By Biodun Busari
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said that the property owners collecting two to three years’ rent in advance are causing more harm than good to Nigeria’s economy.
Fashola, who advocated the drive for monthly rent payments across the country, disclosed this on Thursday, as he urged state governments to look at ways to make the payment of rent easier and more comfortable for both tenants and landlords.
The minister said this during his address at the 2022 National Council Meeting on Lands, Housing and Urban Development, the 11th in the series, which took place in Sokoto State.
Delivering his speech at the event, the former governor of Lagos said, “I concede that majority of the houses belong to the private sector and they expect legitimate income from rent for the properties.
“However, I hold a strong view that asking for two to three years rent in advance from working-class people (as distinct from corporate tenants who may prefer to pay in advance) does more harm than good to all concerned and to the economy.
“Interestingly, rent is a matter over which the Federal Government has no constitutional authority because it is a local matter and rightly so.
“But I use the platform of this meeting to challenge and provoke all state representatives to thoughts and action about how we can make the payment of rent easier and comfortable for both tenants and landlords.”
Fashola stated that this would be most innovative intervention when working-class people could pay their rent when they received their salaries.
“This is possible if we try and this will give the fullest possible expression to the theme of this meeting which is, ‘Housing our people, by all of government and all our people,” he stated.
Fashola told delegates at the meeting that at the Federal Government level, “we have introduced Rent-to-Own into our acquisition/sale model for the disposal of the houses in the National Housing Programme.”