REAL ESTATE ADVICE

How Landlords Raise Funds from Gullible Tenants

Mama is dead and the next thing on the mind of the landlord is how to raise money to organise a befitting burial for his mother. He ponders on his sources of income to discover which of them can get him the needed funds in the fastest way. So, he remembers he has tenants who have stayed long in his apartment and then, decides on his next move.

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He knows he cannot give out a quit notice right away because according to the Lagos State Tenancy Law (2011), Quit Notice should be given one month ahead for a monthly tenant; three months notice for a quarterly tenant; three months for a half-yearly tenant; and six months for a yearly tenant. So, he is left with the option of demanding rent in excess of one year from his yearly tenant.

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Mr. Chuks, his tenant, is battling with paying the school fees of his three children while dealing with other issues which are more pressing. Then, he gets the request from his landlord two weeks before the expiry date of his yearly rent. He is left helpless and at the mercy of his landlord not knowing there is a state law that covers him. Instead of challenging the request in court, he allows the issue get to him, leaving him with high blood pressure on the hospital bed. Then, matters become worse.

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The foregoing is no different from the realities in a city like Lagos. However, what is of utmost concern is that such situation can be avoided given the provision of Section 4 of the Lagos State Tenancy Law (2011) which says:

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“It shall be unlawful for a landlord or his agent to demand or receive from a sitting tenant rent in excess of six (6) months from a monthly tenant, and one year from a yearly tenant in respect of any premises. It shall be unlawful for a sitting tenant to offer or pay rent in excess of one (1) year for a yearly tenant and six (6) months for a monthly tenant in respect of any premises. Any person who receives or pays rent in excess of what is prescribed in this Section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction, to a fine of One Hundred Thousand Naira (N100,000.00) or to three (3) months imprisonment.”

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Interestingly, a tenant would also be guilty of this charge when he/she makes payment of such excess rent. The more reason the law should be enforced in such situations.

However, since the passage of the law, there has been no effort made by the government to enforce its provisions or even monitor landlords and tenants to observe compliance. This makes it hard for the tenants living in Lagos. Yet, something can be done.

A simple way out is for government to set up a task force or committee to monitor and ensure compliance. Above all, the government must endeavour to invest more in a mass housing scheme and use its own houses as models for the private sector to follow.

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So, If you’re a tenant, you don’t have to be the one to bear the burden of Mr Landlord’s burial expenses having become aware of the provisions of the law. Seek redress as fast as possible!

Also, once you’ve enjoyed covering from the law, you can expect Oga Landlord to make another move next year. So, do not hesitate to find a more suitable apartment with a more understanding landlord. And that’s the reason ToLet.com.ng has come to stay. We provide the best house search experience online!

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