The Government of Lagos State on Tuesday charged residents to speak up against extortion or arbitrary rents increase by landlords and stop suffering in silence.
Mr Ayodeji Amodu, Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Housing gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
Amodu said there was the need for residents to speak up because enforcement of the existing laws on rent was only possible when people lodge complaints.
He noted that the state government recently inaugurated a new agency to regulate and monitor both tenants and landlords to ensure equity, adding that laws were usually forgotten if not used or challenged.
The aide called on tenants who were victims of arbitrary rent increase or other vices to approach the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA), for amicable resolution of issues.
“People just keep quiet when they are overcharged; but the law will not defend you if you don’t come to challenge it.
“Somebody must actually go out to say that I know my right and I can always challenge any landlord who is increasing his rent abruptly without any course to the law of the land,’’ he said.
Amodu noted that the agency was created to monitor, control and regulate policies of real estate transactions in the state.
“Like I said, the government is always on the side of the people; that is why the regulatory authority was inaugurated and is doing very well to ensure transactions are monitored.
“If you are a tenant or a landlord, you have access to get LASRERA.
“If either you have been defrauded or overcharged, or you paid for a property and you have not got value for your money, that is an area you can go to lodge your complaints and such people will be called to order,’’ he said.
The aide listed completed and on-going affordable mass housing schemes embarked upon by the Sanwo-Olu administration, to increase housing stock and bridge the huge shelter gap in the state.
Amodu also highlighted the low mortgage offers aimed at making houses and rents cheaper, to ensure landlords have access to finance and individuals could afford decent housing.
He stated that the government would tinker with the existing laws on rent made by previous regimes, to bring them up-to-date with current realities.
“When certain rules are made, people tend to flout it.
“Landlords tend to believe that well, I’ve got my money to build my homes and I feel I should charge what I feel I have put in as cost, but that doesn’t come with government.
“The government is always on the side of the masses and that is why I said the government of Babajide Sanwo-Olu came up with a new idea of creating mortgages for people who intend to have homes.
“Like we have the Lagos Homes and you can still access the mortgages through the Lagos State Building Investment Corporation (LBIC).
“The Rent Control Act of the government is still going to be something that would be promulgated again, because we know that it is very easy for people to jerk up their prices of homes based on the fact that they don’t have good interest rates from the bank.
“We understand the parts of individuals,’’ he said. (NAN)