By merely looking at Victoria John’s long face, it took me no time to observe the concern and frustration written all over her face.
Her worry is clear: she could not secure a two-bedroom flat around Sabon Gari in Fagge Local Government due to her inability to pay the N100,000 agent fee. Now, she is scatting with her friend.
“I got a 2-bedroom apartment but I could not secure it because the agent is demanding N100,000 as an agent fee. For over a year now I have been staying with my friend.”
After renting a one-bedroom flat for N200,000 in the Kawo area in Nasarawa Local Government, another resident, Mary John, was charged an extra N50,000 as an agent fee.
“After securing the house for N200,000, I paid N50,000 for agent fee, apart from the transportation, before getting the house".
Apart from the agent, agreement, and caution fees, renting a new apartment is a huge financial burden in Kano as a two-bedroom flat ranges from N400,000 to N1.8m, depending on the location.
Gift Iliya is a resident of the Jaba area, situated in Ungogo Local Government. Her landlord just increased the rent of her one-bedroom flat apartment from N300,000 to N450,000 without prior notice.
“Omo, my rent of 300,000 just rose to N450,000 without any notice from the landlord. How are we supposed to cope with the current hardship?” she asked.
No doubt, that the high cost of house rent and other associated charges are becoming worrisome for Kano residents and those coming into the city.
Complicating the situation is the number of third-party agents exploiting the house seekers through the imposition of exorbitant ‘agent and agreement’ charges, sometimes amounting to N100,000.
However, the lack of governing regulations has made it easy for them to operate with impunity, hence victimizing innocent tenants.
According to the Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, the established standard set out for the agency fees for tenancy agreements is ten percent of the tenancy rate.
For instance, if the property is going for N300,000 per year, the agency fee will be ten percent of N300,000 which amounts to N30,000.
However, in terms of sales of property, the charge is usually five percent of the total price paid for the property. But most of those who engage in agency practices in the state don’t observe the standard.
Reacting, one of the agents, Dahe Umar Yakasai says the agency fee is the reward for their services. He adds that their fees range from “N10,000 to N100,000” depending on the location of the properties.
The chairman of the Nigeria Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) in Kano, Abdullateef Abdullazeez, laments over the high charges and expresses concerns over the lack of regulations governing body in the state.
Abdullazeez however stresses that “Their institute usually withdraws licenses of its members found wanting, but they have no control over quacks who have taken over the business”.
Again, the current situation has exposed the activities of quacks agents in the estate business, hence the need to present a regulatory bill before the State House of Assembly to safeguard the industry.
But before then, tenants are expected to patronize genuine agents.