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Government need to check mate excesses of landlords in Ilorin

15 September 2015, 09:30 Hussain Obaro

Tenants are groaning as the exorbitant rents being charged by Landlords are beginning to “choke” them economically. House rent in Ilorin, the kwara state capital cannot be currently said to be commensurate with the prevailing economic realities in a state in which almost 70% of its working class are either state or local government employees.

The status of Kwara state, as a civil service state has not really reflected in the ways and manner by which landlords charge high and unreasonable amounts as rents. For instance; a two bedroom flat (New house) goes for between N180,000 and N200,000 depending on its location; The rental charge for a two bedroom flat (old house) is between N120,000 and N150,000 depending on the location. A three bedroom flat (new house) is charged for between N220,000 and N300,000 while between N180,000 and N220,000 is charged if it is an old house. A bedroom flat apartment currently goes for between N80,000 and N100,000 (new house) and N60,000 to N70,000 for an old house.

The worrisome trend is that many Landlords demands for between two and four years advance payment by new tenants, while “sitting” tenants are often expected to pay an advance of one to two years, Without cognizance to the fact that tenants, who are majorly civil servants do not receive such advance payments from their work place, and they also have some other bills pay. The excesses and inhumane habits of regularly increasing house rents almost on a yearly basis are “killing” tenants economically and needs an urgent intervention of government.

The activities of House Agents or ‘caretaker’ as they prefer to be called here in Ilorin, is not helping matters either. The high level of youth unemployment in Nigeria has turned the job of ‘caretaker’ into a lucrative venture. Most of the graduates, especially the indigenes of Ilorin now rent a shop as soon as they finish school, and turn same into their ‘caretaker’ office.

Also Read: 100 civil servants benefit from housing scheme in Enugu State

The mentality and mindset of the caretakers is that any person or group seeking a new apartment must have hit a jackpot or discovered a hidden treasure somewhere. So their resolve to get their own share of the supposed sudden fortune is conveyed in what they called caretaker fees or agreement charge. This charge varies, and is determined according to the size and location of the apartment in question. Anyone who is new in the ancient city of Ilorin and needed an apartment or an individual who wishes to change his/her apartment is expected to employ the services of the caretakers. It is their job to scout or search for apartments according to the description and specification of the would-be-tenant, who is expected to pay a caretaker charge of N20,000 for a one bedroom flat, N30,000 for a two bedroom flat and N40,000 for a three bedroom flat. This is in addition to a non-refundable “registration fee” of N5,000 before they even start searching for the apartment.

Inline with the present economic challenges and the fact that these exploitative and inhumane activities of Landlords and caretakers are capable of scaring away local investors willing to do business in the state. The need for the state government to quickly intervene and put a halt to these greedy and unreasonable elements from milking the tenants to “death” especially now that payments of salaries has become a challenge, due to the dwindling revenue accruing to the state from the federation account. The state government should fully incorporate and integrate the Lagos state TENANCY LAW. This law makes the act of unilateral increase of rent with an unimaginable and unreasonable percentage by Landlords every year without any moral or economic justification.

Landlords undoubtedly have the right to increase rent, subject to the test of reasonability. However, when increase is oppressive and unreasonable, the Lagos tenancy law empowers tenants to apply to the court to have it reviewed. According to the provisions of this law, a prospective tenant is expected not to pay for more than a year’s rent in advance, while a “sitting” tenant is not expected to pay for more than six months advance rent. There is need the kwara state government to as a matter of urgency and public importance borrow a leave from its Lagos state counterpart, with the aim of ameliorating and reducing the economic hardship of inhabitants of Ilorin and environ.

- MyNews24

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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