What to Know about the Lagos Tenancy Law
Lagos State’s new monthly tenancy policy for property occupancy started in February 2022, according to information released by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu sometime in December 2021.
In addition to other anticipated benefits, the Governor claims that the policy is meant to lessen the burden of annual rent on renters and allow them to pay their rent following their monthly incomes. The following are examined in this article: Regulations governing tenancy in Lagos State; The Tenancy Law of Lagos State, 2011, a tenant’s rights and duties, and the determination of a tenancy.
The Lagos Tenancy Law 2011
The Tenancy Legislation of Lagos State, 2011, formerly known as the Rent Control and Recovery of Residential Premises, is the law that governs tenancy issues in Lagos State.
Except for residential properties owned or run by educational institutions; emergency shelters housed in residential spaces; residences in a care institution or hospital, whether public or private or mental health centre; and premises made available as part of offering therapeutic or rehabilitation therapy.
Additionally, the Lagos State communities of Ikoyi, Apapa, Victoria Island, and Ikeja GRA are exempt from the Lagos Tenancy Law 2011. The law makes no mention of the local laws that are in force in the exempted areas. It is agreed that the exempted areas are regulated by Federal laws.
Tenants’ duties under the tenancy Law of Lagos
The Lagos law provides for certain obligations to be performed by tenants to their landlords. Some of these obligations are stated below:
1. Landlord’s right of inspection
After giving written notice, a tenant must allow the landlord and his agents access to the property at all reasonable times during the day to inspect the state of the property and make any required repairs. This right of the Landlord is provided for in Section 7(4) of the Lagos Tenancy Law 2011.
This right given to the Landlord must be practised with care not to affect the Tenant’s right to privacy.
2. Subletting property
the tenant is not authorized to sublet the property without the consent of the property owner. A sublet of the leased property without the landlord’s consent vitiates the original lease between the landlord and the tenant and can have the tenant evicted from the property.
Sublet occurs when a person unknown to the landlord or the property owner resides in the property without the original tenant residing in it. In practice, landlord’s in Lagos ask for the number and sometimes information of the co-tenants, if any.
3. Rent Payment
Section 7(1) of the Lagos Tenancy Law provides that rent payments by the tenant are required to be made according to the terms of their lease agreed by the parties and at reasonable intervals.
The cost of using and occupying a rented property is called the rent.
4. Rates and fees
All future fees and expenses that aren’t the landlord’s responsibility must be paid by the tenant. These fees cover things like service fees, water and power bills, electricity waste bills and others.
5. Keep the property properly
Except for normal wear and tear, the renter is responsible for keeping the rented property in excellent condition.
Usually, the tenant maintains the interior of the property and any damage to be fixed in the interior is borne by the tenant. Nonetheless, damages to the exterior of the property are repaired by the landlord.
6. Making changes to the property
Without the landlord’s prior written agreement, which must be acquired either verbally or in writing, a tenant is prohibited by law from making any modifications or improvements to the property.
Tenant’s rights under the Lagos Tenancy Law 2011
Tenants have varying rights under the Tenancy Law of Lagos 2011, these rights are aimed to provide a civil atmosphere in the lease market of Lagos. Some of the rights are below:
1. Right to contest an excessive increase in the rent
A current tenant has the legal authority to get a court order stating that an increase in rent due under a tenancy agreement is unjustified by using the form TL 11.
However, this is governed by the explicit clause in the parties’ signed tenancy agreement.
2. Right to Peaceful use of the Property
According to the law, a tenant has the right to occupy the rented space without interruption or pointless intervention.
Under the landlord’s limited right of inspection, this right also encompasses the right to privacy, the right to be free from undue disruption, and the right to the exclusive ownership of the property as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.
3. Right to demand a refund on repairs made to the property
The law offers reimbursement to a tenant who spent money making renovations or reorganizing the leased space.
However, such an upgrade should only be made with the landlord’s prior written approval.
4. Right to obtain a receipt for the leased property
A tenant has the legal right to request a receipt of payment after paying rent. An N100,000 fine is levied on a landlord who neglects to provide a receipt for rent payments.
How to determine tenancy under the Lagos Tenancy Law
The tenor of a tenant is dependent on the agreement of the parties, the same as is the process for determining the tenancy. Nonetheless, if the agreement is silent as to the process of determining the tenancy, section 13 of the Lagos Tenancy Law comes to the rescue.
Section 13 of the Lagos Tenancy Law 2011 provides that in the absence of a previous agreement, a monthly tenancy shall be determined with a month’s notice; a 6 months tenancy shall be determined with a 3 months notice and a yearly tenancy shall be determined by 6 months notice. After the notice is given and has been exhausted, the landlord shall serve the tenant a 7 days notice to recover the premises before approaching the court for an eviction order.
The Lagos tenancy law is pivotal to the overall civility in the rental market of Africa’s largest city. The procedure under the Tenancy Law for the eviction of a tenant must be followed strictly, otherwise, the courts may insist that the landlord start the process of eviction afresh by issuing a notice to quit.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
You can withhold rent pending when the damage is fixed. To do this, you would send a letter to the landlord stating the problem and a copy of your bank statement or a copy of a cheque showing that the rent is available when the issue is fixed. If the landlord refuses you can put the landlord on notice, fix the issue and deduct the money from the rent.
Approach the courts for redress claiming damages for a breach of the right to peaceful possession, even if you owed rent.
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