Quit Notice in Nigeria: Common Questions and Answers for Tenants and Landlords

Quit notice or notice to quit, one of the most common terms in the Nigerian real estate space is issued to the tenant by either the Landlord or lawyer via a written document.This document usually applies to a tenant at will or  periodic tenant.

What is a quit notice in Nigeria? 

A quit notice in Nigeria is an simply a  legal document used by landlords to inform their tenants that they must vacate the rented property within a specified period . It serves as a formal communication from the landlord to the tenant, stating the landlord’s intention to terminate the tenancy agreement. The quit notice is a critical step in the eviction process, and it initiates the legal procedure for removing a tenant from the property.

In simple terms, when a landlord wants their tenant to move out, they give them a written notice called a “quit notice.” This notice tells the tenant that they have to leave the property within a certain time frame. It’s like a formal way of saying, “You need to find a new place to live because I want you to leave.”

How much notice does a landlord need to give?

The validity of a quit notice depends on the duration of the notice period given by the landlord. In Nigeria, the time frame for a quit notice to be considered valid varies based on the terms of the tenancy agreement and the laws in place. It is essential to know that different types of tenancies may have different notice periods.

In the absence of a written tenancy agreement stating the length of the quit notice, the following applies:

  • Weekly tenancy –  1-week notice
  • Monthly tenancy –  1-month notice
  • Quarterly tenancy –  3-month notice
  • Half-yearly tenancy (6 months) –  3-month notice (applies to Lagos tenants only)
  • Yearly tenancy –  6-month notice
  • Above one year – 6-month notice
  • Tenancy at will – A 1-week notice

Can a landlord give a quit notice without a specific reason?

Yes, in Nigeria, a landlord can issue a quit notice to a tenant without providing a specific reason for requesting them to leave. This type of notice is often referred to as a “no-cause” or “unconditional” quit notice. It means that the landlord doesn’t have to explain why they want the tenant to vacate the property; they simply have the right to end the tenancy agreement.

What are the legal requirements for serving a notice to quit in Nigeria?

To serve a valid quit notice in Nigeria, landlords must adhere to specific legal requirements set by  the Nigerian tenancy law. Here are some key points to consider:

The notice must be in writing: A quit notice must be written and not just communicated verbally to the tenant. It should clearly state the intention to terminate the tenancy and the date by which the tenant must vacate the property.

Proper delivery: The notice must be delivered to the tenant in an acceptable manner. This usually involves either handing the notice directly to the tenant or sending it through certified mail or a recognized courier service.

Compliance with tenancy agreement: The notice must align with the terms and conditions of the existing tenancy agreement, if any. For example, if the agreement specifies a particular notice period, the quit notice must adhere to that timeframe.

Adherence to local laws: Landlords should ensure that the quit notice complies with the relevant tenancy laws of the state in which the property is located.

What happens if a tenant ignores a quit notice?

If a tenant chooses to ignore a valid quit notice and does not vacate the property within the specified time frame, the landlord can take legal action to evict the tenant. The landlord may need to initiate legal proceedings, such as filing a lawsuit or obtaining a court order for the eviction. The legal process for eviction may vary depending on the laws of the specific state.

Can a tenant challenge a quit notice in court?

Yes, a tenant has the right to challenge a quit notice in court if they believe that the notice is not valid or if they have legal grounds to contest the eviction. Common reasons for challenging a quit notice include:

Improper notice: If the landlord failed to follow the legal requirements for serving a quit notice, such as not providing the required notice period or not delivering the notice in an acceptable manner, the tenant may challenge the notice in court.

Breach of tenancy agreement: If the landlord violated the terms of the tenancy agreement or did not fulfill their obligations, the tenant may argue that the quit notice is unjustified.

Retaliatory eviction: In some cases, landlords may issue a quit notice as retaliation against a tenant who exercised their legal rights, such as requesting necessary repairs or reporting violations. Such evictions may be unlawful and subject to legal challenge.

Discrimination: If the quit notice is based on discriminatory reasons, such as the tenant’s tribe, religion, gender or disability, the notice could be challenged.

Can a landlord change the terms of the quit notice after it has been served?

Once a valid quit notice has been served to the tenant, the terms specified in the notice generally cannot be altered  by the landlord. The notice’s content, including the date by which the tenant must vacate the property, is legally binding and should not be modified without mutual agreement between the landlord and tenant.

If the landlord wishes to extend the notice period or alter any other aspect of the notice, they must seek the tenant’s consent to do so. Similarly, the tenant can negotiate with the landlord to modify the notice if they require more time to find a new place or address specific concerns.

Will the tenant pay during 6 month quit notice period ?

Yes, during a 3-month or 6-month quit notice period, the tenant is generally still required to pay rent as usual. The quit notice period is the time given by the landlord to inform the tenant about the termination of the tenancy. It serves as a notice period for the tenant to prepare to vacate the property.

When is a tenant not entitled to six month quit notice?

In certain situations, a quit notice is not required for a landlord to reclaim their property from a tenant. Instead, a “7 days notice to recover premises” can be served. Here are the situations where a quit notice is unnecessary:

Expiration of Fixed Tenancy: If the tenancy is a fixed-term tenancy, and the agreed-upon period has expired, there is no need for a quit notice. The landlord can directly serve a notice of their intention to apply to court to regain possession of the property.

Arrears of 6 Months of Rent: For monthly tenancies, if the tenant falls behind on rent payments for six months, a quit notice is not required. The landlord can issue a notice of their intention to apply to court for possession of the property.

Arrears of One Year of Rent: For quarterly or half-yearly tenancies, if the tenant is in arrears of rent for one year, there is no need for a quit notice. The landlord can serve a notice of their intention to apply to court for possession of the property instead.

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

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