Port Harcourt Residents Decry Increase In House Rent

A good number of Port Harcourt residents are raising concerns over some landlord increased rents following the surge in prices of building materials. They described the development as exploitative and unjust, especially when the commercial properties in question was built more that 20 years ago. Those who spoke to our reporters lamented that even when the houses are in dyeing needs of repair, the landlords are never bothered. Stating that most of these houses where built when a bag of cement was sold for one thousand naira and when a plot of land was sold at the rate of 150 thousand naira.

Speaking with Mrs. Nike Taiwo, a Tennant, who resides in Elelenwo community in Port Harcourt, she told our reporters that the landlords are unnecessarily wicked. She said they know that the possibility of getting new apartment or packing out is difficult, they now use that as a do or die affair to tie Tenants down. Expressing sadness that the landlords don’t pay taxes, yet they are increasing rent. She however call on the government to establish a regulatory body that can regulate the way these landlords operate.

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In the mean time, a real estate practitioner Ezeigwe Collins, said it is inappropriate for the landlord to increase rents when they have not made significant improvement on the standard of the house. Mr. Collins stressed that landlord who have not improved in the standard of their property do not have the internal right to start increasing their rent because they want more, stating that before you ask, you should give. He explained that the attitude of landlord increasing their rent without improving the standard of their house is detrimental and hazardous. Mr. Collins opined that the longer a house stays the more the house depreciates when it comes to structure integrity. He advice landlords to always set aside reasonable amount of money for maintenance after collecting rent from their Tenants.

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The real estate practitioner however urged the government to work round the clock to regulate rents in order to protect tenants. He also advised the Rivers State Government to deliberately decentralize the State by spreading it’s offices across the State like having different branches of the State Secretariat, different branches of universities and different branches of main market and also partner with the private sector in solving the housing problems.

By Nzeuzor Jane & Jane Maduadugo.
Port Harcourt.