Collect monthly rents, FG tells landlords

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The federal government has advised landlords to collect rents monthly to help cushion the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola, gave the advise on Monday at the opening ceremony of the 15th Abuja Housing Show.

Mr Fashola represented by the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Abubakar Aliyu, said the government observed that in the post-COVID-19 era most Nigerians were unable to pay their rents due to the effects of the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of pandemic disease in the country.

“It is evident that most houses available for sale or rent belong mostly to individuals and private companies, compared to those the state or Federal Government have available,” the minister said. “Therefore, many of the tenants who owe rent, who face eviction or who seek to rent or buy property due to the pandemic are dealing with private citizens or companies and less so with government agencies.

“Consequently, my recommendation for improving access and affordability in the COVID-19 era and beyond, as presented at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting and which is still apt for this gathering, is for private companies and individuals to give back some of what they control to citizens in the way that the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has given back to citizens some of what it controls.

“For example, in cases where the rents of businesses or some individuals are due for renewal, the private landlords can give back by accepting monthly, quarterly, or half-yearly rents, instead of one, two or three years rents in advance.

“The risk of defaults can be secured by bank guarantees or insurance bonds provided by the tenants or the employer in exchange for a direct debit mandate from the employee for the deduction of his rent from his salary to pay the landlord.

“Where rent has fallen into arrears, it is possible to emulate what the FGN did through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reschedule payment on loans by rescheduling the payment for the tenant to more affordable terms, instead of adopting eviction,” he suggested.

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