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PROPERTY EVICTION: Rights of a Tenant

Relationships are the bane of human existence; they are what sustains us, keeps us going and makes us alive. Whether we want to or not, our very nature is woven to rely on relationships and in the course of our lives, one of the relationships we will have is the landlord-tenant one. Unfortunately, this relationship is one of the most controversial relationships in life. It s filled with issues, conflicts and disputes and are often not amicable resolved even where attempts are made to resolve them. The sensitization of people to the fact that the law can be used to deal with a lot of the problems characterized in this relationship has however turned things around. Especially the mediation approach where a win:win situation is usually the objective.

Once upon a time, a landlord could wake up one day and decide he wants the tenant out of his house; perhaps out of spite, perhaps because he needs the property urgently, perhaps because he has a better offer. Whatever the reason, it didn’t matter. The landlord is the alpha and omega and the tenant at his mercy. Failure of the tenant to comply would often result in a forced eviction. The tenant is forcibly removed from the premises with his or her things thrown out and sometimes, the tenant’s property is removed from the premises in his or her absence. Call it “Jankara” or “OPC” method, some landlords and quack agents have almost perfected this act of illegality. The trend has however been abated with the realization that such actions is frowned at by the law.

Also read: PROPERTY EVICTION: Rights of a Landlord

Regardless of the type of occupancy, whether informal settlements, lease, rental accommodation, cooperative housing or emergency housing, or the type of housing or interest of a person in a house, all occupants are entitled to a measure of security of tenure which guarantees equal protection against intimidation, harassment, threats and forced eviction without due process of law. This means that no landlord, whether individual, a corporate organization or even the government, has the right to take matters into his hands by ejecting a tenant without resorting to the law. The landlord and Tenant relationship is guided by Law and both parties have their cover or protection against any untoward behavior of the other party in Law.

As a tenant, it is your right by law to have adequate notice to quit if your landlord wishes to take possession of his premises. No longer can the landlord come in the morning and ask you to quit by evening if he has not served the appropriate and due notice. Lawfully, the notice to quit is what puts an end to the term created by a tenancy and this is usually stated in the tenancy agreement. Where it is not expressly stated, a weekly tenancy is terminated by a week’s notice, a monthly tenancy is terminated by a month’s notice and a quarterly notice is given to terminate a quarterly tenancy while a yearly tenancy is terminated by six months notice. The nature of a tenancy is determined by reference to the time when rent is paid or demanded.

Some tenancy agreements have shorter or longer notices. Some even state that notices will not be given in the case where the landlord wishes to eject the tenant. This is why it is important to read the tenancy agreement carefully before signing because the law honours agreement between parties, and in the case where you sign a lawful agreement that limits your rights, you will be bound by it. Claiming you didn’t know holds no water because ignorance of the law affords no excuse.

In the case where the landlord takes you to court as a tenant, the court cannot eject you without hearing from you. This is because the amended 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states that all persons in the country have certain undeniable rights which include the Right to Fair hearing. No person (tenant) can be tried in a competent court without allowing him to be heard. As a tenant, you also have the right to sue your landlord if he does not follow the due process of the law and forcibly throws you out.

 

 

20 comments

  1. My Land came to my school with police to arrest me. I rented his 3 bedroom flat to run a school which expired in July. We agreed to buy the place but we couldn’t meet up with his conditions and decided to move out of which we told him. After moving out, we called to come for his keys but he refused that we must pay for three months after the expiration of the rent.

  2. Mr bamidele Hakeem

    Good day , Please kindly need your professional advice I am a landlord and have a tenants who failed to pay house rent for the past two 2year now so what should I do to such tenant ? Thanks

  3. Adedipe kolawole

    My rent has just expired on 29th of June 2017 and this morning my landlord gave me 8days quick notice to quit his house and I don’t any place to go, what I do pls

  4. pls I rented an apartment last year October which is yet to expire, and yesterday I went home from work to see a quite notice from court on my door post and the only explanation I got from my neighbors was that the house has been sold and the notice was from the new landlord and not worried on where to go to but feeling insulted by but the lawyer and the court that gave them that power and seeks advice on what to do

  5. Hello, I rented an a room self apartment in March, 2015 for 150,000 yearly. My apartment demanded money for 2 years, agreement and commission 100,00 and damages 10,000 and extra 20,000, total packages 430,000. He didnt do any agreement for me. My rent expired this Feb, I am financially broke so I couldn’t really promise him specific time to pay because I truly don’t know when I will get the money. Just last week, he called to leave his house by May ending that he dash me the outstnding bill of 3 months but without any formal notice. Immediately started looking for a place to put my things, a friend promised me a room in his father’s house but I can’t move in until August ending. What would u advise me to do?

  6. Hello ,

    Someone should please respond to the questions asked by @Pst Jaja Richard & Victor Essien.
    Am in the same situation too.

  7. A lot of the stories I read here indicates that a lot of tenants here are ignorant. If you sign a lease and you live out the term of your lease, you have no tight to remain in the house after your lease expires. Not even for one minute, except the lease has been renewed before it expires. If you’re in a house where your lease has expired, your landlord is actually doing you a favor for allowing you to stay their beyond a second. Either renew your lease with your landlord or get out!

  8. My father died 8th of March 2016, and his burial took place between 5th may to 12th may 2016. by end of May my elder sister who reside with my late father packed out of the flat where she was squacting with my late father because she can’t afford the money and it was my late father that was paying the house rent. January 10, 2017, the lawyer to the landlady issued a letter in my late father’s name that he is owing the sum of 150000 naira and he is been given till the end of January 2017 to pay or to face them in court but we ignored because the name the wrote was my late father’s name and my father wasn’t owing them that amount of money the were claiming. so on the 20th of match, the brought a summon for recovery of possession of tenants from tribunal written to my late fathers name to appear before the court on 27th of March 2017, but I went there to inform them that the man in is late but the court didn’t side that day, so it was adjourned for 17th of April 2017. so please advice me on what to do. the amount the stated in the letter from the tribunal is 200,000 naira plus additional 10 percent judgment sum until judgment debt is liquidated, summing up to 250,000 naira. they also lure that he is owing them from January 2016 to December 2016

    • Look for the receipts and possibly the tenancy agreement your father had with them. Then look for a competent lawyer to defend you else with court order they’d throw you out of there and nothing will happen.

  9. My rent expired 6th of February and my land just brought in a lawyer today with a leter that i have now till 7th of this march to pay up my rent or vacate the property . What do i do

    • To start with, I must know your type of tenancy but then you deserve a notice to quit from your landlord which will depend on your type of tenancy agreement also know that no free accommodation in Lagos state so your notice to quite will starting reading from the day after your rent expired, however, if you are a yearly tenant, you deserve 6months notice to quit to enable get another apartment we remains 4months and some weeks. visit onomerealtor.blogspot.com for more details.

  10. After my 6 months notice expired in october ending my landlord lawyer served me 7days notice and afterwords my landlord son does not let me in my house have been sleeping in a friends house for like 3months now. I was actually waiting for them to bring the court order but, they want to use force as they want me out by all means. my landlord son beat me up and got my phone destroyed on 14th of january 2017. please have been to the nearest police station but the DPO trow the boy out of station as he could not handle him. the DPO ask to go and pack my things and leave before they will kill me there, i have all this recorded on my phone but, just confused as i am afraid to go into the house and pack my property .

  11. can quit notice be saved when your rent is valid? pls I need a reply soon, tnz

  12. I have been living in my 3rooms apartment since 2003 and have been paying my rent as at when due but my last rent expired july,2016 and have not been able to renew it. My house agent has on this day served me a quit notice of 7 days. pls, I have spoken with the agent many times that I will pay as soon as I balance from this recession and he never discuss eviction with me. pls, I am financially broke now and can’t afford both I.e whether to get new rent or renewal 4. do I have any right in this kind of situation? can I just be evicted under 7dsys in a house have stayed for over 10yrs.?pls,

  13. Here, I’m in a conundrum. I never signed an agreement form and never paid caution fee throughout the year I rented my room. Now my landlady wants me out after serving 6 months notice, I’ve pleaded with her for sometime to get as my rent expired yesterday November 1st. She’s refused to allow me stay, my folks tell me to wait for a new rent. My question is do I have any feasible rights against her? Urgent please.

  14. Fashade Adetutu Adekemi

    My house rent is going to expire November 21st n I told my landlord I will like to renew the rent n he said I should pack out by November ending in which he is giving me 9days to pack out,what am I suppose to do?please help me out.

    • Your landlord will have to give you six month Notice he can’t just say you can’t renew your rent like that so demand for the Six Month Quite Notice since you are a Yearly Tenant.

  15. anthony nnodumene

    i have a friend who is equally passing through the same issue.

  16. Pst Jaja Richard

    my landlady son gave me a quit notice when my rent have not expired and there was no landlord and tenant agreement but they took #10.000 from me for that purpose and a yearly tenant what do I do?

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