The minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has complained repeatedly about the house rent collection system practiced in the country, he says it is very important to review and change it.
Making this statement during his inaugural media meeting recently in Abuja, the minister unveiled his strategic plans for the infrastructure sector, pointing out that the way rent is paid in Nigeria leads to an accounting mismatch.
“The way we collect rent is something that must change. If we are collecting two years rent in advance from a salary that is going to be earned in arrears monthly, there’s an accounting mismatch” He said.
Urging property owners on the need to urgently review the renting system, the minister further said: “This is something many of us have experienced, you pay two years rent in advance money you haven’t earned. Something is distorted somewhere in our accounting model. We must all resolve, property owners alike, that maybe if we changed the way we collected rent alone many houses that are unoccupied, will be occupied.”
Speaking in relation to the housing deficit in the country, Fashola said, “I am inclined to think that if we just change the payment system for housing, we will accommodate a significant number of people.”
The minister emphasized that rents payment be made to match salary payment. “If salaries are paid in arrears, rent should be paid in arrears” he said. He also added that only then will a more rigorous enforcement system for eviction work out for defaulters. Hopefully, if the bill is passed into law, it becomes a criminal offence for landlords to collect advance payment of rent from tenants.
Meanwhile, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Olasupo Sasore (SAN), said the Tenancy Bill 2009, which is currently before the Lagos State House of Assembly is meant to relieve the plight of tenants from heartless landlords.
He explained further that the bill is meant to make multiple collection of rent in advance from tenants, by landlords who greedily exploit the people, criminal. Apparently, the bill will consolidate all the state’s existing tenancy laws and will also reduce the period when landlords would commence civil procedures against tenants. The commissioner added that a public hearing would be held on the bill to enable Lagosians add their input before it is passed into law.