OrderPaperToday  – The Senate on Tuesday considered and passed for second reading a bill seeking to compel landlords in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to receive rents on monthly basis.

The bill, which is titled, ‘Advanced Rent (Residential Apartments, Office Spaces, etc.) Regulation Bill 2022,’ and sponsored by Sen. Smart Adeyemi, (APC, Kogi West), enjoyed overwhelming support during plenary at the Senate.

The bill was read for the first time last month.

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According to the sponsor, the bill seeks to provide for a maximum of three months advance rent payment in the first instance and subsequent monthly payment for the rest of any tenancy lease in the FCT.

It also makes it an offence for any landlord in the FCT to demand payment of advance rent from tenants.

Adeyemi, who briefed journalists on the bill’s provisions, said it was critical to start ensuring that laws aren’t merely used to levy penalties on people.

He stated that there is an urgent need to enact laws that will have a direct impact on the lives of the people such that Nigerians will be able to eat three square meals a day and have a roof over their heads.

“The bill also attempts to ensure that renters are not removed until after 6 months if they are unable to pay,” emphasizing the importance of enacting rules to safeguard the poor majority of Nigerians.

“If you brought it to three months in advance, there is something still called salary advance in the private sector, then people will be able to afford it,” Smart noted.

He also said that they are working out modalities that would solve the issue of unoccupied completed buildings littering the FCT.

“One of the things we are looking forward to now is to have the list of properties that have been completed and abandoned. Any property that has been completed for more than two years and nobody is occupying it should be taken over by the state”, he said.

In a similar move, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, proposed in July 2021 that landlords and property owners collect three-month rent instead of three-year rent, which he claimed made housing expensive for Nigerians in urban areas.

Fashola had encouraged state governments to engage in the management of rent since there will be a problem of affordability as long as people have to pay three years rent from salaries obtained monthly in arrears.

Incidentally, a similar bill was considered in the House of Representatives sbout six years ago without any meaningful outcome.

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