Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) has warned that caution must be taken in enforcing the implementation of monthly payment of rents so as not to scare away investors in the sub-sector.

The institution gave the warning during its council meeting held at Watbridge Hotel in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, at the weekend.

Addressing journalists at a press conference, the President of the Council, Emmanuel Okas Wike, stated that any mode of enforcement should be handled with caution, saying failure to do so could worsen the shortage of houses in the sector.

According to him, after the minister’s directive, a committee was set up to study the follow-up action. The report of the committee, he said, had guided the body to ask for caution in implementing it so as not to create more problems than solutions.

The minister had, in a statement, in Abuja, said that exorbitant rents, ranging from two to three years demanded by landlords and property owners before letting out their properties, made homes inaccessible for Nigerians, especially in urban centres.

But NIESV president said: “Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers fully resonates with the argument to re-establish a match between the prevailing regime of monthly income and the practice of advance rental payments, quarterly, annually and biennially. Housing is an inelastic social good or service, with substantial shortages at the urban low and medium-income subsectors of the market. That re-establishment, however appealing it may be, requires careful planning and systemic implementation so as not to exacerbate the difficulties.

“In the face of the available evidence, monthly payment of rents will not work currently. The parties involved will circumvent it by agreeing at the same time 12 monthly contracts at once and in advance. Any move to enforce implementation by law or public regulation will scare away investors from that subsector of the housing market, thereby further worsening the shortage.”

The end result is the compounding of the housing problem instead of proffering some solution.

“In the long term, the way forward is to take a balanced position, push for public discourse that should generate the buy-in for a mutually beneficial policy for renters and landlords. The ongoing conversation is a good start and should be built upon to generate consensus through more stakeholders (landlords, investors, tenants) engagements and buy-ins, identification of needed special interventions, leading to carefully formulated policies with robust implementation procedures, and implementable fast-track mechanisms for conflict resolution.”

The Institution commended the Akwa Ibom State government for employing many of its members and urged it to continue to partner with its branch in the state for the development of the state.

Source : The Guardian