Barely few months ago when the Lagos State Governor , Babatunde Fashola (SAN) signed into law the Tenancy bill which many Lagosians applauded the proactive moves of curbing the persistent high cost of accommodation in the state. This tenancy law has not make any momentous difference rather impecunious Lagosians which house owners have failed to adhere to the law and suddenly increase the cost of securing accommodation by ruthless house owners while the State government failed to monitor the commendable exercise. To the extent that Lagos landlords have increased their house rents from 50 percent to 95 percent without abiding to the laws of the State.
The ever-increasing population of Lagos State has prompted house owners to see their houses as hot cakes to the extent that some of these houses are antediluvian and ramshackle. The population of Lagos state is estimated to 18 million people while 20 percent of new comers come into the State on daily basis. Accommodation is one of the challenging factors in the state which40 percent of the population resides in the state without comfortable places to lay their heads on. Most of these lawmakers in the corridors of power have awfully failed to know that Lagos State is the highest commercial city in Africa and Nigeria. The Tenancy law is not respected by house owners rather compelling house seekers and searchers to consult Fashola to give them houses to stay. In Ajegunle, for instance, house owners have devised means to increase their houses which one-room apartment goes for #150,000, plus Agreement and commission, one- room self-contained goes for #320,000 plus AC, two-room self contained goes for#450,.000 plus AC, two- bedroom flat goes for #600,000 plus AC and three-bedroom flat goes for #720,000 plus AC.. Ajegunle is densely populated with compacted houses, while 50 percent of houses are not maintained by landlords. Even house owners now take both agreement and commission and make agents useless and restless in their professions.
It is sad that Lagos State government has failed to monitor this tenancy law which many tenants are now prey to these greedy and voracious landlords. None of these Landlords in Lagos State collect one-year rent anymore rather demand for two to three years rent in favor of them. Some go as far to contact their half-baked lawyers to write notice of quit to tenants that failed to comply with their exorbitant house rents.
Residing in Lagos is the beginning of many people relocating to other States for greener pastures. Lagos non house owners are living in flagrant fears of unnecessary house rents in the state. The high rate of illegal and unregistered house agents is disquieting to the core. No area in Lagos state is local again because desperate landlords and house agents have made the place uncomfortable for poor Lagosians. Lagos State must review the tenancy law together with the Lagos State House of Assembly to affect it than making it a mockery of all sorts. Even the officials appointed to monitor the scheme only succeeded in arresting offenders and free them with undisclosed amount of money while non house owners are living in pains of poverty.
Since 2007 when Lagos state governor Babatunde Fashola was sworn into power, over 50 percent laws have been made, only few are compiled by Lagosians. Some of these Lagos State officials have used this means to extort money from innocent Lagosians and dubiously enriched themselves without qualms. The tenancy law needs urgent attention because Lagosians are living in fears of fraught house owners. Some schools of thought assume that some of these lawmakers are housing owners in the state makes the law not ineffective at the moment.
The newly Lagos State New Traffic Laws which was signed into law by governor Babatunde Fashola initiated by the Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaiye was a good stand to excessive nuisances and touts from our roads. The high rate of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state is nothing to write home about. Lagos State laws are always effective for only two weeks while the rest is history. Banning motorcyclists popularly known as Okada riders from our high ways is not new, though the prevailing robbery cases prompted Lagos State to stop Okada riders from plying high ways and others. The problem is that would Lagosians comply with these laws? Though many Laws have helped Lagos State to be sought after while sanity has gradually returned to the commercial city. If LASTMAS, LASAA, LASEPA, KAI and others can be effective while the tenancy law is yet to be obeyed by house owners. It is good these laws are revisited especially the tenancy law. 40 percent of Lagosians are living on bridges, uncompleted houses, locked-shops, and squatting with friends and relatives. Even to the extent that a box quarters goes for #160,000 while most landlords are smiling to banks while some sell off their houses for quick profits with ridiculous ejection of tenants from their houses. The cost of acquiring land in the state is appreciating beyond the means of the poor.
Now Lagos State government wants to ban people from smoking in public places together with those that are selling local gins in unquestionable spots. This is a good move in the right direction, but people will still violate the laws. Most of these laws favored police and other security agencies in the state. Even when LASG introduced the use of helmets by okada riders, how many of these okada riders obey those laws? Most of these laws are being violated with disdain. It is not about making these laws but ability for Lagosians to comply it. At least two- third of Lagos residents has the new traffic laws which are mainly sold on our high ways bystreet hawkers.
Therefore, Lagos State government needs to review the tenancy law to ameliorate the sufferings of Lagosians whose hopes have been dashed to the thin air. Lagosians are respecter of laws but the ability for LASG to make the laws effective is the major challenge. The reality of these many laws is to the state a sanity one. Every house owners that demand for two to three house rents should be sentenced to prison while agent operators should be checkmated to know the genuine ones in the state. It is only Lagos state where agent operators collect money while other states use the services of lawyers and nothing more.
BY GODDAY ODIDI, PUBLIC AFFAIRS ANALYST,08063458693,08058124798,@20 ORO STREET AJEGUNLE APAPA LAGOS