7 years after, landlords, tenants disregard Lagos Tenancy Law

Posted by News Express | 28 October 2018 | 1,812 times

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•Tenancy agreement form

When the former Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, now minister of Power, Works and Housing was appending his signature to the Lagos Tenancy law on Thursday, August 25, 2011, he was no doubt, confident that the law will not be observed in the breach, particularly as it was aimed at regulating the relationship between the landlords and tenants in the state.

In assenting the Tenancy and Lagos Park and Garden Bills, Fashola said by the provision of the law, “any landlord that collects rent in excess of six months for a sitting tenant and one year from a new tenant will either be jailed for three months or pay N100.000 fine.”

He explained that “The issues at stake in the new laws are serious moral issues that require voluntary compliance rather than strict enforcement from government.

“The law protects both the tenants and the landlords; there is no need for the landlords and tenants to panic over the law as there are provisions in the law that makes it impossible for the tenant to be elusive and shy away from their obligations to the landlords.

It would be recalled that the Lagos State Tenancy Law enacted in August 2011 as expressed in the foregoing governs the landlord-tenant relationship in Lagos. 

The Law is “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 connected purposes”.

Despite the awareness that has been created as to the rights of the tenants and landlords, respectively, both stakeholders have since the last seven years been exhibiting ridiculous level of ignorance. For instance, even if the Tenancy Law states it is illegal for a landlord or his agent to demand or receive for rent in excess of 6 months for a monthly tenant, or one year from a yearly tenant, tenants and landlords are by each passing day observing the aspect of the law in the breach, thus compelling those that are well informed about the law to be in a state of quandary as to the effectiveness of the law.

In the same vein, the Lagos Tenancy Law provides that it is unlawful for a landlord or his agent to demand or receive from a new or prospective tenant, rent in excess of one year in respect of any premises; it is also unlawful for the new or prospective tenant to offer or pay rent in excess of 1 year.

The penalty for both landlord and tenant involved in such an arrangement is a fine of N100,000 or to three months imprisonment. Surprisingly, despite the legal provision, tenants still willingly oblige to potential landlords’ request, in excess of one year ostensibly for being too desperate to have a roof over their heads.

The law which was widely and highly applauded on account of the fact that it would regulate the relationship between landlords and tenants, was equally aimed at curbing the excesses of Landlords who were wont to exploit their tenants, and also reduce the antics of tenants, who fail to live up to their tenancy obligations.

However, seven years down the line, the myth of invincibility that surrounds Landlords in Lagos is yet to be shattered as Landlords still collect upfront payments from Tenants without being receiving the consequence of the law.

On the other hand, the underprivileged who the former governor thought the law would protect are on their own not pressing for their rights as it appears they were afraid to do that.

Ostensibly to demonstrate the fact that the law is meant to be obeyed, and not to be breached, Lagos State Government has for the umpteenth times, particularly on the trail of the enactment urged sitting tenants whose landlords unreasonably increase their rents after the expiration of their advance payment to seek redress in the law court.

Excerpted from Daily Independent report

Source: News Express

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