-‘’Act your part well first’, they echo
Recently, Minister for Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola pleaded with landlords to reduce rent as a result of the yet to be resolved economic crisis facing the country in the interest of the masses who are financially incapacitated to cope with the challenges associated with the current economic trend.
However, as tenants across the country applauded the minister for being sensitive to their plight for the campaign, some landlords and property experts ENCOMIUM Weekly sought their reaction outrightly carpeted Fashola on the statement, maintaining he has no locus to canvas for rent reduction.
‘It’s just a lip service’ – AYO ADEDOYIN, Estate agent and property valuer
What Fashola said can’t work. He too knows it can’t work. He just said that to score a political point. It’s unreasonable. You can’t even imagine how much a bag of cement is at the moment let alone other building materials. The amount people spend on renovating old buildings now double the amount they spend in erecting such buildings.
For instance, a bag of cement now is N2,700 or even N2,800 in some places let alone the prices of other materials. To repaint a building now, the price of a gallon of paint now triples what it used to be in the past three or four years. And the worst thing is that prices of food stuff, other goods and services are skyrocketing. And landlords don’t have any special market other than the one they visit with other people around.
So, Fashola doesn’t need to beg anybody to reduce rent.
Let him canvas for people like Dangote to give Nigerians cement that won’t be more than N1,000 per bag, let others follow suit as well, everything will fall in place naturally. Even, all the mansions most of these millionaires and politicians are building up and down with corrupt money, are they ready to reduce the rent when they know how much they pay as land use charges? So, it’s beyond begging, the government should just do the right thing at the right time.
‘It can’t work at all’ – OBI UZOR, Estate agent and valuer
That’s rubbish. It can’t work at all. I don’t think he was really serious about it. He even started this issue of high rent in Lagos. He didn’t make proper consultation with the right people on the field as far as property business is concerned.
He made a law that no landlord should collect more than a year rent. And since he said that, every landlord jacked up rent in all parts of Lagos state. An apartment that was not supposed to be more than N200,000 per annum went as high as N300,000 or even more. And the mentality spread across.
So, that was the beginning of the problem tenants are facing today. He is not in a better position to advice anybody at all on that. He should just do his job well as Minister for Housing, he will see that other things will fall in place.
“In my house, a few days back, I bought a bag of cement forN2,800. You can see how high the price is and the same situation affects the price of iron rod. The landlords he’s talking about are also going through the same recession the tenants are going through. So, he is just wasting his time and energy.
“He should address the issue from the top first’ – ALHAJI RAUF POPOOLA
Fashola really missed it. What he’s supposed to do is address the problem from the top. Let the government work on the prices of building materials first before coming to appeal to landlords. Most landlords suffered before completing their houses.
Most people spend up to six years on just two flats of eight rooms before completing such buildings, denying themselves a lot of other things because building materials are not easy to come by. Also, tenement rates, LAWMA fee and land use charges are outrageous. In the past, things were not like that. Even, there was nothing like any payment for waste disposal, it was purely the responsibility of the government.
If you add up all these, they amount to something significant. Landlords too have their responsibilities just like every other person. So, instead of begging the landlord to reduce rent, he should first appeal to those manufacturing building materials to reduce prices as well. And the Federal Government should ensure the economy bounces back so that life will be better for all, not just those in government alone.
‘The advice is a mere waste of time’ – AGBOOLA MARTINS, landlord
“I don’t think the man understands that many houses are at times the only investments of some landlords, especially in Lagos state here. So, to reduce the rent because of recession as canvassed by him won’t add up at all. Even, most of them at the top are not ready to do that let alone those of us at the bottom level. We also have our children in schools. Most of us laboured more than enough to build the houses. And if you want to renovate same house now, it is as good as saying you’re building a new one. So, let the government bring down the prices of building materials first. Then building new houses or renovating the old ones will be cheaper. Then, rent will be at its lowest.
- TADE ASIFAT