Bill To Prohibit Multiple Years Rent In Abuja Passes Second Reading

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senate_chamberThe Senate yesterday passed for second reading a Bill which makes it unlawful for any landlord in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to demand for and for any tenant to pay rent in advance in excess of one year.

The Bill provides for a rent review mechanism which requires landlords to review their rent, not earlier than two years from the previous review and further recognizes the need for tenants to be paid for repairs carried out after obtaining the prior written consent of the landlord.

The Bill, if eventually passed into law will limit landlords to receive only six month’s rent in advance from a sitting tenant.
The Bill for an Act to re-enact the recovery of premises Act (Abuja) 2013 sponsored by Senator Smart Adeyemi (Kogi/PDP) seeks to regulate the relationship between landlords and tenant, rent control, recovery of premises and for other matters connected therewith.

Adeyemi, who chairs the Senate Committee on FCT, in his lead debate, said the Bill aims at addressing the administration of arbitrary and prohibitive rents imposed by landlords in order to reduce the hardships faced by the tenants.

He explained that the Bill has clearly spells out the procedure for recovery of premises within the FCT, including all of its area councils.

“The Bill seeks to ameliorate the hardships of tenants, by making housing affordable and rents sustainable in the FCT. This will help tenants, especially the low income earners, who are the majority of FCT residents can get decent accommodations within their income.

“This Bill is basically to fortify innocent Nigerians from the sharp practices of landlords, not minding the stiff opposition that may arise from property owners,’’ he added.

According to Adeyemi, the Bill would ensure a general downward review of rents to curb the arbitrary rents by setting maximum limits for rent as influenced by the location of the property.

“We would together make history by stemming the activities of Shylock landlords and land speculators within the FCT. This will also give the FCT residents, and indeed the masses of Nigeria, an opportunity to live worthy lives in befitting accommodations, ‘’ he added.

Contributing, Senator Ganiyu Solomon (Lagos/ACN) traced high rents presently witnessed in the FCT to the failure of government authorities to provide mass housing schemes, leaving room for landlords to exploit tenants unduly.

“This exploitation will continue as long as we don’t embark on this mass housing scheme which government has been promising year in year out. We must ensure that every government at every level pursues a vigorous housing scheme but so long as we still have deficiency of housing schemes people would still cut corners,’’ he added.

Also contributing, Senator Philip Aduda  (FCT/PDP) urged the authorities to penalize landowners that sub divide and sell land allotted for mass housing estates to individuals.

“Agencies saddled with the responsibility of giving out land should ensure that allotees of land for mass housing do not subdivide and sell the lands. They must build within six months and where they fail, such lands should be revoked or the certificate of occupancy be withdrawn, ‘’ Aduda said.

The Bill was referred to the Senate Committees on FCT and Judiciary for further legislative action. The committee is to present its report in four weeks.

In : Abuja