Stakeholders disagree on proposed law to regulate rent in FCT
By Benjamin Arida://
Stakeholders on Thursday disagreed among themselves on the law being proposed the Senate to regulate advanced house rent payment in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
Specifically, stakeholders like the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC; Nigeria Civil Service Union, NCSU, Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU and the Landlords and Tenants Association, among others, supported the proposed law while the Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria, and Nigerian Institute of Building, NIB kicked against it.
They spoke at a public hearing on ‘A Bill for an Act to Regulate the mode of payment of rent on Residential Apartments, Office Spaces, etc in the FCT and for other matters connected therewith, 2022 (SB. 893)’ organised by the Senate Committee on Lands, Housing and Urban Development.
The proposed legislation, sponsored by Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC Kogi West), is seeking for maximum of three months advanced rent payment and monthly payment for old tenants as against one or two years being collected by many of the landlords in the FCT.
In his contribution, the representative of the NLC, Mr. Benson Upah, said “Nigeria stands alone in payment of yearly rent.”
According to him, “rent payment in the United Kingdom and United States of America are done on monthly basis.”
He commended the Senate for coming up with the proposed law as he described it as masses oriented.
Also supporting the bill, the President,
Landlords and Tenants Association in Nigeria, Prince Saheed Rilwan Akiolu, said if enacted into law, it will be a win-win situation for both parties.
But kicking against the bill, the Registrar of Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria, Mr. Ifeanyi Uzonwanne, said the proposed legislation is wrong headed, as the stakeholders in property rental industry are not just landlords and tenants.
“Other than the landlord and tenant, other stakeholders in the industry include the investors, financiers, banks, mortgage houses, insurers, artisans, professionals etc, whose interests are not put into consideration .
“The key to solving the problems the bill seeks to cure is the application of very sound economic policies.
“To progress in the passage of the bill without recourse to issues herein raised, will unleash great harm to the economy,”
Also picking holes in the bill, Professor Martin Dada who represented the Nigerian Institute of Building, NIB, said since inputs into construction are not regulated, it is naive and wrong, attempting to regulate the outputs.
Earlier, Senator Adeyemi explained that the intention of the bill was to reduce advance payment for new tenants to three months and, thereafter, proceed on a monthly payment schedule.
According to him, the bill will make life less stressful for low-income earners in the nation’s capital as yearly house rent payments breed corruption and huge inequality.
In his closing remarks, the chairman of the committee, Senator Sam Egwu (PDP Ebonyi North), said all submissions made by the stakeholders would guide the committee in arriving at report to be presented to the Senate.