Who is right? The tenant or the landlord? Let’s find out.
Disputes are inevitable and are bound to occur anywhere and almost everywhere in the world. In Nigeria, where people are ignorant of the law, abuse the rights of the other.
It is good to point out, that it is possible to leave in peace and harmony when there is communication between both parties. However, if that is not the case then we must beseech the book of landlord and tenant rights in Nigeria.
RIGHT TO A WRITTEN AGREEMENT
There are verbal and written agreements. But we all know how bad verbal agreements end. It is not advisable under conditions such as this. Why? So that any offender or non-compliant can be dealt with by the law or written agreement.
Then tenant is expected to read and digest every agreement before penning down a signature.
The tenancy agreement must contain:
- The full names of the tenant and the landlord.
- The location of the house & its complete description.
- The duration of the tenancy.
- The rent payable.
- The expiration date of the tenancy.
- The possibility for future negotiations.
We normally advise tenants to seek the service of a solicitor or lawyer to aid in clearing up any doubts, unclear terms, and possibly, hidden terms.
RIGHT TO ISSUANCE OF RECEIPT OF PAYMENT
Many Nigerians do not collect receipts out of sheer negligence on both sides – the tenant and landlord. The landlord could be penalized if he/she fails to issue a receipt to the tenant for payment received.
The receipt of payment is an acknowledgment from a Landlord or an Agent that a rent payment has been made by a tenant.
The receipt must contain the following:
- The full name of the landlord and the tenant.
- The amount paid and the date as well.
- The duration of the payment.
- The property that payment was made for.
- The signatures of the landlord or managing agent & the receiver.
It is your right as a tenant to be issued a receipt upon payment of rent. Where the payment is only a part of a whole, it should also be receipted and stated.
Always collect your receipts to avoid future disputes. Once an evidence is produced, matters can be resolved immediately.
RIGHT TO PEACEFUL ENJOYMENT OF PROPERTY
The landlord, however, can supervise and maintain the property generally, but with the knowledge of the tenant and within reasonable hours of the day.
After completing the steps mentioned above, the landlord has automatically granted him/her the right to determine who goes, who comes, and decide how he goes about his/her safety. In general, a peaceful right to do as he or she pleases and can sue any trespassers. Even the landlord and managing agent are not immune to this as well. The landlord, however, is permitted to supervise, carry out property maintenance but with the full knowledge of the tenant.
“Section 7 of the law states that tenants are to comply with the tenancy agreement which includes paying their rent on time to avoid problems, they are also expected to behave in the right manner, they are to take consent from the landlord before fixing up any structural damage on any part of the building, subletting and alterations”.
RIGHT TO A VALID QUIT NOTICE
If a landlord decides to serve a quick notice to a tenant, he must do so by the law/written agreement.
What is a Recovery of Premises Law?
Recovery of Premises Law provides that a valid “quit notice” of a landlord’s intention to terminate/quit the tenancy of the tenant must be written and served to the tenant. The amount of time given to the tenant, whether weekly, monthly, yearly, depends on his rent.
This is why we insist that tenants read and understand what was written in the agreement. Friendship or spoken words of tears won’t count when you drag this out to the courtroom.
The only truth there will be your evidence.
Here’s what a genuine quit notice must contain:
- Name of the landlord
- Name of the tenant
- Property occupied by the tenant.
- Duration given to the tenant.
If anything is missing then it doesn’t count as valid.
Below are some of the RIGHTS OF A LANDLORD
RIGHT NOT TO ISSUE A QUIT NOTICE
In Nigeria, evicting tenants can quite the drama. Where both parties exercise rights that exist outside the law and the written agreement.
Landlords have the right to issue and not issue a “quit notice”. Such a case would be where a tenant breaches the terms of the agreement. E.g. destroying property.
Another instance, could be when a tenant has waived his right to a quit notice while signing the tenancy agreement.
Whichever the case is, the landlord is still required by law to issue a Seven Day to Recover Premises.
RIGHT TO RENEW TENANCY
This right gives the landlord authority over is property, though it must be clearly stated from the onset.
The landlord reserves the right to renew or not renew the tenancy. Even with a ‘Tenancy Renewal Clause’ included in the tenancy agreement, the landlord is not mandated to renew the tenancy but provides a leeway for the tenant to ask for a renewal.
Landlord can use this as a means to do away to with troublesome tenants.
RIGHT TO REVIEW RENT
Being the real estate game means landlords aimed for profits and not so much for the title.
A landlord reserves the right to increase is Tenancy rate if he wishes. Though it must be in line with the ‘Rent Review Clause’.
This is only effective after the current tenancy expires.
RIGHT NOT TO REIMBURSE A TENANT
Most times, the tenant feels the landlord owes him after making repairs in the house and this often leads to disagreements. According to the law, the landlord has the right not to reimburse a tenant.
They are only required to reimburse a tenant when the repair is covered in their initial agreement. This is why before signing the Tenancy Agreement both parties should decide who repairs what and what. Remember to stand your ground on your rights when next something stirs up.