Senate Gets Bill Seeking to Regulate Rent in Abuja

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A bill that seeks to regulate the mode of payment of rent in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has been introduced in the Senate. The bill titled, “Advanced Rent (Residential Apartments, Office Spaces, etc) Regulation Bill 2022”, was one of the five bills read for the first time during plenary on Tuesday.

Sponsored by Senator Smart Adeyemi, the bill, if passed, would make it an offence for any landlord to demand payment of advance rent from tenants. It seeks to reduce advance payment of rents from one or two years by tenants to three months and subsequent monthly payments.

Senator Adeyemi, while addressing journalists after the plenary, said the bill would enable tenants to pay maximum advance payment of three months’ rent, followed by subsequent monthly payment.

He said the bill is borne out of the realisation that landlords in the FCT compel tenants to pay one or two years advance rent before giving them keys to their apartments.

The law, he said, is targeted at welfare and wellbeing of the downtrodden – majority of who elected those holding public positions.

“Many residents of FCT are finding it very difficult to cope with huge rent payment, the reason why many of the houses built for such purposes are empty. Some landlords always insist their tenants pay for one year or two years’ rent. That is wrong. By this bill, Nigerians especially Abuja residents will now be paying rent on monthly basis after the expiration of the initial three months.

“The law we are proposing stipulates a maximum advanced rent payment of three months. After the expiration of the three months’ rent, the tenants are expected to pay monthly. There are many tenants whose salaries are competing with their rents because they live in cities like Abuja,” he explained.

He said the bill will provide a window of petitioning for any tenants forced to pay rents above three months, adding that the bill is important because Nigerians need the protection of the law to be able to meet their basic needs after paying rents.

“Many landlords did not secure loans to build their houses, they are products of free money they acquire from the system, yet they make lives difficult for poor Nigerians who do not have such privilege of making ill-gotten money from the system and put up structures.

“The buildings are constructed in such a manner that an average Nigerian would not be able to afford it. Many people are involved in corrupt practices to get their rents paid while the ladies took to prostitution. The law will prevent the poor workers from any form of oppression.”

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