Landlords Plead With Fashola On Land Use Charges

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Lagos landlords on Wednesday appealed to Governor Babatunde Fashola not to effect his planned increase in land use charges on properties within the state.

The new charges are to come into effect as from January.

A cross section of the landlords told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the proposed increase would worsen the accommodation crisis in the state, as it would result in higher rents.

While Fashola was presenting the state‘s N485.29 billion 2012 budget proposal before the State House of Assembly on Monday, he announced the plan to increase the charges by 0.05 per cent.

Justifying the plan, the governor said the current charges, which had remained the same for nine years, was no more tenable in view of increasing economic variables such as interest rate, inflation and exchange rate.

Mr Taiwo Akinola, a landlord at Araromi Street, Iyana Ipaja, wondered why the government would think of such a plan, in spite of its claimed commitment to easing the accommodation problems within Lagos metropolis.

“We all know that anytime the government increases the land use charge, rents go up because a landlord will definitely add the increase to the rent he charges.

‘It is just an irony that a government that has restated its commitment to solving the housing problem is contemplating a plan that will further worsen it . I think they should forget about the idea,“ he said.

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Another landlord in Abule-Egba, Mr Rasaq Musa, said the planned increase was tantamount to the government speaking from both sides of the mouth.

According to him, the increase is not expected, especially as the state has just enacted a Tenancy Law designed to tackle some of the accommodation challenges faced by residents.

“The government should have waited and monitor the effectiveness of the recently enacted Tenancy Law before proposing something that would definitely undermine its success,” he advised.

Also, Mrs Ramotu Azeez, who owns a property in Agege, says the increase in charges would create another burden on the landlords.

She said most of her tenants were already owing her rent arrears of between six months and one year, noting that the burden of the increase in land charges would have to be borne by her.

“Rent increase is not an option for me because the little I charge, my tenants are not paying. So, it is going to be my problem if the government increases the land use charges.

“I appeal to the governor to halt the plan,” she said.

But a landlord in Magodo Phase 2, who pleaded anonymity said the planned increase, as announced by the government was negligible, and might not have any serious effect on rents.

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