Getting your desired apartment isn’t an easy task for one to achieve especially here in Nigeria without its own issues.
Likewise, establishing a property for the sole purpose of renting to occupants for a certain period.
However, once you have what you want, it’s very important you know your right according to Nigeria’s law guiding one in owning or renting a property.
In Nigeria, laws guiding both the Landlord and tenant to a property and one must know that right to avoid certain problems associated with renting or owning a property in Nigeria.
You need to be sure that your rights as a tenant or landlord are protected. And how can that be possible? By knowing your “RIGHTS” and refuse to be ignorant of the law.
That peace and harmony you desire as either a tenant or landlord can be achieved and good communication established between both parties. Let’s find out what the law is about.
The Rights to A PropertyA high percentage of house seekers hardly want to live in the same apartment where the owner lives too.
This is due to many unpleasant stories they may have come across from their friend, family, or even on the internet.
Just like a story online of how a landlord ejected his tenant without prior notice to them. This can only happen when you’re ignorant of your right as a tenant.
Besides, it’s not only the tenants that are ignorant but the landlords too, having a tenant occupy your property for 4 years without any payment is an act of ignorant. Except you run a charity home.
Nigeria established laws on property rights and protection.
This law provides privileges for both parties and also states the rights, powers, duties, privileges, and even provide the solution to both tenants and landlords.
Let’s check out some of the rights available to Tenants as provided by the Tenancy Law in Nigeria.
Right To A Well Written Tenancy Agreement:
This law guides the right to every occupant of a property; it doesn’t mind the type of property or where the property is located.
It’s highly advisable that every occupant of a property must be provided with a well-written agreement not just a verbal agreement.
This is to avoid any argument or dispute which can easily result from an oral agreement.
When I said “well written” agreement, it simply means that the tenancy agreement should contain in details;
•The full names of the property owner or Landlord
•The full names of the prospective tenant• The house description of the apartment to be rented; that’s the location and its basic features
•The payment information such as the amount for the apartment, the next renewal of payment (that’s the expiration date of the tenancy), the account to make payment and the duration of the rent.
•Also, the probability for future negotiations.
Then, you’re expected to read thoroughly before signing the agreement and if in doubt with anything written on it, make sure it’s well sorted out before concluding.
If possible, seek the service of a solicitor or Lawyer to ensure proper understanding and agreement on the terms in the tenancy agreement.
2. Right To Receipt Of Payment:
Once you have made payment for rent, you’ve every right to be issued the receipt of payment by the landlord or representative.
This serves as an acknowledgment by the landlord/representative that the rent payment has been received.
Meanwhile, the receipt must contain the following;
•The full name of the Landlord
•The full name of the tenant
•The amount paid
•The date of the payment
•The supposed property for the payment
•The duration the payment covers
•The signature of the receiver
It’s highly recommended that you receive a receipt for payment of your rented property no matter the relationship status you’ve with the Landlord.
Failure to issue a receipt of payment results in an offence that is punishable by law.
3. Right To Valid Quit Notice:
If a Landlord doesn’t need a certain tenant to occupy his or her property anymore, then the landlord must follow the due process to vacate the tenant from the apartment.
This is done by issuing a valid quit notice to the tenant and it must contain the following details;
•The full name of the landlord
•The full name of the tenant
•The address of the property occupied by the tenant.
•Also, the duration.This information must be available on the quit notice for it to be as a valid one.
4. The Right To Harmonious Relationships:
Immediately a tenant completes his or her own part of the agreement and makes payment for the property, then it is the landlord’s duty to grant the tenant his/her expected right to enjoy the property in harmony.
Once this is achieved, the tenant can choose the preferred entrance, position, usage and can sue for trespass against anyone not allowing him to enjoy his peace.
However, this doesn’t prevent the landlord from supervising and maintaining the property as time progresses but must be done with the knowledge of the tenant and at their agreed time and day.
5. Right To A Compulsory Seven Days Notice To Recover Possession:
All tenants have the right to a 7 days notice to recover their possessions apart from the quit notice.
This notice comes after the valid quit notice expires, it’s the critical section of the eviction procedure.
The Rights Of A Property Owners/LandlordLandlords also have Rights provided by the Nigeria Law for property protection.
1.The Right To Renew Tenancy:This is the right given to landlords over their property.
The landlord mustn’t renew a tenant’s rent especially with “not so good” tenants. The Landlord has the right to renew or do away with any tenant he’s not comfortable renting his property to.
2. Right Not To Issue Quit Notice:The Landlord has the right not to issue quit notice to the tenants because most Nigerians end up flouting court orders to vacate a premise after the quit notice elapses.
Therefore, the Landlord has both the right to issue or not to issue quit notice most especially when has waived his right to quit notice during the tenancy agreement undertaking.
Thus, that’s why one must study the tenancy agreement very well. During this period, the Landlord can issue a 7 days notice to recover possession.
3. Right To Review Rent:Landlords have the right to review the rent to their property and it must be in line with the “Rent Review Clause”.
However, this must not affect the tenant during an existing tenancy rather for a new tenancy.
4. Right To Compensation From Compulsory Acquisition:By the virtue of the “Land Use Act” the government has the right to mandatory acquire property for public purposes and infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the landlord has the right to be compensated by the government for such acquisition once the genuine ownership has been confirmed.
By Dennis Isong