Business Hilights
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Senate plots national rent law to free up unoccupied estates in FCT, nationwide

Barring last minute hiccups and the tortuous journey of public interest bills at the National Assembly, indications have emerged that a new rent edit that will remove obstacles and crash housing rents across the country. Details gathered by Business Hilights show that the bill will be processed and delivered into law before the end of the 8th Senate.

The Senate Committee Chairman on Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Dino Melaye, dropped the hint weekend in Abuja, and revealed that the new law on passage, will halt the high house rents paid across the country especially in Lagos, Abuja and other catchment cities.

According to him, the ‘Rent Edit’ bill, would protect tenants and landlords, and also promised that lawmakers would ensure the passage of the bill as soon as possible.

Apart from the revelations by the embattled Kogi State lawmaker, a statement issued by the Director of Information on Housing at the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Eno Olotu, in Abuja, said “Not everybody can own a house. The Rent Edit Bill will help guide and curb excessive rents in the Federal Capital Territory and the nation at large”.

“One would have thought that, with the numbers of estates in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the problem of housing in the nation’s capital will be a thing of the past. However, the reverse is the case, as countless numbers of people are still homeless and living on the streets and under bridges, because they cannot afford to pay the rent.

“A country as developed as Nigeria, richly endowed and blessed with an estimated human population of over 180 million is still plagued by rising housing deficit, with a huge percentage of its population taking refuge in shanties in different parts of the country. With research conducted on the problem of housing in the country, some housing experts gave clear analysis of how the housing deficit recently rose from seven million housing units in 1991 to between 12 and 15 million units in 2008. It peaked between 17 and 18 million units in 2012.

However, a worrying aspect of the housing problem in Nigeria is the issue of throat-cutting annual rent which has continued to discourage massive access to completed houses.

Visits to estates in high-brow areas like Maitama, Asokoro, Wuse II, also in Lagos; Ikoyi, Magodo, Isheri, Lekki, Amuwo- Odofin and a number of estates in other cities show that most of the well completed houses remained unoccupied years after their completion, due to the high cost of renting or leasing of such property.

Another revelation during Business Hilights research on the renting crisis is that most of the unoccupied houses were owned by the society’s most influential and wealthy citizens who are not really in need of return on investment as most of the fund used in the development tend to be looted.

In fact, some of the estates can be said to products of money laundering as keeping such fund can lead to their being questioned on the sources at some time.