The real estate industry in Nigeria involves millions of people but is hardly regulated by any official documents. Plus, many landlords and tenants prefer to enter verbal agreements without signing any legal paperwork. However, both the tenant and the landlord are still entitled to a set of rights, and here they are.
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1. Rights of a tenant
Right now, tenants in Nigeria are entitled to the following rights:
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- Right to uniterrupted use of the property. When a tenant leases the property from the landlord, he should expect not to be bothered by the landlord, his agents, or strangers. If the landlord continues visiting the property unannounced and at irregular hours, the tenant has every right to sue the landlord.
- Right to an agreement. Before the tenant can move into the property, he and the landlord must enter an agreement. It can be verbal or written, but it is advised to make a written agreement signed by both parties. The agreement needs to detail every aspect of the deal, including the location and size of the property, the size of the rent, and the date by which the rent should be paid every month.
- Right to the payment receipt. Every time the tenant pays his rent to the landlord, it must be reflected in a payment receipt. The payment receipt should be signed by the landlord and include the details such as the amount of payment, the date of the payment, and the period that the rent covers. If the tenant has made a partial payment, it should be also reflected in the receipt.
- Right to a 7-day notice to recover the premises. Once a landlord issues a notice for the tenant to recover the premises, the tenant should have 7 days to vacate the premises. The landlord should not be able to evict the tenant before those 7 days are over.
2. Rights of a landlord
The Nigerian law regarding property rights protects the interests of landlords. Here are the rights a landlord is entitled to:
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- Right to review the rent. When a tenant signs an agreement with the landlord, they both agree on a specific duration of the agreement and the amount of rent that cannot be changed during the present rent period. However, the landlord reserves the right to increase the rent when the agreement is over, while the tenant has the right to refuse to pay a higher rent and move to another property.
- Right to issue or not to issue a quit notice. A quit notice is an essential aspect of the landlord-tenant relationship in Nigeria, but there are situations where the landlord can demand the tenant to vacate the premises even without a 7-day notice. These situations include the tenant breaking the rules specified by the agreement or waiving his right to a quit notice in the signed agreement.
- Right to regain tenancy. The agreement signed by the landlord and the tenant should always include the end date. When the agreement is over, the landlord has the right not to renew the tenancy even if the tenant expresses his desire to continue renting the property.
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