22 Feb 10 Things Lagosians should know about the Lagos Tenancy Law
The Lagos Tenancy Law 2011
The Lagos Tenancy Law 2011 does not apply to residential premises owned or operated by an educational institution for its staff and students; this would include boarding houses, hostels, university staff quarters etc.
The Lagos Tenancy Law 2011 does not apply to residential premises provided for emergency shelter; in a care or hospice facility; in a public or private hospital or a mental health facility: and those made available in the course of providing rehabilitative or therapeutic treatment.
The Lagos Tenancy Law 2011 does not apply to premises in Apapa, Ikeja GRA, Ikoyi, and Victoria Island.
The Lagos Tenancy Law 2011 states that if you are a sitting tenant at a property, it is illegal for a landlord or his agent to demand or receive for rent in excess of 6 months for a monthly tenant, or 1 year from a yearly tenant. It is also unlawful for the sitting tenant to offer or pay rent in excess of 1 year for a yearly tenant and 6 months for a monthly tenant. The penalty for both landlord and tenant involved in such an arrangement is a fine of N100,000 or to 3 months imprisonment.
The Lagos Tenancy Law 2011 provides that it is unlawful for a landlord or his agent to demand or receive from a new or prospective tenant, rent in excess of 1 year in respect of any premises; it is also unlawful for the new or prospective tenant to offer or pay rent in excess of 1 year. The penalty for both landlord and tenant involved in such an arrangement is a fine of N100,000 or to 3 months imprisonment.
As a tenant of a property, if you get your landlord’s consent in writing to make some improvements on the premises, and the landlord ends the tenancy. You are entitled to claim compensation/reimbursement for the improvements that you made, when you are quitting the premises.
Your landlord cannot under any circumstances seize any item or property of yours as a tenant or interfere with your access to your personal property.
If you live in a property that includes payments for a service charge, as a tenant, the landlord or his agent is to issue you with a separate receipt; and you are entitled to a written account at least every 6 months from the Landlord of how monies that you paid were disbursed.
Where your tenancy agreement does not stipulate your notice period, the Lagos Tenancy Law 2011 provides that the notice period to be applied is thus:
- 1 week’s notice for a tenant at will;
- 1 month’s notice for a monthly tenant;
- 3 months notice for a quarterly tenant and a half-yearly tenant; and
- 6 months notice for a yearly tenant
If your landlord, in trying to eject you as a tenant from the property, demolishes or alters the building without court approval; or threatens or molests you, or attempts to remove you by force from the property, the landlord is committing an offence and is guilty if convicted to a fine of N250,000 or a maximum of 6 months imprisonment.
If you would like to know more about the law, you can access a copy of the Law here – Tenancy Law 2011.
As a tenant, you are entitled to request from your landlord that you have a written tenancy agreement. A tenancy agreement is an important document because it basically outlines the terms of your tenancy in the property, in fact one could argue that this is the most important right of every tenant. Landlords can refuse to issue a tenancy agreement, but if your landlord does not give you one, then you should be very wary. In tenancy agreements of over 3 years, it is mandatory that the agreement be in writing.
Unfortunately, even when the landlord issues a tenancy agreement, most tenants just sign the documents without reviewing it properly. Ideally this agreement should be reviewed by a legal expert.
We hope you have found this information helpful. Please note that this information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. No lawyer-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. It is not intended to substitute for the advice of a qualified lawyer. If you require legal advice, please consult with a qualified lawyer.