The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has urged Nigerian landlords to consider taking weekly and monthly payments for leased properties.
This was disclosed at the 15th Abuja International Housing Show in Abuja on Monday, themed “Sustainable and Resilient Housing Solutions for a Post Pandemic World”.
Fashola, represented by the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Abubakar Aliyu, said the present administration was keen on promoting affordable housing for citizens.
“For example, in cases where the rents of businesses or some individuals are due for renewal, the private landlords can give back by accepting monthly, quarterly, or half-yearly rents, instead of one, two or three years rent in advance,” the minister said.
Fashola explained that this suggestion is to replicate what the federal government has done through the Central Bank of Nigeria. The bank reschedules payment on loans by negotiating more affordable terms.
“Where rent has fallen into arrears, it is possible to emulate what the FGN did through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reschedule payment on loans by rescheduling the payment for the tenant to more affordable terms, instead of adopting eviction.”
The minister stated that a large number of houses available for sale or lease belong mostly to individuals and private companies, compared to those owned by the state or federal government and the tenants would have to deal with private individuals and not the government.
He recommended that, in order to improve affordable housing post-COVID, private companies and landlords would have to cede some control over their properties.
“Consequently, my recommendation for improving access and affordability in the COVID-19 era and beyond, as presented at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting and which is still apt for this gathering, is for private companies and individuals to give back some of what they control to citizens in the way that the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has given back to citizens some of what it controls,” the minister said.
Fashola urged state legislators “to connect with their constituents by making legislation that regulates the demand for prohibitive advance rent in areas of high density where the bulk of the people live. This is because rent is not a federal matter.”