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Nigeria: Landlords may register tenants under new law

Reps to debate tenant data bill

The Nigerian House of Representatives is to consider a bill which will require all landlords in the country to keep records of their tenants’ personal details for the purposes of security and public information.

The bill is titled, “A Bill for An Act To Provide for Landlords and Tenants Responsibility and For Other Matters Connected Therewith,” and sponsored Emmanuel Jime (PDP, Benue State).

If passed into law, it will mandate landlords or property managers across the country, especially those in urban areas, to keep the names, places of origin, residences and places of work of all their tenants, all of which must be verifiable.

Register your tenants.

Besides, it will compel them to forward a copy of the tenants’ register to an agency it seeks to create, Urban Development Authority (UDA) and another copy to a police station with a jurisdiction covering such property.

It will create a legal duty for tenants to make a declaration or swear to an affidavit to be law-abiding and not engage in any action that will violate the security of lives and properties of neighbours and residents of the community they reside in.

The bill states, “The landlord/property manager shall forward one copy of this tenants’ register to the Urban Development Authority and another copy to the Police Division/Station with jurisdiction covering his/her property or house.

“The landlord/Property Manager shall review this register quarterly or annually to update it to reflect the necessary developments and changes, register such review or update with the record kept in Urban Office and Police Division Station, respectively.

“It shall be the duty of the landlord/property manager to state clearly the number of tenants occupying a single room or flat of his/her property in the tenants registers accordingly.”

The bill further requires that any tenant who acquires premises to reside and has made payment to the owner of the property will, before packing into the premises, make and submit to the concerned police station a declaration of affidavit.

The affidavit shall not only contain his declaration of his willingness to be law-abiding, but also a disclosure that he is not a criminal and will not accommodate criminals to execute, encourage, aid or plan criminal activities within or outside that jurisdiction.

Tenants are also expected to give true information failing which they shall be liable to ejection without quit notice and prosecution by the police. If found guilty by the court, such tenants may be jailed for a minimum of three years or get an option of fine.

Other aspects of the bill.

The bill also seeks to ban tenants from sleeping in commercial premises except they notify the police and the landlord. This, it states, is to check criminal activities in such premises.

It equally seeks a role for traditional rulers and “comptrollers of local government”, in monitoring their environs and keeping a tab on residents.

Mr. Jime, while speaking to journalists yesterday, said the proposed law will help to track crimes and check criminal activities, which, according to him, are on the rise in the country, especially in residential areas.

He expressed optimism that the bill will be passed but said he expects some opposition from his colleagues. According to him, the opposition might eventually lead to the amendment of certain areas which the bill did not take care of.

“That is why we are a parliament. As parliamentarians, we debate bills thoroughly so that after they have been passed, the welfare of the people will be adequately taken care of,” he said.