Rent: Senate Bill Seeks 3-Month Jail, N1m Fine For Defaulting Landlords

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The Senate bill seeking to regulate house rent in the Federal Capital Territory has prescribed a three-month jail term or N1million fine for offenders.

The proposed law, sponsored by Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC, Kogi), passed second reading on the floor of the Senate last week.

It seeks to protect low income earners from any form of oppression by homeowners as well as provide a safety net for landlords against erring tenants.

The bill bars landlords from demanding from a fresh tenant, rent in excess of three months.

It also bars the tenant from offering to pay rent in excess of three months in case he or she is securing the use of the apartment for the first time.

In case of termination of agreement, the bill prescribes a one-month notice to a tenant paying rents on a monthly basis and three-month notice to a tenant paying on a quarterly basis.

The bill forbids arbitrary increase of rent and gives the courts the powers to determine reasonable rent increments.

The bill gives exclusive jurisdictions to the magistrate courts to try rent cases, but that either of the two parties could appeal to the High Courts.

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