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Cost of Living: Reps Move to Regulate House Rent in FCT

By Adaobi Rhema Oguejiofor

From emerging developments, the housing sector in Nigeria may be witnessing significant changes for good. In the nation’s capital, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has been charged to put in place laws to regulate house rents and landlord activities. This is as a result of the persistent hike in the cost of living in Nigeria which has obstinately become challenging for many residents, with the cost of affordable housing being a significant burden in particular. In response to the plight of citizens, the House of Representatives has taken a crucial step towards regulating house rent in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This move aims to provide relief to tenants and ensure that landlords operate within a fair and reasonable framework.

The resolution was adopted on the floor of the House after a motion proposed by Representative Emmanuel Udo from Akwa-Ibom state was put forward. The legislator requested in the resolution that rather than collecting yearly payments, there should be an implementation of monthly rent to promote an inclusive rental system and stop the arbitrary increases in house rent by landlords in the Federal Capital Territory. Hon. Udo stated that Nigeria was ready for an inclusive rental scheme that would bring about ease in the financial strain of housing on working-class families, adding that it would provide low and middle-class earners with the opportunity to access reasonably priced monthly leases.

According to him, the bulk of people living in the Federal Capital Territory are craftsmen and civil servants who work in satellite cities and are low or middle-income earners. He therefore, described the FCT’s unjustified rent hike as burdensome. In his words, “A self-contained one-bedroom home in Abuja costs between N1 million and N1.5 million, a two-bedroom home costs between N2 million and N3 million, while a three-bedroom home costs between N3 million and N5 million.

“And currently, civil officials are facing financial hardships in addition to the elimination of fuel subsidies, increased foreign currency rates, higher energy tariffs, and taxes or levies.”

He therefore, expressed his conviction that a monthly rent payment would not only offer tenants stability in their income stream, but also bring about flexibility, improved cash flow management, and appropriate move-out alternatives.
Udo further urged the Federal Government to build affordable houses for civil servants in Abuja to reduce the burden of paying extravagant rents.

Speaking to Valuechain, some Abuja residents including a legal practitioner, Matthew Odumegwu and Brenda Jokori expressed delight over the resolution, noting that it is a welcome idea as it will help residents pay as they earn and have the ability to explore options seeing that the previous housing regulation was only in favour of the landlords. Meanwhile, in order to address the housing deficit in the country, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) have restated their commitment to collaborate to this end. The Managing Director of FMBN, Shehu Osidi, reiterated the importance of the partnership during a courtesy visit by FHA’s delegation led by Managing Director and CEO, Oyetunde Ojo.

Osidi highlighted the unparalleled synergy between the two agencies, stating that the collaboration between the organizations is the best thing that can happen to the housing sector in Nigeria. He stressed the importance of the alliance in realizing the government’s agenda to provide affordable housing for Nigerians.

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