Feb 11, 2014


In Lagos State, the law that applies to tenancy matters is the Tenancy Law of Lagos State 2011 though it doesn't apply to every part of Lagos, areas such as Apapa; Ikeja G.R.A; Ikoyi; and Victoria Island are exempted from the law. Also, residential premises operated by educational institutes for their staff and students; residential premises provided for emergency shelters and residential premises providing rehabilitative or therapeutic treatment are exempted from the Law as well.

The introduction of the Law by Governor Fashola won the heart of Lagosians because it prohibited property owners from collecting more than a year's rent from tenants, it also prohibits the tenant from offering and if either party are found culpable of such act they shall be liable to 3 months imprisonment or a fine of N100,000. 00. Section 3 of the Tenancy Law provides that a tenancy agreement exist where premises are granted by the landlord to a person for value whether or not it is – Express or implied; Oral or written or partly oral or partly written; or For a fixed period.

Under the Tenancy Law, tenants are entitled to quiet and peaceful enjoyment of the premises, this includes; privacy, freedom from unreasonable disturbance, exclusive possession of the premises and the use of common areas for reasonable and lawful purposes. But, tenants also have certain duties and obligations under the tenancy agreement, which include: 

·        - Duty to pay rent at the times and in the manner stated.
·        - Duty to pay all existing and future rates and charges not payable by the landlord by law.
·        - To keep the premises in good and tenantable condition.
·        - Permit the landlord's agents to effect repairs.
·        - Not to make alterations on the building without express consent from the landlord.
·        - Not to assign or sublet the property without the consent of the landlord, and
·        - Inform  the landlord when repairs are to be made.

The Law allows landlords to collect service charges but states that a separate receipt must be issued for such payments. Tenants are however entitled to a written account of how such funds are used. In any case where the landlord or his agent in addition to rent requires 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 and such tenant shall be entitled to a written account at least every six (6) months from the Landlord of how monies paid were disbursed.  

Where the tenant fails to adhere to the conditions of rent, the tenancy agreement may be terminated by the Landlord taking possession of the property. The Law also places some responsibilities and obligations by stating that subject to any provision to the contrary in a tenancy agreement, the landlord shall;

·         Not disturb the tenant's quiet and peaceable enjoyment of the premises.
·         Pay all rates and charges as stipulated by law.
·          Keep the premises insured against loss or damage.
·          Not terminate or restrict the use of a common facility or service for the use of the premises.
·         Not seize any item or property of the tenant or interfere with the tenant's access to his personal property.
·          Effect repairs and maintain the external and common parts of the premises.

As for the payment of professional services such as legal fees, it shall be the duty of the party who engages the services of a professional in respect of the tenancy agreement to pay the fees. Where there is a breach or non-observance of any of the conditions or covenants in respect of the premises, the landlord shall subject to – Any provision to the contrary in the agreement between the parties; and The service of process in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Law, have the right to institute proceedings for an order to re-enter and determine the tenancy.

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) months’ notice for a monthly tenant;
(c) three (3) months’ notice for a quarterly tenant;
(d) three (3) months’ notice for a half-yearly tenant; and
(e) six months’ notice for a yearly tenant.

In the case of a monthly tenancy, where the tenant is in arrears of rent for six (6) months, the tenancy shall lapse and the Court shall make an order for possession and arrears of rent upon proof of the arrears by the landlord. In the case of a quarterly or half-yearly tenancy, where the tenant is in arrears of one (1) year rent, the tenancy shall lapse and the Court shall make an order for possession and arrears of rent upon proof of the arrears by the landlord.

Adedunmade Onibokun