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Ile-Ife landlords hike rents following OAU’s accommodation policy

Landlords in Ile-Ife are taking an advantage of the new on-campus accommodation policy at the Obafemi Awolowo University, which bans unauthorised residency in the school’s hostels.

As the policy has forced many students out of the halls of residence on the campus, the landlords in the ancient that hosts the OAU have increased rent, according to our findings.

Our findings revealed that renting a one-room apartment in areas such as Omole and Aserifa, considered popular for choices for OAU students living off-campus, now costs an N120,000. Other places, namely Lagere and Modakeke now go for N60 thousand, N70 thousand and N80 thousand.

“Before now, that could be used for a two-bedroom flat,” said a Law student, Sodeeq. “They (landlord) take advantage. They do annoyingly.”

This could mean hardship for students who are from low-income households, without a licence to live on campus. As a matter of policy, OAU prioritises first -year and final-year students in awarding on-campus accommodation licences. Most students not in the categories would have to rely on balloting, position as a Students’ Union officer or influence of staff to have a legitimate right to live on campus.

Yet, by the de facto practice until the last session, many students without any form of authority to live on campus, could still squat in the halls of residence, especially the popular Obafemi Awolowo Hall. But the new accommodation policy aiming at decongesting the halls has banned squatting, thereby dramatically raising the number of students who now have to stay off-campus.

Responding to the development, landlords have, then, increased rents and imposed tough conditions on their clients – students.

“It is appalling for me to receive a call from my landlord telling me that he increased the house rent from N10,000 monthly to N20,000 and I have to pay advances for six months if I want to retain my rent,” said a student of History, Tunde Okeowo.

“I called others and they told me the same thing. Upon resumption for the new session, he forced me and a co-tenants to vacate the house following our refusal to pay the unjustifiable and exploitative increased amount.”

Another student of the College of Health Sciences, Tumininu Fatoki told our correspondent that students could no longer cope with the hike.

“I stay in Asherifa and the situation in that axis is too tense and becoming unbearable,” said Miss Fatoki. “A room self-contain of N75,000 yearly has now increased to N150,000 without explanation. All efforts to persuade my landlord to reduce the rent failed.”

“The most painful thing is that he does not maintain the house and it lacks decent toilet facility. Moving to a new house would cost more so I have to look for a friend so that we share the money. We hope Osun State government come up with a law to regulate house rent.”

While reacting to this development, a landlord at Modakeke, Taiwo Faromaye, argued that there is no law stipulating the amount of rent to charge. He said market forces led to the hike and bringing the prices down would result from competition, that is an availability of many more houses in the town.

Mr Faromoye said: “There is no regulation stipulating amount to charge. The only means to solve the rent menace is the availability of more houses because the population of students off campus is growing day by day. When there are more houses, there will be competition which would bring the house rent down.”

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