The New Lagos Tenancy Law: Who Does It Favor Most, The Landlord or the Tenant?

For a law to regulate rights and obligations under tenancy agreements and the relationship between the Landlord and the tenant including the procedure for the recovery of premises and for other connected purposes in Lagos State.The Lagos State House of Assembly enacts as follows:General Application
1. Application of Law
2. (1) This Law shall apply to all premises within Lagos State, including business and residential premises unless otherwise specified
(2) This Law shall not apply to:
(a) residential premises owned or operated by an educational institution for its staff and students;
(b) residential premises provided for emergency shelter;
(c ) Residential premises
(i) in a care or hospice facility;
(ii) in a public or private hospital or a mental health facility; and
(d) that is made available in the course of providing rehabilitative or therapeutic treatment.2. Jurisdiction of the Courts
(1) A Court shall have jurisdiction on application made to it by a landlord or tenant or any interested person to determine matters in respect of the tenancy of any premises let before or after the commencement of this Law.
(2) The jurisdiction of a Court shall not be ousted by the defendant or respondent setting up the title of any other party.
(3) Proceedings may be brought under this Law at the High Court or at the Magistrates Court in the division or the Magisterial District in which the subject matter giving rise to the proceedings is located.
(4) Subject to the provision of this Law, a Court shall be bound by the practice and procedure in civil matters in the Magistrates Court or the High Court of Lagos State.3. Tenancy Agreement
For the purposes of this Law, a tenancy agreement shall be deemed to exist where premises are granted by the landlord to a person for value whether or not it is
(a) express or implied;
(b) oral or in writing or partly oral or partly written; or
(c) for a fixed period.4. Advance Rent
(1) It shall be unlawful for a landlord or his agent to demand or receive from a sitting tenant rent in excess of three (3) months in respect of any premises.
(2) It shall be unlawful for a sitting tenant to offer or pay rent in excess of three (3) months in respect of any premises.
(3) Any person who receives or pay rent in excess of what is prescribed in this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to a fine of one hundred thousand naira (N100,000.00) or to three (3) months imprisonment or any other non-custodial disposition.5. Rent payment receipt
(1) As from the commencement of this Law, all landlords of premises shall upon payment of rent by the tenants, be obliged to issue a rent payment receipt to their tenants in respect of such payments.
(2) The receipt shall state the
(a) Date of which rent was received;
(b) Name of the landlord and the tenant;
(c) Location of premises in respect of which the rent is paid
(d) Amount of rent paid; and
(e) Period to which the payment relates.
(4) Any landlord who fails to issue a rent payment receipt to his tenant as prescribed under this Section, shall be liable to a fine of ten thousand Naira (N10,000.00) payable to the Court.


RIGHTS AND OBLICATIONS OF LANDLORD AND TENANT6. Rights of the parties
(1) The tenants entitlement to quiet and peaceable enjoyment includes the right to:
(a) reasonable privacy;
(b) freedom from unreasonable disturbance;
(c) Exclusive possession of the premises, subject to the landlords restricted right of inspection and
(d) the use of common areas for reasonable and lawful purposes.
(2) Where a tenant with the previous consent in writing of the landlord, effects improvements on the premises and the landlord determines the tenancy, such a tenancy shall be entitled to claim compensation for the effect improvements on quitting the premises.6. Obligations of the Tenant
Subject to any provision to the contrary in the agreement between the parties, the tenant shall be obliged to do the following:
(1) Pay the rents at the times and in the manner stated.
(2) Pay all existing and future rates and charges not applicable to the landlord by law.
(3) Keep the premises in good and tenantable repair, reasonable wear and tear excepted.
(4) Permit the landlord and his agents during the tenancy at all reasonable hours in the day time by written notice, to view the condition of the premises and to effect repairs in necessary parts of the building.
(5) Not to make any alterations or additions to the premises without the written consent of the landlord.
(6) Not to assign or sublet any part of the premises without the written consent of the landlord.
(7) Notify the landlord where structural or substantial damage has occurred to any part of the premises as soon as practicable.7. Obligations of the Landlord8. Subject to any provision to the contrary in the agreement between the parties, the landlord shall be obliged to do the following:
(1) Not to disturb the tenants quiet and peaceable enjoyment of the premises.
(2) Pay all rates and charges as stipulated by law.
(3) Keep the premises insured against loss or damage.
(4) Not to terminate or restrict a common facility or service for the use of the premises.
(5) Not to seize or interfere with the tenants access to his personal property.
(6) Effect repairs and maintain the external and common parts of the premises.9. Obligations of landlord regarding business premises only
Subject to any provision to the contrary in the agreement between the parties, a business premises agreement shall be taken to provide that where the landlord
(a) inhibits the access of the tenant to the premises in any substantial manner;
(b) takes any action that would substantially alter or inhibit the flow of the customers, clients or other persons using the tenants business premises;
(c) causes or fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent or remove any disruption to trading or use within the business premises which results in loss of profits to the tenant;
(d) fails to have rectify as soon as practicable, any breakdown of plant or equipment under his care and maintenance which results in loss of profits to the tenant; or
(e) fails to maintain or repaint the exterior or the common parts of the building or buildings of which the premises is comprised and after being given notice in writing by the tenant requiring him to rectify the matter, does not do so within such time as is reasonably practicable, the landlord, is liable to pay to the tenant such reasonable compensation as shall be determined by the Court, where the tenant effects the repairs or maintenance.10. Service Charge, Facilities and Security Deposits
In any case where the landlord or his agent may in addition to rent require 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 the such tenant shall be entitled to a written account at least every six (6) months from the landlord of how moneys paid were disbursed.11. Provision for re-entry
Subject to
(a) any provision to the contrary in the agreement between the parties; and
(b) the service of process in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Law, upon the breach or non-observance of any of the conditions or covenants in respect of the premises, the landlord shall have the right to institute proceedings for an order to re-enter and determine the tenancy.12. Length of Notice
(1) 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 weeks 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 (6) months notice for a yearly tenant.
(2) In the case of monthly tenant, where he is in arrears of rent for three (3) months, the tenancy shall be determined and the Court shall make an order for possession and arrears of rent upon proof of the arrears by the landlord.
(3) In the case of a quarterly or half-yearly tenant, where he is in arrears of rent for six (6) months, the tenancy shall be determined and the Court shall make an order for possession and arrears of rent upon proof of the arrears by the landlord.
(4) Notice of tenants under subsection (1) ( ), (d) and (e) of this Section need not terminate on the anniversary of the tenancy but may terminate on or after the date of expiration of the tenancy.
(5) In the case of a tenancy for a fixed term, no notice to quit shall be required once the tenancy has been determined by effluxion of time and where the landlord intends to proceed to Court to recover possession, he shall serve a seven (7) days written notice of his intention to apply to recover possession as in Form TL4 in the Schedule of this Law.
(6) The nature of a tenancy shall, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, be determined by reference to the time when the rent is paid or demanded.13. Notice to Licensee
Where a person is a licensee and upon the expiration or withdrawal of his license, he refuses or neglects to give up possession he shall be entitled to service of a seven (7) days notice of the owners intention to apply to recover possession as in Form TL4 in the Schedule to this Law.14. Notice required for abandoned premises
(1) A premises will be deemed to be abandoned where the
(a) tenancy has expired; and
(b) tenant has not occupied the premises since the tenancy expired and has not given up lawful possession of the premises.
(2) Following subsection (1) above, the landlord shall
(a) issue a seven (7) days notice of the landlords intention to recover possession as prescribed in Form TL4, which shall be served by pasting the notice on the abandoned premises; and
(b) apply to the court for an order for possession and an order to force open the premises.


15. Tenant refusing or neglecting to give up possession
As soon as the term or interest of any premises has been determined by a written notice to quit as in Form TL2 or TL3, in the Schedule this his Law and the tenant neglects or refuses to quit and deliver up possession of the premises or any part of it, the Landlord or his agent may cause the tenant to be served with written notice as in Form TL4, signed by the Landlord or his agent, of the landlords intention to proceed to recover possession, stating the grounds and particulars of the claim, on a date not less than seven (7) days from the date of the notice.16. Service of Notices
(1) Notices referred to under Sections 12-15 of this Law shall be by proper service as prescribed under Section 17 and 18.
(2) Proper service shall be service in such a manner that it can be established to the satisfaction of the court that the person to be served will have knowledge of any of the notices.17. Service of Notices for Residential Premises
Proper service on a tenant of residential premises shall be personal service, which includes but is not limited to the following
(a) service on the tenant in person
(b) delivery to any adult residing at the premises to be recovered
(c) by courier where the tenant cannot be found, by delivering same at the premises sought to be recovered and the courier shall provide proof of delivery; or
(d) affixing the notice on a prominent part of the premises to be recovered and providing corroborative proof of service.18. Service of Notices for Business Premises
Proper service on a tenant of a business premises shall be by
(a) delivery to a person at the business premises sought to be recovered; or
(b) affixing the notice on a prominent part of the premises to be recovered and providing corroborative proof of service.19. Duty to notify other persons in occupation
Where the tenant is a person other than an individual (including a corporate entity), the landlord shall ensure proper service of all notices required under this Law on the tenant:
Provided that the failure of the tenant to notify any other person in occupation shall not affect the proceedings to recover possession.20. Persons in unlawful occupation
Where a person claims possession of premises which he alleges is occupied solely by a person in unlawful occupation, the proceedings for recovery of the premises shall be by the summary procedure contained in the Civil Procedure Rules of the relevant court.