Nigeria’s renters may no longer have to pay a year in advance

Finding a decent place to live can be a daunting task anywhere, but finding 12 months’ rent in advance is an additional burden faced by millions of Nigerians.

Landlords prefer large upfront payments as it reduces the chances of tenants defaulting. It is better to chase a tenant once rather than 12 times a year, goes the thinking.

But this system might be about to change.

Lawmakers are debating a law to make yearly upfront rents illegal in the capital, Abuja, while authorities in the biggest city, Lagos, are opting for a voluntary scheme beginning next month.

The Lagos state government is hoping that by acting as a guarantor in a new payments system, landlords will be encouraged to switch to accepting monthly rents.

Many residents, especially young people setting out to start a family, like the idea of monthly rents.

Tunde Omotayo, who is getting married in April, is faced with raising 600,000 to 800,000 naira ($1,500-$2,000; £1,000-£1,400) for a “decent apartment” in mainland Lagos as he plans to move out of his friend’s house after his wedding.

For someone on a monthly salary of 300,000 naira that is extremely difficult.

If he is enrolled in the new system he would only have to pay about 50,000 nairas a month, which he reckons would make his life much easier with a wedding just around the corner.

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