Understanding Landlord rights in Nigeria

In Nigeria, many landlords are totally ignorant of their rights. Except you run a charity home, having a tenant occupy your property for years without paying rent is an act of ignorance. Nigeria has established laws on property rights and protection. This law provides privileges for both landlord and tenant and also states the rights, powers, duties, privileges of both parties.

Right to own property in any part of Nigeria

According to the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999, Section 43, the Landlord has the right to own property in any part of Nigeria. The constitution provides all Nigerian citizens the right to acquire and own immovable property anywhere in the country. No matter the ethnicity of the person, he/she can own, buy, sell, acquire any property in any part of the country.

Right to Renew Tenancy

The law does not make it mandatory for a Landlord to renew a tenant’s rent.The landlord has the discretion to renew  the tenant’s rental agreement or not.In any case where the Landlord isn’t comforable with having the tenant occupying his property , the Landlord has the right to refuse to renew the tenancy.    

Right to not issue Quit Notice

This is one of the greatest right of  a landlord in Nigeria. The landlord has a right to issue or not issue quit notice to a tenant. No tenant has the right to force himself/herself on the property of a landlord on expiration of an agreed tenancy duration.

Right to Review Rent

As policies, time and economic conditions change , Landlords also have the right change the rental price of their property. They have the right to review the rent in line with the rent review clause.

While the landlord can review rent, he cannot do such during an existing tenancy.

Right Against Compulsory Acquisition of Property

There have been situations where governors or “powers that be” may want to forcefully acquire land for their own personal use.Section 44 of the Nigerian Constitution provides for the right against compulsory acquisition of property. This means no one can forcefully take over property that is legally acquired by a landlord.

The only exception to this is stated in the Section 28 of Land Use Act. It states that the Government can only compulsorily acquire a land for overriding public interest.

Right to Compensation

In case of compulsory acquisition of the land by the Government (based on public interest), the Landlord has the right to be compensated.The landlord is not compensated  for the land itself but on things done on the land e.g building, irrigation , mechanical installation, economic crops planted on the land etc.  For due compensation to be paid, the evidence of improvements done on the land will be provided.

Right not to reimburse a Tenant

Where a Tenant carries out repairs in the property, the Landlord has the right not to reimburse the Tenant. This is why the tenant should always carefully go through the tenancy agreement before signing. There are cases where the nature of repairs to be covered by both parties will be expressly stated in the agreement. For example, pumping machine repairs, leaking tank, pipes etc are usually covered by the landlord, but in a situation where it isn’t stated in the agreement and the tenant makes the repairs, the Landlord is within his rights not to reimburse the tenant. The Landlord is only mandated to reimburse the Tenant only where the repair is expressly stated in the agreement.

Note: This article is not a legal advice, and under no circumstance should it be taken as such. All information provided are for information purpose only.

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