rent.

According to him, some tenants now engage in corrupt practices, immorality, and even criminal acts to meet the pressing need of shelter.

He underscored the need for a legislation aimed towards justice, fairness, equity and improved standard of living.

He noted that in the FCT, a single one room apartment ranges from N1 million to N2 million within the city.

According to the lawmaker, in the satellite towns such as Kubwa, Nyanya, Kuje, Lugbe, rents are still not affordable for the common man as it ranges from N350,000 to N500,000.

He stated that the bill, therefore, seeks to reduce advance payment for new tenants to three months and, thereafter, proceed with the monthly payment scheme.

“It also seeks to protect low income earners from any form of oppression by homeowners.

“The bill also seeks to provide a window for legal action for any form of oppression.

“Importantly, it will also serve as a safety net for Landlords against erring tenants”, he added.

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