The present economic condition of the country is affecting many things and the real estate industry is not left out. Recently, it was observed that house rent is skyrocketing in not only Lagos but Abuja also. If only we investigated who is behind the increase, the answer we get this time wouldn’t be the government.
Since Nigeria operates a mixed economic system, there are many privileged private homeowners. In fact, the majority of the housing facilities in the country is provided by private individuals. Now, we talk of increasing house rent, who else could be behind it?
ALSO READ: 5 Ways to Avoid Increase in House Rent
In this period of economic hardships, it is expected that privileged homeowners be considerate about their fellow man to make life easier at this time. However, the reverse is the case. House rent is skyrocketing like no man’s business.
Fashola’s take on the increasing house rent
In 2011, the immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babatunde Fashola signed the Lagos Tenancy Bill into Law that sought to regulate the tenancy rate and enhance the relationship between landlords and tenants in the state.
According to Fashola who assented to the Lagos Tenancy and Lagos Park and Garden Bills, “any landlord that collects rent in excess of six months for a sitting tenant and one year from a new tenant will either be jailed for three months or pay a fine of N100, 000.
In the case of forceful eviction of the tenant which may involve the landlord removing the roof or doors to the apartment, the said landlord would be jailed for six months or pay a fine of N250, 000”.
“How many employees get two years salaries in advance to make such payments? Does the landlord lose money if he collects his money as at when due?” the governor inquired. According to the law, “A landlord must send a written letter to a tenant whenever he wants to visit the apartment for inspection while such letter must state the time the inspection is to be conducted in order to give the tenant ample time to prepare for the exercise.
“Let us remember that property owners are privileged when compared to tenants. This law seeks change like it is done in all decent societies by asking the privileged to sacrifice a little so that the underprivileged can have a survival chance. “This is the reason why this Bill has been commended even before it became a law. It seeks to protect the poor and the under-privileged. A society that cannot protect the underprivileged cannot protect the privileged”, Fashola stated.
The law also gives a tenant the privilege to furnish or install accessories within a property to fit his/her taste and further cautioned landlords to stop passing the cost of their solicitors and agents to the tenants through agency fees.
ALSO READ: When Should A Landlord Increase House Rent?
Fashola who is now the minister of Power, Works and Housing, promised to embark on mass housing programme to bridge the housing deficit adding that the housing challenges required the few privileged landlords to make some sacrifices to help the less- privileged members of the society.
He noted that the law contained serious moral issues that required voluntary compliance rather than strict enforcement from the government, noting that corruption cannot be fought in a country where tenants are compelled to pay two or more years rent in advance.