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Bill to introduce monthly payment of rent in FCT passes second reading in Senate

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A Bill seeking to allow tenants in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to pay rent monthly has passed second reading in the Nigerian Senate.

The ‘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’ was read for the second time during plenary on Tuesday.

Sponsor of the bill, Smart Adeyemi, said when passed into law, the bill will make it easy for low income earners in the FCT to pay their rents conveniently.

He noted that the current practice that allows landlords to demand more than a year advance rent from tenants has placed a huge economic burden on residents of the FCT.

Leading the debate on the bill, Adeyemi said, “Our economy has not fared better in supporting the advance payment. This tenancy system has continuously impoverished Nigerians.

“Many residents of FCT are finding it difficult to cope with huge rent payments, therefore legislation must be made towards a better society.

“This bill seeks to reduce advance payment for new tenants to three months, and seeks to protect low-income earners from any form of oppression.”

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He added that the bill would provide a window of legal action for any form of oppression and a safety net for landlords against tenants.

Senate Deputy Whip Sabi Abdullahi, while speaking in support of the bill, said many residents were groaning under the advance payment system.

“Many residents in the FCT are groaning under this difficult system where many people are expected to pay house rent in advance. I think we are doing the right thing if we look at the intent of this bill.”

The ICIR had reported that one of the biggest challenges faced by residents in the FCT was housing.

While studio apartments, known as self-contained rooms, could cost an average of N250 000 in satellite towns, the same apartment would go for about N550,000 within the city centre.

This has led to several unoccupied buildings in the city as many residents in the FCT are unable to afford the cost.

Despite the plethora of vacant houses scattered across the city, the FCTA had pegged the housing deficit in Abuja at about 1.7 million in 2018.

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The high cost of rent in the city has also led to a proliferation of slums as residents seek alternative solutions to their housing problems, including building shanty apartments on illegally acquired pieces of land.

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