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Senate moves to address cost of rent in Abuja

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A bill addressing the cost and payment of rent in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, was introduced to the Senate during plenary on Tuesday.

The bill sponsored by senator representing Kogi West Smart Adeyemi is titled ‘Advanced Rent (Residential Apartments, Office Spaces, etc) Regulation Bill 2022.’

Speaking to journalists after plenary, Adeyemi noted that the bill would make it an offence for landlords in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to demand yearly payment of rent from tenants.

He also said the bill resulted from difficulties encountered by residents of the FCT in securing affordable accommodation within the city.

“Many residents of FCT are finding it very difficult to cope with huge rent payments, 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,” he said.

The senator also noted that the bill would allow tenants forced to pay more than three months’ rent at once to petition the landlords.

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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.

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.

Abuja is not the only city where payment of rent has become a concern.

The Lagos State Government has introduced a monthly house rent scheme slated to commence this month to ease the payment burden on its residents.

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Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing Toke Benson-Awoyinka, said last month that tenants had to meet specific requirements to be a part of the scheme, including ensuring that they could pay rent monthly, to protect the interests of house owners.

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