Remember Adeola from last week’s newsletter?
Well, she ended up purchasing a piece of land for her business after the land documents had gone through careful scrutiny of her lawyer, Seun. She however realized that she had more than enough space to build on and decided to take in a tenant into another part of her building.
2 weeks in, Adeola stumbles on a telephone conversation between her new tenant and another person on their plans to dupe someone overseas – an illegal act which is punishable by law.
After some thought and discussions with her lawyer, Seun, she has decided she will evict this tenant.
Adeola and Seun are right. Under the Lagos State’s Tenancy Law, a landlord can start the eviction process when any of the below occurs:
- The tenant is in arrears of rent;
- The tenant is in breach of any covenant or agreement as contained in the Tenancy Agreement;
- Where the premises is required by the landlord for personal use;
- the premises is being used for immoral or illegal purposes; ( this is the case with Adeola and her tenant), etc.
Also, the Lagos State’s Tenancy Law covers how she can go about the eviction process.
METHODS/STEPS TO EVICTION
1. Apply to the court for an order for possession of the property if the tenant owes rent.
Determine whether the tenant is in arrears. If then, under the Lagos Tenancy Law 2011, under certain tenancy tenures, the landlord can apply to the court for an order for possession of the property, and can also ask the court to order the tenant to pay arrears of rent owed. All the landlord needs to do is provide proof of the arrears.
2. Give a quit notice.
Especially if the tenant is not owing rent, evicting a tenant in Lagos will require a quit notice. A quit notice is the length of time notice period which a tenant must be given before the landlord can start the process to evict the tenant. If there is no mutually agreed on length of notice in such a tenant’s tenancy agreement, the Lagos State Tenancy Law notice periods below will apply.
In the absence of a written agreement stating the length of the quit notice, the following statute will apply:
Weekly tenancy – A 1-week notice
Monthly tenancy – A 1-month notice
Quarterly tenancy – A 3-month notice
Half-yearly tenancy (6 months) – A 3-month notice (applies to Lagos only)
3. The next step is to serve a 7-day written notice on the tenant of the landlord’s intention to proceed to court to recover possession.
There is usually a special court form for this notice.
If point 2 and 3 above fail, the landlord can go right back to court to start a case for a recovery of his possession as seen in the first point
Hold on! As a Lagos landlord, here’s more to note:
– The Lagos Tenancy Law 2011 does not apply to residential premises provided for emergency shelter; in a care or hospice facility; in a public or private hospital or a mental health facility: and those made available in the course of providing rehabilitative or therapeutic treatment.
It also does not apply to premises in Apapa, Ikeja GRA, Ikoyi, and Victoria Island.
- It is a criminal offence for a Landlord to demolish, alter or modify a building with a view to ejecting a Tenant and without the approval of the Court.
- It is a criminal offence for a Landlord to attempt to forcibly eject or forcibly ejects a tenant.
- It is a criminal offence for a Landlord to threaten or molest a tenant by action or words, with a view to ejecting such tenant.
- It is a criminal offence for a Landlord to willfully damage any premises with a view to ejecting a Tenant.
- Any Landlord found guilty of the above points will pay a fine of at most, N250,000 or be imprisoned for a maximum of six (6) months.
Inasmuch as the law gives power to the landlord over his property and especially in the event where he/she has to eject a tenant., it is super interesting to note that this power is not uncontrolled or absolute.
In ejecting a tenant, the law expects you to still allow for the tenant’s basic right to be treated fairly and without violence.