The Federal Government has urged landlords of private property to start charging their tenants monthly, quarterly or half-year rents, instead of the current practice of charging one, two to three years of advance rents. Babatunde Fashola, Works and Housing Minister made this appeal yesterday at the opening ceremony of the 15th Abuja Housing Show.
The minister, who was represented by the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Abubakar Aliyu, noted that in the post-COVID-19 era, most tenants are owing rents or facing eviction.
The minister said the appeal was directed at private individual landlords and companies because most houses available for sale or rent belong mostly to them, compared to those the state or the Federal Government could provide. “It is evident that most houses available for sale or rent belong mostly to individuals and private companies, compared to those the state or Federal Government have available. Therefore, many of the tenants who owe rent, who face eviction or who seek to rent or buy property due to the pandemic are dealing with private citizens or companies and less so with government agencies,” he said.
He urged the landlords to follow the footsteps of the federal government. “My recommendation for improving access and affordability in the COVID-19 era and beyond, as presented at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting and which is still apt for this gathering, is for private companies and individuals to give back some of what they control to citizens in the way that the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has given back to citizens some of what it controls, he said.”
“For example, in cases where the rents of businesses or some individuals are due for renewal, the private landlords can give back by accepting monthly, quarterly, or half-yearly rents, instead of one, two or three-years rents in advance,” Fashola explained.
On the risk of defaults, the minister said the rent can be secured by bank guarantees or insurance bonds provided by the tenants or the employer in exchange for a direct debit mandate from the employee for the deduction of his rent from his salary to pay the landlord.
“Where rent has fallen into arrears, it is possible to emulate what the FGN did through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reschedule payment on loans by rescheduling the payment for the tenant to more affordable terms, instead of adopting eviction, he said”