The landlord-tenant relationship is usually bittersweet, depending on the parties involved. Some landlords are epitomes of the devil himself and they appear like they are on a mission to frustrate every tenant that stays in their apartment. They come up with odd regulations, increase the rent at will or simply ask the tenant to vacate the premises without any notice…
Tenants on the other hand can be very tricky. Some of them seem like they were sent from the pit of hell and will do all they can to avoid paying their rent. However, it is still very possible for landlords and tenants to live peaceably together.
A landlord has the liberty to eject a tenant from his property whenever he chooses. However, he is expected to do so according to the law. The first step a landlord should take towards evicting a tenant is to give the tenant a notice to quit as required by the law.
A notice to quit is the most important notice in evicting a tenant. It is given to the tenant so that he/she can have sufficient time to vacate the property and get another place to stay. The duration of the notice to quit will depend on the type of tenancy and it should be given to the tenant before the tenancy expires.
The notice must be in writing, state the full details of the tenant and the type of tenancy. These are very important because if there is any mistake on the notice to quit, it will be deemed illegal and will be thrown out of court. It is also important for tenants to know the contents of a notice to quit so that they are not deprived of their rights.
A notice to quit must contain:
- The name of the landlord or his agent.
- The name of the tenant.
- The type of the tenancy, whether weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly.
- The full description of the property.
- The date the tenant is expected to leave the property.
Once the notice to quit expires, the tenant is no longer considered a tenant of the landlord. Even though he may still reside in the property, he is no longer a lawful tenant. Still, the landlord cannot force him out of the property because that would be against the law. The landlord has to follow due process to evict the tenant.
The landlord is then expected to serve the tenant with another notice clearly stating his intention to recover his premises. This is popularly known as the 7 days’ notice. If the tenant still refuses to leave the property after the expiration of the 7 days’ notice, the lawyer can then proceed to court to get a court order to eject his tenant.
The laws guiding eviction of tenancy in Nigeria are quite strict and are expected to be followed to the letter. It has been argued that the law favours the tenant more than the landlord. It would seem that the effort and money the landlord put into building the apartment is not put into consideration. But it also does not seem fair to simply ask a man to move his family and properties out of an apartment without having any alternative place to go to. This is why the law frowns deeply against any forceful/unlawful ejection of any tenant.
The landlord though can still collect any arrears of rent from the tenant even after serving him with a notice to quit. But if he collects a fresh rent after giving the tenant a notice to quit, the tenancy is automatically renewed and the tenant can continue to stay in the property legally. The notice to quit will no longer be valid and a new tenancy relationship will begin.
For legal advice and updates, contact TyLegal 08061177031 or visit http://toyinomoniyi.blogspot.com.ng