RESIDENTS of Abuja have appealed to the federal government to intervene in the arbitrary increase in house rents by landlords in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Some residents told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews on Sunday that paying rent in Abuja was burdensome as landlords increased rents at will.
They lamented that such indiscriminate hikes in rent had caused ill-treatment and harassment from landlords.
Dauda Abusali, an artist, said that his rent was increased without prompt notice, adding that he was currently putting up with a friend.
“My landlord asked everyone to pack if they are unable to pay the rent he is demanding; my experience is tough.
“I have sent my family home to see how I can survive the situation.’’
Mr Abusali said that there were many houses in the city with no one occupying them because of high rents.
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“The government should make policies that will stop this trend; houses should not be empty when many people do not have houses,’’ he said.
Mr Kolade Tayo, an event planner, said that it was inhuman to increase the rent on a house that was built many years ago because of the economic situation today.
“As a tenant, I have received terrible treatment from my landlord who does whatever he likes.
“The government should be able to regulate the arbitrary increase in house rents; if the government can put a benchmark on rents, it will greatly help the residents,” he said.
Ajibola Olushola, a fashion designer, said that the recurring increase in house rent had affected his household. According to him, after paying rent, he does not have enough money to sort out other family needs. He pleaded that the government should come to the rescue of the citizens.
“Government should support schemes that manage house rent issues before all of us die in this country,” he said.
Esther Mamudu, a corps member, said the outrageous house rent by landlords was a type of injustice tenants faced at the hands of landlords.
“My sister resumed school only to realise that her rent had been increased with no prior notice. She was asked to either pay immediately or vacate the house,” she said.
Miss Mamudu added that there was a need for a body that would serve as a watchdog to regulate house rents and activities of landlords in Abuja and Nigeria at large.
She said regulating rents in Nigeria as a country would go a long way to easing the suffering of the masses.
Nex Peter, a printer, said that everything in the country was very expensive, adding that house owners were also trying to survive the hard times.
“I decided to live with my friends so we can join hands together to pay the rent of N400,000 every year. This is the only way I can survive in Abuja; I appeal to the government at all levels to look into the hardship people are facing and address it; it is becoming unbearable,” he said.
Agogo Stephen, a corps member, expressed dissatisfaction with the situation in the country, adding that no average Nigerian was having it easy.
“The situation is very bad and has rendered many people homeless because they cannot afford to pay rent in the city,” he said.
Mr Stephen said the government needed to intervene in reducing the price of building materials to help low-income earners afford a roof over their heads.
However, a landlord, Banji Oluwaseyeri, attributed the increase in rent in Abuja to the high cost of living in the country.
“Transportation and feeding are on the increase; as landlords, we have to increase our rent to be able to survive the current economic situation,” he said.
Mr Oluwaseyeri appealed to the government to support the citizens with tokens and reduce the cost of transportation.
NAN reports that the 9th Senate passed into second reading, a bill seeking to stop landlords in the FCT from demanding advance payment of one-year rent from their tenants.
The legislation was titled, “A Bill for an Act to regulate the mode of Payment of Rent on Residential Apartments, Office Spaces, in the FCT and for Other Matters Connected Therewith.” The bill, sponsored by Smart Adeyemi (APC Kogi-West), was aimed at ending the practice whereby landlords demanded a yearly advance payment of rent from their tenants. (NAN)