Fashola tells landlords to collect rents in arrears - PUNCH
BY Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Thursday urged landlords in the country to start collecting rents in arrears beginning from today, July 6, 2018.
According to him, property owners across the country should understand the plights of the low-income earners.
While advocating the payment of rents after each month, as against what is obtainable across the country currently, the minister appealed to homeowners to be considerate.
He argued that salary earners, who could afford to pay rents, were not receiving their salaries in advance, but in arrears.
Fashola stated this while speaking on the theme, ‘Innovative housing finance model as a catalyst for home ownership,’ at an event for real estate operators in Abuja.
He recommended that there should be a landlord-tenant-employer’s relation, whereby the landlord reaches an agreement with the tenant’s employer to ensure the rent is deducted on a monthly basis from the tenant’s salary.
Fashola said, “If you ask me to go and bring in advance one year’s rent from what I’m going to earn monthly in arrears, how feasible is that?
“Even my salary as a minister is paid at the end of every month, not even at the beginning; then you the landlord is now asking me to bring next year’s salary, and we’re complaining that there’s corruption.
“I tried to intervene as a governor, passing the resolution to our own council in Lagos then, but the outcome was not peaceful, because there were landlords in our midst.”
The minister made it clear that he was not pleased with the practice of advance rent payment, arguing that all the developed economies Nigeria was being compared to were not collecting one year’s rent in advance.
“Those who get paid weekly, pay their rents weekly; those who get paid monthly, pay monthly rents,” Fashola stated.
According to him, the masses, unlike the well to do in the society, cannot afford to pay their house rents in advance.
“I believe this meeting is about the critical mass of Nigerians, the taxi drivers, market men and women who earn their money daily and are not even sure of making any revenue for that day. Meanwhile, landlords expect advance payments,” the minister told his listeners.
Fashola charged all landlords in the country, starting from Friday, July 6, 2018, “to agree to take one month rent in arrear,” noting that the payment pressure on the side of the tenant would be reduced in 12 months.
The minister also stated that there was no country in the world where everybody owned a home.
Fashola, at another function in Abuja, stated that claims that Chinese firms in Nigeria could be harbouring workers originally serving prison terms in their home country were subjective and unconfirmed.
He also suggested that the conditions for loans given to Nigeria by China might include the use of certain number of Chinese labour to execute infrastructure projects in the country.
He added that it was necessary for Nigeria to upgrade its influence in the world by developing its economy such that it could take such decisions in its engagements with the rest of the world, especially countries it would lend money to.