1.1   Background of the Study

This research was carried out to ascertain the various problems in maintaining a housing property in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State. The research was based on private houses in Ikot Ekpene.

Many people consider housing as an unproductive sector of an economy. Consequently, investment in housing and maintenance are low. As incomes from industrial and commercial building are higher than those of the residential houses, concentration of landlords is on industrial and commercial building while residential building are neglected. Substandard housing result as a reflection of slum situation. It is observed that many landlords have shifted the responsibility of maintaining their properties to the tenants. In Ikot Ekpene, the tenants on the other hand having paid their houses rents, views housing maintenance as the responsibility of the landlords. The landlords who in most instances do not line with the tenants are reluctant to maintain such houses, when this continue overtime, it result to blighted housing condition. If the cheap houses constructed by the land owner for the purpose of collecting rents are not properly maintained, the condition favouring the formation of the slums may develop (Stein, 1974). Thus, poverty is one of the factors responsible for housing maintenance problem, the dwellers, the low income earners are more concerned with how to feed themselves than any other thing. These persons are well to do and aspired for better housing situation. Because every facilities has an estimated useful life and this is true of urban centres like Ikot Ekpene main town and their houses and facilities.

When an area is not well maintained, the structure and the general environment deteriorate (Chapin, 1972). For instance, the roofs of the building may rust, leak and even cave in, the doors and windows may not and the walls get quite dirty and even crack. Sheet may affect that foundation of the building. These lead to slum or poor maintenance of housing which causes a decay in building.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

The main purpose of housing maintenance is essentially to retain its values for investment, aesthetic, safety, durability, with a view to ensuring that the property is continually in good condition  for habitation and to the satisfaction of the owner(s)/user and communal prestige. However, many properties in Ikot Ekpene are often inadequately maintained in that windows and doors and other building elements and facilities frequently show evidence of lack of maintenance and repair.

Many residential buildings have not seen any significance of maintenance or show little signs of maintenance since they were constructed, some dating back to the colonial era. This has resulted in such buildings being in a dilapidated state with some being abandoned. The lack of maintenance by the authorities and occupants of these facilities often leads to reduced lifespan of these buildings (Melvin, 2005), which invariably defeat the purpose for which they are put up. That is to ensure that the nation’s stock of building both as a factor of production and accommodation, was used effectively as possible.

Most of the Low-cost buildings are dilapidated and lack the basic necessities and facilities such as functional toilet due to their state of deterioration. However, new buildings are being put up every now and then without giving a thought to the maintenance of the old structures which have been neglected. Frequently visit to most of the old buildings in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area by this researcher depicts the abhorring situations in some of them with the buildings showing cracks on the walls, rotten wooden members, leaking roofs and broken aluminum sliding windows, faded and discoloured surface coating (painting).

Vital documents in some of these buildings have not been spared due to poor or non maintenance of the building. The dilapidated nature of the residential facility has also left the properties of the occupants at the mercy of the weather. Based on the basis of the research on housing maintenance problems, it is noticeable that the effective maintenance by qualified managers are hindered because of the numerous problems faced in housing maintenance in Ikot Ekpene. Therefore, proper training should be given to the developers of housing who does not understand the work of an agent or estate manager.

1.3   Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of this research is to investigate the problems of housing maintenance in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area.

The objectives of this study are:

(i)     To determine the problems in housing maintenance.

(ii)    To identify the causes of housing maintenance problems.

(iii)    To identify the possible solution of housing maintenance         problems.

1.4   Scope of the Study

The main focus of this research is to identify the problem and solution in maintaining housing in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

1.5   Significance of the Study

By the end of this research, it is hoped to point out the major problems of housing maintenance and possible solution to be employed.

This research work will also serve as a yardstick to most housing owners and dwellers to know the importance of maintaining their house by a specialist who are more skillful in housing maintenance.

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