The Process for Evicting a Tenant in Lagos Nigeria
This article discusses the process which must be followed to lawfully evict a tenant in Lagos under the Lagos Tenancy Law 2011. The Law is not applicable in Apapa, Ikeja GRA, Ikoyi, and Victoria Island. Therefore, your property is in any of those locations, this article does not apply to you.
When Can you evict a Tenant?
There’s common misconception that you can only evict a tenant when they refuse to pay rent. Yes, non-payment of rent is the biggest reason for eviction, however, it is not the only one.
Under the Lagos Tenancy Law 2011, a landlord can start the eviction process when any of the below occurs:
- The tenant is in arrears of rent;
- The tenant is in breach of any covenant or agreement as contained in the Tenancy Agreement;
- where the premises is required by the landlord for personal use;
- the premises is being used for immoral or illegal purposes;
- the premises has been abandoned;
- the premises is unsafe and unsound as to constitute a danger to human life or property;
- the tenant constitutes by conduct, an act of intolerable nuisance or induces a breach of a tenancy agreement.
The Eviction Process
The first step is to determine whether the tenant is in arrears. If the tenant is in arrears then under the Lagos Tenancy Law 2011, under certain tenancy tenures, the landlord can apply to the court for an order for possession of the property, and can also ask the court to order the tenant to pay arrears of rent owed. All the landlord needs to do is provide proof of the arrears.
If the tenant is not in arrears, the next step in evicting a tenant in Lagos is that the tenant must be given a notice to quit. The notice to quit is the notice period which a tenant must be given before the landlord can commence the process to evict the tenant. Interestingly, the Lagos Tenancy Law provides that where there is a stipulation as to the notice period in the Tenancy Agreement, then the parties will be bound by that notice period. So, if you are a tenant reading this, you need to read your Tenancy Agreement again and find out what the notice period is. If there is no notice period, then the Lagos Tenancy Law provides for the following minimum notice periods:
- 1 week’s notice for a tenant at will;
- 1 months’ notice for a monthly tenant;
- 3 months’ notice for a quarterly tenant;
- 3 months’ notice for a half-yearly tenant; and
- 6 months’ notice for a yearly tenant
In the case of a tenancy for a fixed term, no notice to quit shall be required once the tenancy has expired, in other words if it is a 1 year tenancy, the landlord does not need to serve a notice to quit if the 1 year tenancy is finished. The landlord can just move to step 3 below.
Once the notice to quit has expired (or where the landlord does not need a notice to quit), then the next step is to serve a 7-day written notice on the tenant of the landlord’s intention to proceed to court to recover possession. There is a special court form for this notice.
Once the notice has expired, and if the tenant refuses to voluntarily leave the premises, then the landlord can (within 7 days of the expiry of the notice to recover possession) commence a case in court for recovery of possession.
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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.