Most tenants are completely ignorant and oblivious of their right under the law that is why some callous and fiendish landlords take undue advantage of their ignorance and inability to procure the service of a professional to trample on their right. It is for this that the RIGHT of a tenant under the Lagos state tenancy law will be analysed albeit briefly. 1) RIGHT TO QUIET AND PEACEABLE ENJOYMENT OF THE PREMISES: This is the first right that a tenant enjoys once a tenancy agreement has been agreed upon. This right gives the tenant exclusive possession of the premises, freedom from unreasonable disturbance, complete privacy and entitles the tenant to make use of common areas for reasonable and lawful purposes. This right is provided for under section 6 (1) of the Tenancy Law of Lagos state. 2) PAYMENT OF ADVANCE RENT: Some landlord are in the habit of demanding for rent in excess of six months for monthly tenants or in excess of one year for yearly tenants, in respect of a sitting tenant , or two or more years rent for a prospective or future tenants. It is the right of the tenant to reject such demand or offer from the landlord, as section (4) of the Tenancy Law makes it unlawful for any person who receives or pays rent in excess of what is prescribed in this section. In other words, both the landlord who receives and the tenant who pays excess rent shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of one hundred thousand naira (N100, 000) or three months imprisonment 3) RENT PAYMENT RECEIPT: It is the right of the tenant to demand for receipt of payment, whenever any payment is done. The reason for this is that some landlord can deny receiving any payment from the tenant, especially when such payment is not done through the bank or other electronic means, demand for rent receipt can also be helpful in the event of dispute as it can assist the court to determine whether or not any arrears of rent is owed, the amount owed and other salient issues. This right is provided for under section 5 of the Tenancy Law of Lagos state and it prescribes a fine of N100,000 to any landlord who fails to issue a rent payment receipt 4)RIGHT TO DEMAND FOR COMPENSATION: There are times when a tenant upon entering a new apartment or premises or while still living in his existing apartment, will decide to carry out some improvements or restructuring on the apartment ,say for example, repainting of the house , putting up new tiles, re-roofing of the house ,installation of bore hole in the apartment and other noticeable improvement, such a tenant is entitled to compensation upon quitting the apartment, but the tenant must first get the written consent of the landlord before carrying out any such improvement. This is provided for by section 6 (2) of the tenancy law of Lagos State. 5) RIGHT TO REQUEST FOR PROPER NOTICE: There are times when a landlord in his unlawful desire to eject a tenant, issues to the tenant invalid and incompetent quit notice. A notice is said to be invalid or incompetent when it falls short of the statutory requirements. Section 13 of the Tenancy Law of Lagos State provides that in the absence of the stipulation of notice to be given by either party, the following shall apply; One month notice for a monthly tenant; Three months notice for a quarterly tenant; Three months notice for half a yearly tenant; and Six months notice for a yearly tenant. What this means is that if the landlord and tenant do not agree on the length of notice to be issued upon the termination of the tenancy, the landlord cannot give a shorter notice than the ones stated above. The implication is that a tenant cannot be ejected from the apartment unless a valid notice has been issued. It is also the law that even after a valid quit notice has been issued, the landlord must also issue a seven (7) days notice to the tenant before instituting any legal action against the tenant. This is provided for by section 16 of the tenancy law. RIGHT TO REJECT UNREASONABLE INCREASE OF RENT: There are situations where some landlord owing to excessive greed and avarice, will unilaterally decide to unreasonably increase the rent of their tenant. It is the duty of a tenant who is aggrieved to apply to the court, for an order declaring that the increase in rent is unreasonable. If the court is satisfied that the increase is unreasonable, the court may order that the increase in rent be reduced .This right is provided for by section 37 of the tenancy law 6) RIGHT NOT TO BE UNLAWFULLY AND ILLEGALLY EJECTED: It’s a principle of law that no one should take the law into his/her hand, but there are some landlord owing to their status in the society, how wealthy they are, how poor there tenant is, and other factors, will resort to self help to intimidate, oppress, subdue and unlawfully eject their tenant. Section 44 of the Tenancy Law of Lagos state provide for a fine of two hundred thousand naira or a maximum of 6month imprisonment for any person who demolishes ,alters or modifies a building, with a view to eject a tenant without the approval of the court, or any person who attempt to forcibly eject or forcibly eject a tenant. It also provides same punishment for any person who threatens or molests a tenant by action or words or any person who willfully damages any premises with a view to eject a tenant. The implication of this section is that any landlord who resorts to self-help by ejecting or trying to eject a tenant under any of the above circumstances will have an axe to grind with the law. In conclusion, let me state that it is a trite principle of law that where there is a right, there is a remedy. It is the duty of any tenant who whose right has been trampled upon to seek legal redress in a court of law.]]>
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