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It May Soon Become Illegal for Landlords to Demand for One-Year Rents – Senate

The Senate may soon make it illegal for landlords across Nigeria to demand for one-year payments as condition for rents. Senator Smart Adeyemi of Kogi West Senatorial District sponsored a bill seeking for landlords to demand only three months of advance payment for a first rent, and then subsequent one-month rent.

The bill which is titled Advance Rent for Residential Apartments, Office Spaces, etc. Regulation Bill 2022 has passed the first reading, and ready for the second reading. Adeyemi is proposing that the government make a law that makes it illegal for any landlord to request for initial one-year payments before houses, shops, or office spaces can be rented out.

The federal lawmaker is proposing for potential renters to pay a maximum of three months in advance for any property, and then one-month payments after this initial period. He lamented that poor Nigerians are suffering at the hands of exploitative landlords, and that many people need the protection of the law to be able to secure accommodation without pain.

“We discovered that landlords are compelling tenants to make one-year and two-year advance rent payments before they would give them keys to their apartments,” he said. “It may not be an issue to quite a number of people; but to many others, it is a great pain for them. Most Nigerians need the protection of the law to be able to meet their basic needs after paying rent.”

Adeyemi said even landlords who gamed the system and built their houses with ill-gotten wealth make life difficult for poor people by demanding for 1-2 years tenancy payment in advance. He said many Nigerians are forced to steal and cheat in order to obtain money for their rents, while ladies take to prostitution to be able to afford decent apartments.

“The law we are proposing stipulates a maximum advance rent payment of three months,” he stated. “After the expiration of the three months rent, the tenants are expected to pay monthly. There are many tenants whose salaries are competing with their rents because they live in cities like Abuja. The law will prevent the poor workers from any form of oppression.”

An independent investigation revealed that two-bedroom apartments now cost as much as N300,000 and three-bedroom apartments cost up to N450,000 annually in most cities and across Nigeria. House agents add up to N180,000 to these rents before they are given out. Some landlords also add up to N50,000 more for spurious expenses such as “caution fee,” security, cleaners, etc.