December 5, 2016

Lagos unveils housing policies for low income earners

Lack of affordable housing affects particularly the low income citizens as they pay a disproportionate share of income for housing or live in inadequate housing that is cut-off from employment and access to health and other social services”, according to Lagos state Commissioner for Housing, Prince Gbolahan Lawal at a press conference at the weekend to announce the formal launch of the Rent-to-Own/Rental Housing policies of state billed for this Thursday.

To mitigate the above and the negative effect of the current economic recession, state state government has come up with the Rent-To-Own policy and Rental Housing policy in order to increase the number of Lagos residents that will have their feet on home ownership ladder.

Lawal who stated that the state has always been challenged by the arduous task of providing affordable and decent accommodation for the people of the state in view of its ever growing population which has reflected in the various housing schemes developed by different administrations over the years, said accessing the housing units has been largely on cash and carry basis thereby excluding majority of the citizenry until recently when the Mortgage Scheme was introduced.

The commissioner added that even though the Mortgage Scheme was able to accommodate more people on the home ownership ladder, a large number can still not afford to become home owners as they are unable to meet the requirement of 30% equity contribution which the mortgage scheme demands.

According to him, the present administration, in response to the yearnings of the people and in accordance with the inclusive policy of the administration has come up with the Rent-To-Own and Rental Housing Policies aimed at making housing more readily affordable and accessible to the citizenry.

He pointed out that the Rent-To-Own policy targets the low and medium income earners in both the formal and informal sectors, explaining that under this arrangement, individuals are required to pay five per cent  of the value of the housing unit as commitment fee and the balance is spread over 10years, adding that this programme allows the tenant to live on the property while paying towards ownership at a fixed rent within the period of 10 years.

Lawal who said a total of 12 housing estates spread across the state, have been dedicated for the implementation of the Rent-To-Own policy, noted that eligibility criteria include the fact that an applicant must be primarily resident in Lagos state and will be required to submit a copy of his or her Lagos State Residents Registration Card, applicant must be a first time home buyer, applicant must be 21 years old and above, applicant must be tax compliant and must provide the proof of tax payment, applicant must have capacity to pay the five per cent commitment fee and applicant must pass the affordability test and not more than, 33% of the monthly income as rent.

On the Rental Housing Policy, the commissioner said the policy was initiated by Mr. Ambode to further ensure housing accessibility and affordability in Lagos state, saying that the rent for the rental housing will be collected on a monthly basis, as the tenants are however required to pay one month deposit.

“The rental housing is targeted at the working class and people with regular source of income who may not want to participate in the Rent-To-Own or Mortgage programme. Government intends to earmark 20% of the available housing units in each of the dedicated Rent-To-Own estates for Rental Housing.

“The rent to be paid will be determined by the prevailing rent in each of the locations while mode of payment will be Direct Debit by the employer / banker to ensure easy collection. Rented accommodation is not transferable. The eligibility criteria, application and submission for Rent-To-Own Housing program will also apply. A Tenancy agreement which will state the duties and obligations of the tenant and the State Government must be signed by the tenant before the housing unit is handed over.

“For both the Rent-To-Own and the Rental Housing, the selection process will be credible, fair and transparent, the details of which will be made available on the day of formal launch. Gentlemen of the press distinguished ladies and gentlemen thank you for your attention”, Lawal stated.