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Published On: Tue, Apr 15th, 2014

Nigeria’s judicial system is skewed against the landlord – NIESV chieftain

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The Chairman, Faculty of Land Administration and Information Systems, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Mr. Victor Adekunle Alonge has taken a swipe at the laws governing the relationship between landlords and their tenants in Nigeria, saying they (laws) are terribly outdated and skewed against the landlords.

Alonge said the consequence of this anomaly is the low rate of investments in the housing sector by private investors. Buttressing this assertion, he cited Lagos state, where he said the tenancy law is tilted in favour of tenants.

“Lagos state tenancy law, whereby the state is trying to control rents, is primarily one-sided, whereas history has shown us that all over the world the only control you can have is on something you have power over,” he said.

Continuing, Alonge said; “When you say people in a particular area cannot pay more than one year rent, remember, it is one thing to make laws and another is the implementation of the law by the judiciary; because it is not government that will implement the law or execute it.

“The judiciary would have to interpret the law which leads to enforcement; but the problem with that is that you don’t control what you don’t have. If government wants to control rent, then they have to be involved in the production”.

Speaking on the situation in Abuja, where there are houses scattered around the capital city yet not affordable, Alonge denied the allegation that estate surveyors should be held liable for the scenario.

“When you say there are properties everywhere but out of reach of the majority and you attribute that to valuers, I will say that the statement is incorrect. It is not the valuers; it is not the estate agents that are responsible for that. Property development is an economic activity, it is an investment exercise. There is input and output.

He kicked against government’s direct involvement in housing construction and attempts to control price of houses.

“How many houses can government build? We’ve had FHA for how many decades now, we have mortgage banks, we have several agencies but what have they been able to do? So when you say people are not able to afford, you can’t blame estate surveyors and valuers. You can only control what you have power over. A lot of development that we have in this country today especially in Abuja is basically private initiatives.

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