Understanding The Nigerian Tenancy Law as a Tenant

Renting a property in Nigeria is no easy feat, especially for new renters. There’s the agent aspect You have to deal with (which is usually unavoidable in most cases), and the one everyone always try to avoid – the Landlord or Landlady. Most people would rather prefer to live in a home with a dozen tenants to a home with the Landlord living on the same property.It is really that bad that , it is one of the main  instructions renters give to agents when looking for a new home.This mindset has been driven into the minds of many renters in Nigeria, through their colleagues, family , friends and different stories online on how mean many Landlords tend to be. But, how do you stay safe in all of this ? By knowing your rights as a tenant.

The Nigerian tenancy law is comprehensive and people-welfare driven that the law  provides a good number of rights, duties, and privileges for both the tenant and Landlord.  The law defines the rights, duties, privileges, powers and options open to both parties.

Here are some of the rights of the tenant in Nigeria as covered by the Nigerian tenancy Law today.

Tenant rights in Nigeria

 Right to a Written Agreement

Every tenant, regardless of their status or location in Nigeria, has the right to a tenancy agreement. While agreements can be oral or written, it is usually advisable to have a written contract to avoid any unforeseen problems that may arise in the future. Prospective tenants are advised to seek legal assistance to understand the terms thoroughly before signing.

Right to issuance of  Receipt of Payment

Just like every other business transaction,Tenants have the right to receive a proper receipt of payment upon fulfilling their rental obligations. This receipt serves as acknowledgment from the landlord or agent that the rent has been paid and it includes important details such as the names of both parties, the amount paid, date of payment, the duration the payment covers, the signature of the receiver and the property covered by the payment.

Right to Peaceful Enjoyment of Property

Upon fulfilling their rental obligations, tenants have the right to enjoy their rented property peacefully. This means that the landlord cannot interfere with the tenant’s use and enjoyment of the property without just cause. The tenant determines the entrance, usage, safety and can even sue for trespass against any stranger on his/her property.However, tenants must also comply with the terms of the tenancy agreement, behave responsibly, and seek the landlord’s consent for any structural changes or subletting.

Right to a Valid Quit Notice

In the event that a landlord wishes to terminate the tenancy, the Landlord must issue a valid quit notice to the tenant.  According to the recovery of Premises Law, a tenant cannot be evicted from their apartment unless the landlord strictly complies with the legal requirements. The law stipulates that the landlord must serve a valid “quit notice” to the tenant, expressing their intention to terminate the tenancy. The time frame given to the tenant before he/she must vacate the property depends on the rental payment frequency, such as weekly, monthly, or yearly. This is why it is strongly advised that tenants understand the tenancy agreement before signing ,as some agreements may waive their entitlement to a quit notice. Ignorance of the law is not considered a valid excuse.

A valid quit notice should include specific details, such as the landlord’s full name, the tenant’s full name, the address of the property being rented, and the duration of the notice.

In case a landlord no longer wishes to have a particular tenant occupying their property, they must follow the proper legal process for eviction. This involves issuing a valid quit notice to the tenant, containing all the necessary information mentioned above. If these requirements are not met, the eviction would be considered invalid and unlawful.

Right to a Compulsory Seven Days Notice to Recover Premises

Under the Nigerian Tenancy Law, tenants are protected from being evicted by landlords without first receiving a “Seven Days’ Notice to Recover.”

This notice, known as the “Seven (7) Days’ Notice of Owner’s Intention to Recover Premises,” is sent by the landlord’s lawyer to inform the tenant that they have been served with a  “Quit Notice,” and the allotted time for compliance has expired. The notice states that if the tenant does not vacate the premises within seven days from the date of receiving the notice, the lawyer will initiate legal action in court on behalf of the landlord to reclaim the property.  Tenants should remain informed and adhere to the stipulated timeline.

Please note: this article is not a legal advice and should not be taken as such. The content of this article is for information purpose only.

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