To live in Nigeria, two things are involved; it is either you are a landlord or you are a tenant. If you are a landlord, two more things are involved; it is either your tenant pays rent or he owes rent. If your tenant pays rent, happy are you but if your tenant does not pay his rent, two more things are involved.…

Okay we believe you have gotten our focus for in this article, so we won’t stress you with our landlord-tenant rhyme any further. Yes, you guessed it right, will talk about the rights of landlords and tenants in Nigeria.

The relationship between a landlord and tenant is one which gives rights and obligations to both parties. The relationship is equally regulated by the law. So, we will consider the rights of each party to the relationship.

What are the rights of a landlord?

« Right to receive or collect rent: A landlord is entitled to the collection of rent on the apartment that has been rented out to a tenant. The rent to be paid is as agreed by both the landlord and the tenant. This amount is usually stated in the tenancy agreement.

« Right to review or increase rent: the Landlord also has a right to review (that is increase or decrease) the amount of rent charged on a rented apartment in view of economic realities prevalent at a certain time. However, the landlord is mandated to inform the tenant before reviewing the rent and there has to be a clause in the tenancy agreement allowing for such a review of the rent. Also, in some states, a landlord’s right to review rent can be curtailed by the Court.

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« Right to have his house maintained in a good condition: It is the right of the landlord to have his house maintained in a good condition by the tenant. The tenant is to take good care of the rented apartment and to prevent avoidable damage to the apartment. This right does not however extend to damages caused by natural disasters, for instance, where the roof of the house is blown off by a thunderstorm.

« Right to lawfully evict a tenant: Yes, the landlord can evict a tenant. But such an eviction must be carried out within the bounds of the law.

« Right to issue a notice to quit: It is the right of a landlord who no longer desires that a particular tenant reside in his premises to issue the appropriate notice to quit to the tenant. The length of the notice to be given will depend on a number of factors such as the nature of the tenancy etc

« Right to reasonable periodic inspection of the rented apartment: The landlord is allowed to at certain intervals to come to the rented apartment and check the apartment for possible repairs. This is to be done at a reasonable time of the day and after reasonable notice has been given to the tenant.

What are the rights of a tenant?

  • Right to issuance of a payment receipt: Upon payment for the rented apartment, the tenant is entitled to a payment receipt for the rent paid from the landlord. This is to serve as a proof in case the landlord happens to rent out the same apartment to another person. The dates on the receipt can help to determine who actually rented the apartment before the other.
  • Right to an apartment fit for human habitation: The apartment rented must be one which a human being is reasonably expected to reside in.
  • Right to a written tenancy agreement: This is very important as this agreement will clearly spell out the rights and obligations of both the tenant and the landlord. This agreement is of utmost importance to the tenant in case of any misunderstanding that might crop up and require the exercise of the law.
  • Right to peaceful enjoyment of the rented premises: Once rented, the premises is in possession of the tenant and he or she is entitled to the peaceful use and enjoyment without unnecessary interference from the landlord or some other person.
  • Right to be issued a valid notice to quit before eviction: In the event that the landlord wants the tenant to pack out of the rented building, the tenant is entitled to be given a valid notice to quit having regard to the nature of the tenancy.
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Queen Charles B.L.

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