A bill seeking to stop landlords in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) from demanding yearly advance rent payment from tenants, has passed second reading in the Senate.

Sponsored by Senator Smart Adeyemi, the proposed legislation entitled ‘A Bill for an Act to Regulate the mode of payment of rent on Residential Apartments, Office Spaces, etc in the FCT and for other matters connected therewith, 2022 (SB. 893)’ was read for the second time during Tuesday’s plenary in Abuja.

In his lead debate, Senator Adeyemi explained that the intention was to reduce advance payment for new tenants to three months and, thereafter, proceed on a monthly payment schedule.

According to him, the bill will make life less stressful for low-income earners in the nation’s capital as yearly house rent payments breed corruption and huge inequality.

“In the FCT, landlords demand between one to three years advance rent,” the lawmaker stated. “This automatically has a huge burden on the masses. Our economy has not fared better in supporting the advance payment.

“This tenancy system has continuously impoverished Nigerians. Many residents of FCT are finding it difficult to cope with huge rent payments, therefore, legislation must be made towards a better society.

“This Bill seeks to reduce advance payment for new tenants to three months, seeks to protect low-income earners from any form of oppression, seeks to provide a window of legal action for any form of oppression, and a safety net for landlords against any tenant. This Bill is targeted at making life meaningful for people who voted all of us as lawmakers.”

Supporting the bill, Senator Sabi Abdullahi commended the sponsor, saying it would be one of the most people-centred bills.

For him, many residents in the FCT are groaning under the difficult system where many people are expected to pay house rent in advance.

While the lawmaker is delighted that the purpose of the bill is apt, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani gave a contrary opinion.

He believes the issue of rental payment, either in advance or monthly, is economical and should be driven by market forces.

“I, therefore, oppose and oppose rigourously this bill,” he said.

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