A person could decide to rent a property for many reasons. It could be in order to reside in such premises, to use it for commercial reasons, agricultural purposes, etc. Whatever the reason might be, such person is entitled to certain rights which are backed and enforced under law.
In this article, we would consider five rights that every tenant is entitled to while renting a property in Nigeria. They include:
1. Right to exclusive possession:
This refers to the right to use a property by oneself, and to the exclusion of all others including the landlord himself. This automatically means that before anyone enters such premises, they would need the consent of the tenant in possession else they will be seen as trespassers.
2. Right to receipt of payment:
The moment a tenant pays rent, he or she is entitled to be given a receipt symbolising payment to the landlord for renting such property. Under the Lagos Tenancy Law, failure of a landlord to issue a receipt of payment is an offence which attracts a penalty of 100,000 naira.
3. Right to habitable premises:
Every tenant has a right to live in habitable premises during the duration of their tenancy. If the property in question becomes impossible to live in either because of some damaged utilities or flooding, a request can be made to the landlord to put such premises in a habitable state.
4. Right to be issued a notice to quit when the tenancy expires:
Every tenant has a right to be issued a notice to quit before he or she is evicted from a premises for any reason. Section 13 of the Lagos State Tenancy law provides for the time frame that should be given for the various duration of tenancies. However, where the tenancy agreement states otherwise, the need for a notice to quit may be done with.
5. Right to Tenancy Agreement:
While a tenancy may be created without putting the terms into writing, it is a right that a tenant has. It is important to insist on an agreement in order to clearly spell out rights and obligations of both parties. It is also advisable to ask for a solicitor to review any agreement for your own good.