The Senate has passed for second reading, a bill seeking to regulate rent payments in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The proposed legislation, sponsored by Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC, Kogi), specifically seeks to stop yearly advance payment of rents and compel house owners to collect rent monthly in arrears.
Adeyemi, in his lead debate, said the bill was to cushion the effect of outrageous rents on properties on residents in the nation’s capital.
He said many properties in Abuja were empty because of the outrageous rents placed on them.
“Many residents of FCT are finding it very difficult to cope with huge rent payment, the reason many of the houses built for such purpose are empty.”
He said some landlords always insist their tenants pay one year or two years rent.
“That is wrong. There are many tenants whose salaries are competing with their rents because they live in cities like Abuja,” he said.
Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger), described the proposed law as people-centred and urged his colleagues to support its passage.
“There’s no gain saying that many residents in FCT are groaning under this difficult system where tenants are asked to pay house rent yearly in advance,” Abdullahi said.
Senators Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto) and Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC, Kebbi) all threw their weights behind the bill.
Na’Allah said the system where tenants — many of whom receive meagre salaries — are forced to pay rent annually in advance encourages corruption.
“Where we operate a system that makes it difficult for people to survive, then we may not be able fight corruption notwithstanding the resources deployed for the purpose,” he said.
Only Senator Chimaroke Nnamani (PDP, Enugu) opposed the bill, saying rents are determined by market forces, like cost of acquiring land and building materials.
His position, however, did not stop the passage of the bill for second reading.