Senate on Tuesday passed bill seeking to make the annual payment of rent illegal in the Federal Capital Territory .
The bill Tagged: “A Bill for the Regulation of Advanced Rent on Residential Apartments, Office Space” was sponsored by Senator Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West).
Leading debate on the general principles, Senator Smart said the bill seeks to regulate the mode of payment of rent on residential apartments, office space, rooms and accommodation in the FCT.
According to him, the move by the chamber to regulate the payment of rents in the FCT stemmed from the obligation of its constitutional responsibilities, aimed at impacting the lives of residents.
If passed, this Bill will improve the well- being and standard of living of residents and minimize corruption and immorality emanating from the oppressive tenancy system in the Federal Capital Territory.
He explained further that due to global economic recession, life has become very challenging and almost unbearable for the low income earners despite the huge palliative measures by the Federal Government through the N-POWER traders money.
He noted that in the FCT, Landlords demand between one to three years advanced rent, a situation which he pointed, “automatically adds a huge burden on the masses, subsequently giving rise to desperation and corruption.”
He lamented that the “tenancy system has continuously impoverished Nigerians who are salaried employees that can only pay rent after haven received their first remuneration.”
He noted that in the FCT, a single one room apartment ranges from one million (N1,000,000) Naira to two million (N2,000,000) Naira within the city.
According to the lawmaker, in the satellite towns such as Kubwa, Nyanya, Kuje, Lugbe, rents are still not affordable for the common man as it ranges from Three hundred and fifty thousand naira (N350,000.00) to Five Hundred thousand naira (N500,000.00).
He stated that the bill, therefore, seeks to reduce advance payment for new tenants to three months and, thereafter, proceed with the monthly payment scheme.
Contributing to the debate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, while supporting the bill, described the piece of legislation as “people-centered.”
The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, who presided over plenary, described the bill as “popular” owing to the number of Nigerians who have showed interest in it.
However, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu East), a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Senator and the only lawmaker in the chamber who spoke against the bill, argued the issue of rent payment should be driven by market forces.
Senators, however, voted overwhelmingly in support of the bill when the Deputy Senate President put the question for it to be read a second time.
The bill was subsequently referred by Omo-Agege to the Committee on Housing and Urban Development for further inputs.
The Committee was given four weeks to report back to the Senate in plenary