By Benjamin Omoike
Lagos State Government (LASG), has said that all modalities for the commencement of a monthly rent payment scheme that will ease the burden of yearly payment on residents will commence soon.
The Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Housing, Mrs Toke Benson-Awoyinka, disclosed this during a discussion on Rental Policies with stakeholders in her office at Alausa, Ikeja.
Benson-Awoyinka said the scheme will benefit the landlords, as they have their rent guaranteed and they have the assurance of payment upfront, while tenants will also no longer have that burden of yearly payment of huge amounts of money.
“Tenants can therefore use their huge money for other forms of investments or for payment of school fees, as the burden of payment of yearly rent is taken away from them completely. So, it is a win-win social investment scheme, it is a good one and it is applaudable,” she stated.
She explained that to come on board, tenants must meet the qualification, which includes ensuring that tenants have the capacity to make the payments on a monthly basis.
She said the monthly rental scheme will begin with the formal sector of people with monthly income but promised that once the scheme starts running fine, the informal sector too will be brought on board.
Her words: “We are all looking forward to it as it will start from January next year. From today, you will start seeing communications about how it is going to work, how existing tenancy will come on board and we are going to have a major launch for the program.
“We will have communications all over the news medium to show people how it will work and how to get on the programme.”
She assured that the monthly rental scheme has come to stay and it will be sustainable, noting that several Lagos State Government policies have stood the test of time and are still working and this would not be an exemption.
She went on, “We have kept to all our words right from the beginning of this administration. This is another win-win for us as a state government, as citizens of Lagos, as landlords and as investors and we all should applaud the state government for this initiative.
“With this initiative, we are able to enable tenants to pay monthly rent beyond for properties built by the Lagos State Government, as we have in the rent-a-home scheme. We have brought private landlords too on board and we know that they are waiting eagerly to see what will happen to them.
“We know we cannot enforce monthly rent collection on landlords but we have created a platform that will make monthly rent payment possible for tenants and we know when the system begins and runs fine, many more landlords will come on board.”
She further said: “To make this work, we have brought together several stakeholders including financial institutions, landlords’ financiers, tenants and the legal and administrative system. We have put all these together as a state government and we will ensure this service is resilient and easily accessible by residents of Lagos State.”
The Special Adviser added that the platform works for both new and previous tenants.
She promised that the informal sector would also be put into the scheme, as she urged Lagosians to take good advantage of the platform.
“We thank the Lagos State Governor and the entire team for this wonderful idea and I pray it has come to stay and will be a reference point in Lagos,” she said.
Dr. Rabiu Olowo, Commissioner for Finance, said the initiative was part of the resilience policy of the current administration.
He said the government had a rental survey and found out that 88 per cent of tenants in the state would rather pay their rent monthly.
His words: “We had to pursue this by working with different relevant stakeholders and we now have a model that will work and enable Lagosians pay their rent monthly. Landlords have nothing to lose because they will continue to receive their rent yearly and their default risk is zero.”
He said the monthly rental scheme will commence with the formal sector to enable them to minimise risk.