House of Reps move to end annual rent payment in Abuja


The House of Representatives has resolved to end the practice of annual rent payment in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and replace it with a monthly system.

Consequently, the House mandated its Committee on FCT to collaborate with players in the real estate sector in the territory to work out a modality for monthly rent payments.

The committee will also review the real estate sector and recommend effective policies to regulate the activities of landlords.

This resolution was a sequel to a motion moved on Wednesday by Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo (PDP, Akwa-Ibom) during plenary.

The National Assembly serves as the lawmaking body for the FCT in line with section 299 of the Constitution.

Moving the motion, Mr Ukpong-Udo noted that landlords in the territory adopt a strict annual rent payment system to the detriment of tenants.

“Within the Federal Capital Territory, monthly rent payments are uncommon, with landlords usually demanding a minimum of at least one year’s rent, while others require two years upfront.

“Nigeria is ripe for an inclusive rental system that reduces housing burden on working-class families which will offer affordable monthly rentals for low- and middle-income earners,” he said.

The legislator also lamented the arbitrary increment of rent by landlords, pushing average civil servants to satellite towns.

Mr Ukpong-Udo urged the government to intervene by building mass houses for civil servants.

“Government must come to the rescue of the residents and formulate policies that will regulate house rents and the activities of landlords in Abuja. There is a need to build affordable houses for civil servants in Abuja to reduce the burden of paying exorbitant rent in Abuja,” the lawmaker said.

When the motion was put to vote by the presiding officer, Deputy Speaker Ben Kalu, it was unanimously taken.

The motion comes on the heels of complaints by Abuja residents of the high cost and mode of payment of rent.

Some residents have decried the difficulty involved in getting accommodation due to the high cost and a few, who do, are asked to make advance payment of two or three years.

The cost of rent ranges from hundreds of thousands to several millions depending on the size, location and other factors.

This has made many opt for accommodation in satellite towns like Nyanya, Kubwa, Lugbe, and Kuje, among others.

The Senate in the ninth Assembly considered a bill to regulate rent in the FCT. However, the bill did not complete the legislative cycle until the tenure of that assembly lapsed.

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