Tired of Paying Rent Annually? This Senate Bill May Just Fix That

February 9, 2022

Without question, house-hunting in Nigeria is the ghetto

On top of paying agents outrageous inspection fees to show you overpriced apartments that look like crack dens (looking at you Lagos), you can also occasionally encounter ridiculous rules that border on discrimination.

“The area does not flood, as long as it doesn’t rain.”

Added to all this, your prospective landlord wants you to pay a year’s rent in advance. Or two years. Or three, if the wickedness is sponsored by your village people.

That last part may be changing soon if things work out well in Abuja.

A bill to regulate annual rent payment was introduced for the first reading in the Senate on January 18, 2022.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West – APC) and was presented for second reading and debated in the chamber on February 1.

We don’t have the document because it’s not been made public yet, but here’s everything we know about it from what has been said in the Red Chamber:

The bill only applies to the FCT

Paying annual rent is a big headache for tenants in Nigeria

Non-FCT tenants feeling intense jealousy

The full title of the bill is “A Bill for an Act to Regulate the mode of payment of rent on Residential Apartments, Office Spaces, etc in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and for other matters connected therewith, 2022 (SB. 893).” It’s a mouthful, I know.

One thing the title tells us is that this bill only applies to residents of the FCT. This is because housing is a state issue, and the National Assembly can only make a law of this nature for the FCT which it has state legislative control over.

Only the Houses of Assembly of the other 36 states can separately legislate on the same issue for their territories if they want.

Rent advance reduced to 3 months maximum

The rent control bill, if passed, will stop landlords from asking tenants to pay advance rent of more than three months in the FCT. This is to be followed by monthly payments starting from the fourth month.

The average advance rent requested by landlords tends to be one year, but Senator Adeyemi and others who support the bill believe it places a huge burden on tenants, especially low and middle-income earners struggling in these Sapa times.

When the bill passed first reading last month, the lawmaker said, “Many people are involved in corrupt practices to get their rents paid, while the ladies took to prostitution.”

From where to where?

There’s opposition to the bill

Of course, the bill has haters. Chief among them is former Enugu state governor turned lawmaker, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu East – PDP) whom we cannot say for certain is not a closet FCT landlord.

In his argument against the bill, he said advance payment timelines should be determined by market forces such as availability of land, cost of building materials and income.

The senator implied that if the government has such a hard-on for resolving pressing housing issues, “Government can go into housing schemes, mortgage schemes, housing credit facilities, not control the business of private individuals in an emerging African democracy.”

It's not surprising that landlords don't want annual rent payment controlled

They may take our lives, but they will never take our three years advance rent!”

The rent control bill is set for public hearing soon

The bill has been passed for a second reading and referred to the Senate Committee on Housing to report back within four weeks.

The committee is charged with conducting further legislative action on the bill. This process includes a public hearing that you can attend to contribute to the final draft. So if you only want to be paying your landlord weekly, they will at least hear you out.

The bill will then be returned to the chamber for a third reading and will be passed or rejected.

If passed, it will be forwarded to the president, who is an FCT homeowner himself, to sign into law or reject.

The final decision to pass the annual rent bill lies with Buhari

“So I must sign this and block my own bag? Is this a prank?”

The bill is long overdue

The annual rent system in Nigeria has come under public attention many times, and the only real surprise here is that it took this long for the National Assembly to attempt an intervention.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has long campaigned for landlords to switch to a monthly rent system which is practised in many developed countries.

Supporters of rent control argue that the annual payment system has worsened inequality in housing supply, but real estate developers have argued that there are no adequate frameworks to protect landlords if tenants default in a monthly payment system.

If passed into law, Senator Adeyemi’s rent control bill is expected to encourage similar legislation in other states (looking at you, again, Lagos).

Every state in Nigeria could have an annual rent bill if this one is successful

Non-FCT tenants calling their state legislators right now to start cooking their own rent control bill

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

September 28, 2020

Yesterday, we wrote on how the NLC and its 4 million members would go on strike if they did not reach an agreement with the federal government.  Well, the NLC has suspended its strike for two weeks, meaning some agreements were made for the meantime. This is everything the newspapers are not telling you they […]

July 20, 2020

Let’s start from here: Nigerian politicians have a history of fainting at court hearings and getting away with their bad behavior. So, we the good people of Zikoko came up with scenarios where you can also get away with this tactic in your daily life. Here are a few: 1) When your girlfriend catches you […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

Recommended Quizzes

March 24, 2020

While we know that a lot of the best Nigerian artists deservedly have fans across generations, that won’t stop us from attempting to guess how old you are based on your taste in Nigerian music. So, take this quiz to see if we got it right:

September 1, 2021

August is over, and here are some of our best quizzes from August. Enjoy: 1. QUIZ: Only Ajebutters Can Get 10/21 On This Quiz Some people like to form ajepako when they’re really ajebutter. Are you one of them? Let’s find out. 2. QUIZ: Sorry, If You’re Under 25 There’s No Way You Can Pass […]

December 11, 2019

In the past month, we’ve made quizzes that guessed the last time you had sex, how many people you’ve slept with, and just how good you are in bed. For our latest attempt, we will use your taste in Nigerian music from the 2010s to ascertain what you’re like in bed. Take to find out:

More from Citizen

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X