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Introduction to the Lagos State Tenancy Law

The Lagos State Tenancy Law was formerly known as Rent control and recovery of residential premises law vol.7 laws of Lagos State 2003. The law clearly defines the relationship between Landlords and tenants in Lagos. Landlord-tenant law governs the rental of property. The basis of the legal relationship between a landlord and tenant is derived from both contract and property law. Some major aspects of the Lagos state Tenancy Law are; Lagos state tenancy law on quit notice, Lagos state tenancy law on the increment of rent and recovery of premises law of Lagos state. These laws affect Lagosians in many ways than one.

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However, most Lagosians are ignorant of this law. This may be because it seems bulky and uninteresting (people don’t like reading about law) to them. So set sail as we briefly analyse what every Lagosian must know about the Lagos state Tenancy Law.

 

Below are the crucial parts of the Lagos Tenancy law;

Section 1 of the law exempts some types of property and properties in some locations. Properties exempted are residential premises, owned or operated by an educational institution for its staff and students, emergency shelter, hospice facility, public or private hospital or mental health facility and properties that provide rehabilitative or therapeutic treatment. Exempted areas are Apapa, Ikeja GRA, Ikoyi and Victoria Island.

Section 3 implies that tenancy agreement has to be deemed where premises are granted by landlord either express or implied, oral or written or partly oral or partly written or for a fixed period. The most important of it all has to do with the section 4 of the law. Section 4 of the new Law makes it unlawful for a Landlord to demand or receive any rent in excess of one year from a sitting yearly tenant, six (6) months from a sitting monthly tenant and one year from a new or a would-be tenant. It is also unlawful for new and sitting tenants to offer to pay rents in excess of one year. The penalty for violating this provision is a fine of One Hundred Thousand Naira or three (3) months imprisonment.

Section 5 the law obliges landlord to issue rent payment to their tenants in respect to such payments indicating the date of payment, names and address of tenant and landlord, description and location of the premise from which the rent was paid, the amount paid and period to which payment relates. Failure to comply would attract a fine of N100 000.00

Section 6 the law gives tenants the right to quiet and peaceable enjoyment of the premises.
The law stated in section 7 obliges tenants to comply with the tenancy agreement which includes rent payment in time and right manner, landlord consent before subletting, alterations and structural damage in any part of the building.

Section 8 of the law obliges landlord to allow tenants to enjoy quiet and peaceful enjoyment of the premises and comply with the tenancy agreement.

Section 9 obliges landlord regarding business premises the tenancy agreement shall be deemed where the landlord fails to maintain the premises in such a manner that would prevent loss of properties, clients, and profits to the tenant.

Section 10 of the law says landlord or his agent shall issue a separate receipt where a service charge is paid and tenant should update every six (6) months on how monies paid were disbursed.

Section 11 of the Lagos Tenancy Law now makes it the responsibility of any party who engages the services of a professional in this instance to settle the fees of that professional.

Section 12 states that where there is a breach of the conditions in respect of the premises, the landlord shall subject to

  •  any provisions to the contrary in the agreement between the parties
  •  the service of process in accordance with the relevant provisions of the law.

Section 13 says where there is no stipulation as to the notice to given by either party to determine the tenancy a reasonable amount of time given tenants to quit depending on the type of duration either weekly, monthly or yearly.

Section 14 of this law states that where a person is a licensee and upon the expiration or withdrawals of his license, he refuses or neglects to give up possessions, he shall be entitled to service of a (7) days notice of the owner’s intention to apply to recover possession as in form TL4 in the Schedule to this law.

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Section 15 says premises will be deemed to be abandoned where the tenancy has expired and the tenant has not given up lawful possession of the premises. The subsection 2 states the landlord shall issue a seven (7) days notice of the landlord’s intention to recover possession as prescribed in Form TL4, which shall be served by posting the notice on the abandoned premises and apply to the court for an order for possession and an order to force open the premises.

Conclusion

The Law does not seek to protect the tenant’s interests alone. It also comes to the aid of the landlord who wishes to evict a statutory tenant i.e. a tenant who, after the expiration of his tenancy, holds over without the consent of the landlord. For such a tenant to be lawfully evicted, the process must be in accordance with the manner and length of term of the original grant from the landlord. Thus where the expired tenancy was a yearly one, he must be served with the requisite six (6) months notice to quit at the expiration of which the landlord would then issue a seven days notice of intention to apply for possession. However, under Section 13 (5) of the new Lagos Tenancy Law, where a tenant’s contract has expired by effluxion of time, and the landlord does not desire a renewal, he may proceed to immediately serve a seven days notice of intention to recover possession; thus eliminating the requirement for a notice to quit.

An additional principle now made irrelevant by this Law that any notice given and due to expire on any other date will be invalid (including a notice to quit). By the provision of Section 13(4) of the Lagos Tenancy Law, however, such notices need no longer terminate on the eve of the anniversary of the term sought to be determined and may now lapse on or after the date of its expiration. Although this change appears marginal, it is nonetheless an attempt to reduce the technicalities associated with the recovery of premises process, which more often than not, tends to stand in the way of substantive issues.
In section 30 a valid agreement to arbitrate shall be upheld and enforceable in the court. The law supports arbitration.

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