What The New Lagos Tenancy Law Says

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Aug 11, 2011 8 Comments ›› ACN (ji)

The new Lagos State Tenancy law has been generating a lot of debate since it was enacted by the Lagos State House of Assembly last Friday from today, we begin the serialisation of the entire law:

For a law to regulate rights and obligations under tenancy agreements and the relationship between the Landlord and the tenant including the procedure for the recovery of premises and for other connected purposes in Lagos State

The Lagos State Hosue of Assembly enacts as follows:

General Application

1. Application of Law

2. (1) This Law shall apply to all premises within Lagos State, including business and residential premises unless otherwise specified

(2) This Law shall not apply to :

(a) residential premises owned or operated by an educational institution for its staff and students;

(b) residential premises provided for emergency shelter;

(c ) Residential premises

(i) in a care or hospice facility;

(ii) in a public or private hospital or a mental health facility; and

(d) that is made available in the course of providing rehabilitative or therapeutic treatment.

2. Jurisdiction of the Courts

(1) A Court shall have jurisdiction on application made to it by a landlord or tenant or any interested person to determine matters in respect of the tenancy of any premises let before or after the commencement of this Law.

(2) The jurisdiction of a Court shall not be ousted by the defendant or respondent setting up the title of any other party.

(3) Proceedings may be brought under this Law at the High Court or at the Magistrates’ Court in the division or the Magisterial District in which the subject matter giving rise to the proceedings is located.

(4) Subject to the provision of this Law, a Court shall be bound by the practice and procedure in civil matters in the Magistrates’ Court or the High Court of Lagos State.

3. Tenancy Agreement

For the purposes of this Law, a tenancy agreement shall be deemed to exist where premises are granted by the landlord to a person for value whether or not it is

(a) express or implied;

(b) oral or in writing or partly oral or partly written; or

(c) for a fixed period.

4. Advance Rent

(1) It shall be unlawful for a landlord or his agent to demand or receive from a sitting tenant rent in excess of three (3) months in respect of any premises.

(2) It shall be unlawful for a sitting tenant to offer or pay rent in excess of three (3) months in respect of any premises.

(3) Any person who receives or pay rent in excess of what is prescribed in this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to a fine of one hundred thousand naira (N100,000.00) or to three (3) months imprisonment or any other non-custodial disposition.

5. Rent payment receipt

(1) As from the commencement of this Law, all landlords of premises shall upon payment of rent by the tenants, be obliged to issue a rent payment receipt to their tenants in respect of such payments.

(2) The receipt shall state the

(a) Date of which rent was received;

(b) Name of the landlord and the tenant;

(c) Location of premises in respect of which the rent is paid

(d) Amount of rent paid; and

(e) Period to which the payment relates.

(4) Any landlord who fails to issue a rent payment receipt to his tenant as prescribed under this Section, shall be liable to a fine of ten thousand Naira (N10,000.00) payable to the Court.

RIGHTS AND OBLICATIONS OF LANDLORD AND TENANT

6. Rights of the parties

(1) The tenant’s entitlement to quiet and peaceable enjoyment includes the right to:

(a) reasonable privacy;

(b) freedom from unreasonable disturbance;

(c) Exclusive possession of the premises, subject to the landlord’s restricted right of inspection and

(d) the use of common areas for reasonable and lawful purposes.

(2) Where a tenant with the previous consent in writing of the landlord, effects improvements on the premises and the landlord determines the tenancy, such a tenancy shall be entitled to claim compensation for the effect improvements on quitting the premises.

6. Obligations of the Tenant

Subject to any provision to the contrary in the agreement between the parties, the tenant shall be obliged to do the following:

(1) Pay the rents at the times and in the manner stated.

(2) Pay all existing and future rates and charges not applicable to the landlord by law.

(3) Keep the premises in good and tenantable repair, reasonable wear and tear excepted.

(4) Permit the landlord and his agents during the tenancy at all reasonable hours in the day time by written notice, to view the condition of the premises and to effect repairs in necessary parts of the building.

(5) Not to make any alterations or additions to the premises without the written consent of the landlord.

(6) Not to assign or sublet any part of the premises without the written consent of the landlord.

(7) Notify the landlord where structural or substantial damage has occurred to any part of the premises as soon as practicable.

7. Obligations of the Landlord

8. Subject to any provision to the contrary in the agreement between the parties, the landlord shall be obliged to do the following:

(1) Not to disturb the tenant’s quiet and peaceable enjoyment of the premises.

(2) Pay all rates and charges as stipulated by law.

(3) Keep the premises insured against loss or damage.

(4) Not to terminate or restrict a common facility or service for the use of the premises.

(5) Not to seize or interfere with the tenant’s access to his personal property.

(6) Effect repairs and maintain the external and common parts of the premises.

9. Obligations of landlord regarding business premises only

Subject to any provision to the contrary in the agreement between the parties, a business premises agreement shall be taken to provide that where the landlord

(a) inhibits the access of the tenant to the premises in any substantial manner;

(b) takes any action that would substantially alter or inhibit the flow of the customers, clients or other persons using the tenant’s business premises;

(c) causes or fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent or remove any disruption to trading or use within the business premises which results in loss of profits to the tenant;

(d) fails to have rectify as soon as practicable, any breakdown of plant or equipment under his care and maintenance which results in loss of profits to the tenant; or

(e) fails to maintain or repaint the exterior or the common parts of the building or buildings of which the premises is comprised and after being given notice in writing by the tenant requiring him to rectify the matter, does not do so within such time as is reasonably practicable, the landlord, is liable to pay to the tenant such reasonable compensation as shall be determined by the Court, where the tenant effects the repairs or maintenance.

10. Service Charge, Facilities and Security Deposits

In any case where the landlord or his agent may in addition to rent require the tenant or licensee to pay:

(a) a security deposit to cover damage and repairs to the premises;

(b) for services and facilities for the premises; or

(c) service charges in flats or units that retain common parts on the premises, the landlord or his agent shall issue a separate receipt to the tenant for payments received the such tenant shall be entitled to a written account at least every six (6) months from the landlord of how moneys paid were disbursed.

11. Provision for re-entry

Subject to

(a) any provision to the contrary in the agreement between the parties; and

(b) the service of process in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Law, upon the breach or non-observance of any of the conditions or covenants in respect of the premises, the landlord shall have the right to institute proceedings for an order to re-enter and determine the tenancy.

12. Length of Notice

(1) Where there is no stipulation as to the notice to be given by either party to determine the tenancy, the following shall apply

(a) a week’s notice for a tenant at will;

(b) one (1) month’s notice for a monthly tenant;

(c ) three (3) month’s notice for a quarterly tenant;

(d) three (3) month’s notice for a half-yearly tenant; and

(e) six (6) months notice for a yearly tenant.

(2) In the case of monthly tenant, where he is in arrears of rent for three (3) months, the tenancy shall be determined and the Court shall make an order for possession and arrears of rent upon proof of the arrears by the landlord.

(3) In the case of a quarterly or half-yearly tenant, where he is in arrears of rent for six (6) months, the tenancy shall be determined and the Court shall make an order for possession and arrears of rent upon proof of the arrears by the landlord.

(4) Notice of tenants under subsection (1) ( ), (d) and (e) of this Section need not terminate on the anniversary of the tenancy but may terminate on or after the date of expiration of the tenancy.

(5) In the case of a tenancy for a fixed term, no notice to quit shall be required once the tenancy has been determined by effluxion of time and where the landlord intends to proceed to Court to recover possession, he shall serve a seven (7) days written notice of his intention to apply to recover possession as in Form “TL4” in the Schedule of this Law.

(6) The nature of a tenancy shall, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, be determined by reference to the time when the rent is paid or demanded.

13. Notice to Licensee

Where a person is a licensee and upon the expiration or withdrawal of his licence, he refuses or neglects to give up possession he shall be entitled to service of a seven (7) days notice of the owner’s intention to apply to recover possession as in Form “TL4” in the Schedule to this Law.

14. Notice required for abandoned premises

(1) A premises will be deemed to be abandoned where the

(a) tenancy has expired; and

(b) tenant has not occupied the premises since the tenancy expired and has not given up lawful possession of the premises.

(2) Following subsection (1) above, the landlord shall

(a) issue a seven (7) days notice of the landlord’s intention to recover possession as prescribed in Form “TL4”, which shall be served by pasting the notice on the abandoned premises; and

(b) apply to the court for an order for possession and an order to force open the premises.

15. Tenant refusing or neglecting to give up possession

As soon as the term or interest of any premises has been determined by a written notice to quit as in Form “TL2” or “TL3”, in the Schedule this his Law and the tenant neglects or refuses to quit and deliver up possession of the premises or any part of it, the Landlord or his agent may cause the tenant to be served with written notice as in Form “TL4”, signed by the Landlord or his agent, of the landlord’s intention to proceed to recover possession, stating the grounds and particulars of the claim, on a date not less than seven (7) days from the date of the notice.

16. Service of Notices

(1) Notices referred to under Sections 12-15 of this Law shall be by proper service as prescribed under Section 17 and 18.

(2) Proper service shall be service in such a manner that it can be established to the satisfaction of the court that the person to be served will have knowledge of any of the notices.

17. Service of Notices for Residential Premises

Proper service on a tenant of residential premises shall be personal service, which includes but is not limited to the following

(a) service on the tenant in person

(b) delivery to any adult residing at the premises to be recovered

(c) by courier where the tenant cannot be found, by delivering same at the premises sought to be recovered and the courier shall provide proof of delivery; or

(d) affixing the notice on a prominent part of the premises to be recovered and providing corroborative proof of service.

18. Service of Notices for Business Premises

Proper service on a tenant of a business premises shall be by

(a) delivery to a person at the business premises sought to be recovered; or

(b) affixing the notice on a prominent part of the premises to be recovered and providing corroborative proof of service.

19. Duty to notify other persons in occupation

Where the tenant is a person other than an individual (including a corporate entity), the landlord shall ensure proper service of all notices required under this Law on the tenant:

Provided that the failure of the tenant to notify any other person in occupation shall not affect the proceedings to recover possession.

20. Persons in unlawful occupation

Where a person claims possession of premises which he alleges is occupied solely by a person in unlawful occupation, the proceedings for recovery of the premises shall be by the summary procedure contained in the Civil Procedure Rules of the relevant court.

21. Service of process

Service of any summons, warrant or other process shall be effected in accordance with the provisions of the law for the time being in force relating to the service of the civil process of Magistrates’ Court or the High Court of Lagos State.

22. Use of Forms

Subject to the provisions of this Law, the forms contained in the Schedule to this Law, may be used in the cases to which they apply and when so used, shall be sufficient in Law.


Comments

  1. onyeso gozie says:

    Dear Sir,
    I appreciate the interpretations of the tenancy laws. But i am having a problem now in my residential premises which i rented.The rent expired in july 31 2011 and on August 10 2011,the caretaker brought in a quit notice.

    I would like to know,is it lawful for the caretaker to increase one tenant’s rent in a building of 6 flats? Is yet a default when a sitting tenant appeals to pay a rent in 58days after the expiration of the first rent?

    Please help me.

    Thanks.

    Yours faithfully,

    Gozie Onyeso

  2. onyeso gozie says:

    Sir,

    As a follow up to my plea,i rented the said apartment in 2009 on a 2yrs rent period.I paid a total of 480,000Naira to the landlord through his agent,Victor .C.Onyekwele.

    Please compare my previous statements and assist me.I have other reasons to give at a time you choose to hear from me.
    Thanks.

    Gozie

  3. how can government that has no housing provision for the low income earner be fixing house rent? let the government make provision for the low income earners to become house owners, then landlords will be forced to lower the rent. gernment is making housing provision for only the rich in our society by selling small building to the turn of five to six million naira without give long term payment option.the bill is a mere deceit for the masses to believe that they are doing something. let government build affordable houses for the masses. thanks

  4. How can Government that has no housing provision for the low income earner be fixing house rent? Get the government make provision for the low income earners to become house owners, then landlords will be forced to lower the rent. Government is making housing provision for only the rich in our society by selling small building to the turn of five to six million Naira without giving long term payment option.the bill is a mere deceit for the masses to believe that they are doing something. let government build affordable houses for the masses. thanks

  5. Mercy Edukugho says:

    please can you conclude the serialisation of the entire law. it will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

  6. udoka anyanwu says:

    DEAR SIR,

    what i want to ask is where will one report any issue of landlord that still insist on taking 2years rent.

    is agent and aggrement fee still allowed?

  7. Adeyemo Adeshola says:

    Actually, I’m a student and also a tenant, it’s a very good idea, because the law is all about the interest of the public. but we should not forget that among the public are the landlords too. this may in anyway affect them. my opinion is that, since the Government have the power to regulate, why can’t we start from the source, i mean the beginning of construction starting from the conception of having a land, don’t we think that the cost of acquiring land in lagos state is too high? talking about the process of acquiring land even at the government level. building materials, the issue of omo onile, and so many other factors are the real problems to be solved before this law can realy work in lagos state. if these problems are not resolved, there is nothing the landlord can do than to dance to the tune of the new law, but in a very killing way to the tenants, because two years Rent can be paid in a year. if that happens, then the initial motive of pleasing the public will finally end up killing the public. even the tenants are those that are selling the building materials, and if u tell them to drop the prices of the material, they will never accept that and yet we all wanted the rent to be regulated forgetting about the Rate interest which can not be determine by the government, it’s the issue about economy.

  8. Chinedu junior says:

    Well the motive of the law is actually for the interest of the masses, but at the long run it is going to hav a bad effect on the public since lagos state govt can not regulate the house rent in lagos by setting a price ceiling to protect the interest of the public. This current adminitration has not built any low cost house for the poor, the only housing project this administration was involved in is house demolition and selling the available ones to the rich. So for this law to hold, the govt must first build enough houses to make the market a competitve market by then landlords will be forced to comply with the law

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