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COVID-19 lockdown: Lagos landlords battle tenants over inability to pay house rents, eject defaulters

Many tenants in Lagos State have expressed the agonies they suffer from their landlords/landladies for their inability to settle their rents as and when due.
It was gathered that failure to pay rents by the tenants has been causing faceoff between house owners who depend on the rents for their survival and their tenants who find it difficult to settle their rents due to the effects of the lockdown.
Some of the affected tenants, who spoke, complained that they were unable to pay their rents as their businesses and jobs were greatly affected by the Covid-19 lockdown.
A tenant at Brown Street Oshodi, a food vendor, who does not want her name mentioned, said her landlord sold the building to another person without informing the tenants and the new landlord gave them till September to pack out of the house.
Their agony, according to her, is how to raise money to secure new accommodation at this critical time of coronavirus when the economy is bad even though the landlord has waived their unpaid rents.
Another tenant, Shina Popoola, a private school teacher living at Dalemo, Alagbo area of Lagos State said he is being threatened to pack out by his landlady for owing four months’ rent.
Popoola said all his explanation to his landlady that he has not received any salary since the schools were locked down fell into her deaf hears as she insisted that he should pack out of the one-room apartment.
He complained that many are facing financial challenges as coronavirus has a huge impact on their incomes but many landlords and landladies do not feel concerned.
Meanwhile, in his encounter with the landlords and landladies, our correspondent gathered that while some house owners were lenient with their tenants, others insisted on no-payment-no-living policy.
The landlady of 20, Aduke Thomas Street, Egbe, Mrs. Alarape Jimoh, said she understood the economic situation and has agreed to bear with her tenants.
She confirmed that some of her tenants whose rents have expired were finding it difficult to renew the rents because they have not been going to their places of work constantly, promising to leave them till they are able to gather the rents.
She said: “Some of my tenants’ house rents have expired while some will soon expire in a few months. They have begged me to give them some times to raise the money since many of them have not been working constantly like before and I have agreed to give them time because I know that things have not been easy for many people since the coronavirus crisis break out.”
She explained that the rent for a room apartment in her building varies from N2,500, N3,000, N5,000 per month amounting to the total sum of N30,000, N36,000 and N60,000 respectively per annum, noting that some tenants are owing for more than a year while some others are owing lesser.
However, a landlady at 2, Femi Akinshola, Charity Oshodi, Mrs. Iyabo Adebayo insisted that her debtor tenants must pack out of the house, claiming that she could no longer condole the inconveniences.
“Some of them owe a year plus even before the Ovid-19 pandemic. The one owing N54,000 for a whole year paid for six months (N27,000) in May and will expire this June 2020. Another one who is to pay N40,000 per year only gave me N16,000 to be expired the same June and they are owing electricity bills too. I want them to use the remaining six months from July to December to pack out, I am tired of their problems,” she said.
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