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Awka, Onitsha residents lament hike in rents

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Residents of Awka, Anambra capital, and Onitsha, the commercial hub, have expressed worries over the astronomical hike in rents.

The respondents made their feelings known in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Awka.

They complained that rents for residential houses, offices and shops were becoming so high that they now adversely affect the living standards of residents.

Miss Uchenna Okafor, a computer operator in the Aroma area of Awka, said she was initially paying N80,000 for a single room self-contained, but lamented that her landlord later raised the rent to N120,000 per annum.

Another resident, Titus Maduako, said he used to pay N300,000 yearly for a three-bedroom apartment he lived, but said that his landlord recently served the occupants a notice increasing the rent to N400,000.

Mr Alloy Attah, who resides in Onitsha, also said that rents for shops and offices in the commercial city had gone out of the reach of the low and middle classes.

“About two years ago, you can hire a shop for between N5,000 and N10,000, but now the rent has doubled, the same applies to offices and residential apartments”, he said.

He noted that the situation was adversely affecting the residents who had other family needs to cater for.

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Mr Ignatius Nwanando, an estate agent in Awka, blamed some landlords for the rent hike.

`Some landlords will tell you to increase the rent to the same level with recently built houses regardless of the fact that the new ones have modern facilities compared to the old buildings.

“They will equally say that you should add caution fee, agreement fee and the main rent and we too must get our percentage as agents too”, he said.

Nwanando said that it was up to the state governments to legislate on real estate matters with a view to reducing the challenges faced by urban dwellers.

Mr Paulinus Uche, a landlord in Awka, said the hike on rent was due to arbitrary increase in the prices of building materials and the excessive charges by government regulatory agencies.

“Those blaming landlords for rent increase should visit the market and price building materials.

“Apart from that, enquire on what it takes to buy a plot of land in any state capital in the South-East, start excavation and see the army of government and community agents that would be visiting your site”, he said.

Uche said that government must be sincere in handling the factors that resulted led to the hike in rents.

“For instance, we heard that a bag of cement produced in another African country sells lower than the price we currently pay in Nigeria, even when it is our son that owned both factories.

“Our leaders should look into such matters to make live better for the people”, he said. (NAN)

Vanguard News Nigeria

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