By Chris Ochayi
The Council of Nigeria Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, NIESV, has disagreed with the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, over his proposal that landlords of private property should collect monthly fees from tenants.
The President and Chairman of Council, Chief Emmanuel Wike, who expressed the disagreement, while addressing newsmen at the first council meeting of the institution, in Abuja, weekend, said the proposal was not tenable, since the government had no control over individual property.
Recall that Fashola had, at the opening ceremony of the 15th Abuja Housing Show, urged landlords of private property to start charging their tenants monthly, quarterly or half-yearly rents, instead of the current practice of charging one, two to three years of advance rents, arguing that in the post-COVID-19 era, most tenants were owing rents or facing eviction.
The government said it was evident that most houses available for sale or rent belong mostly to individuals and private companies, compared to those the state or the Federal Government could provide.
But Wike said as a major stakeholder in the housing sector of the economy, the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers viewed Fashola’s suggestion from a different perspective.
Wike said the institution would visit the minister as soon as possible to deliberate and harmonize positions on the matter.
He said: “Housing remains one of the basic challenges for ordinary Nigerians, especially those living in urban centres.
”Speaking recently in Abuja, the Minister of Works & Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, identified exorbitant amounts of rent, ranging from two to three years demanded by landlords and property owners before they let out their properties as the major cause.
“He outrightly dismissed the 17 million housing deficit currently brandished in Nigeria for lacking scientific proof.‘‘
“The Minister also called for legislation on the monthly rent payment suggested. As a major stakeholder in the Housing sector, the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers view the suggestion of the Minister from a different perspective.
”The Institution intends to visit him as soon as possible to deliberate and harmonize positions on the matter.
“It may not be easy for government to control what they did not own. You will find that majority of the houses we are talking about are owned by individuals or corporate bodies. Most of them are not owned by the government. So how is it possible for government to now begin to dictate the rate property owners will collect?
“We are aware that rent control has been in existence since 1972 and it has never worked and it will be difficult for it to work. We will discuss with the minister and come up with something reasonable for the society.”
On escalating insecurity in the country, Wike said the institution was worried over the continuous loss of lives and property across the country.
He said: “From terrorism to kidnapping, banditry and farmer-herder conflict, and mindless killing of innocent Nigerians almost on a daily basis, the situation is, indeed, appalling.
“A more dangerous dimension was recently introduced to the protracted issue, and that is clashes between security agencies and local insurgents in the South East, leading to the killing of several policemen and other security personnel.
“The escalation of clashes between security agencies and local insurgents call for a rethink of strategies by the government on how to combat the security challenges across the country.”
Wike suggested that government and the security agencies should be more proactive via a well-coordinated intelligence gathering.
He said government should be more engaging with the aim of addressing as much as possible the most pressing problems of hunger, unemployment and poverty in the land.
According to him, religious and traditional leaders should be encouraged to preach and promote peace within their domains.