As soon as upon a time, prior to the advent of current legislation regulating Landlord and Tenant relations, Tenants ended up being on the mercy of their Landlords who wielded and exercised excessive powers over them. Then, the Landlord had the ability to unilaterally improve rent and also the Tenant was not in a very location to query the increment however arbitrary, unconscionable and unjustified the increment was. The Landlord also received the facility to evict the tenant without having advancing any cause for undertaking so. He was beneath no obligation to offer on the Tenant observe of his intention to terminate the tenancy or of his intention to evict him. If your Landlord needed to evict a Tenant from his residence, he was entitled to implement pressure or to resort to self-support to try and do so. Without a doubt, the power in the Landlord in all those times over the Tenant knew no bounds.
And so it was which the Tenant stood weak, powerless and vulnerable inside the experience in the huge powers of his Landlord. His capacity to bargain effectively along with his Landlord was eclipsed and certainly extinguished with the excessive, arbitrary and autocratic powers with the Landlord above him.
This express of affairs gave rise on the imbalance and inequality which have occur to characterize the relationship in between Landlord and Tenant currently. At that time, the connection of Landlord and Tenant was a contractual a single involving two unequal events, with the Landlord because the impressive occasion and the Tenant, the weaker social gathering. The phrases and situations of the tenancy or lease agreement ended up supplied to your Tenant using a carry-it-or-depart-it basis. The Tenant received no say as to his legal rights, pursuits, obligations and duties under the agreement. It absolutely was thus the need to appropriate the injustices, abuse, oppression and exploitation that Tenants suffered on the palms of their landlords that necessitated the intervention of administration rules in contracts involving landlords and their tenants. These rules take the type of legislative enactments popularly known as Tenancy Laws, Landlord and Tenant Legal guidelines or Lease Handle and Recovery of Premises Laws. In Nigeria, a number of laws were enacted to defend tenants from your excesses of Landlords.
The Federal Government of Nigeria likewise because the several says has produced several laws to the subject. Legislation on Landlord and Tenant relations at the moment in Nigeria consist of:
one. The Recovery of Premises Act, 1990 which would be the law regulating Landlord and Tenant relations in Abuja
two. The Lease Control and Recuperation of Premises legal guidelines of a variety of says in Nigeria.
three. The Tenancy Legislation of Lagos State, 2011.
Observe that these legal guidelines are equivalent in provision and effect, with only minor differences. The objectives of these laws are twofold:
(one) To manage to pay for tenants the greatest probable defense towards exploitation and oppression by landlords by stopping arbitrary increment of hire along with the unlawful eviction of tenants.
(two) To stability, unify and harmonize the interests and protection under the law with the landlord with individuals with the tenant and thereby prevent inequitable and unfair bargains where one particular social gathering gains with the expense from the other party.
Regrettably having said that, these legal guidelines have didn’t effect or achieve the very much wanted balance and equity inside legal rights, pursuits and obligations of Landlords and Tenants. Rather then correcting or curing the inequity, imbalance and inequality inside the balance of bargaining powers and positions of your Landlord viz-a-viz the tenant, what these legal guidelines have accomplished can be a close to comprehensive reversal with the balance of bargaining ability in favour in the Tenant. These legal guidelines have turned the bargaining desk towards the Landlord and tilted the steadiness of bargaining energy in favour with the Tenant.
Contrary to well-liked opinion which the tenant would be the weaker get together in Landlord-Tenant partnership, the Landlord who was previously the stronger and dominating social gathering inside the Landlord-Tenant relationship is now the weak occasion. This can be simply because the legislation has empowered the Tenant to bargain efficiently and at times ruthlessly, in the cost of his landlord. Without a doubt, the regulation has striped the landlord of his energy to bargain successfully with the tenant. The wish of your legislature to pay for Tenants safeguard in the excesses of Landlords is responsible for this sorry condition of affairs. The resolution in the legislature to safe and guarantee the tenure of tenants by imposing restrictions on the ability in the Landlord to recover possession of his premises from Tenants is on the root with the Landlord’s present woes and misfortune.
This really is why it really is often said that it is easier for the camel to cross as a result of the eye of the needle than for it is for a Landlord in Nigeria to recuperate possession of his premises from his tenant. The difficulty experienced by landlords in recovering possession from tenants is being a result of statutory protections entrenched in Nigerian regulation by which tenants are sought to generally be protected by guaranteeing and securing their tenure. To secure and guarantee a Tenants’ tenure and to avoid unlawful or forceful evictions, Nigerian law provides that wherever a landlord needs to repossess his premises from a tenant, he have to apply to ct for an buy to recuperate possession, except the tenant voluntarily relinquishes possession of the premises. As we shall soon see, by depriving the landlord of his ability to repossess his premises and investing identical in the courts, the tenant is thereby promoted and elevated to some position where he stands more than and over his landlord. Apart in the rule requiring landlords to sue in court to recuperate possession of their premises, you’ll find many other impediments imposed by law within the proper of your landlord to recuperate possession of his premises. The cumbersome and time wasting requirement of serving the tenant notices of landlord’s termination of the tenancy on a specified go out with at the same time as of landlord’s intention to utilize to court to recover possession is chief among such impediments.
Much more offensive and destructive in the suitable of your landlord to repossession of his premises in Nigeria could be the notion of statutory tenancy. What this concept suggests is usually that a tenant whose expression has expired (and who ought to possess moved out in the premises) enjoys the complete protection and backing of your legislation to stay around the premises and cannot be ejected from the premises until a court docket orders him to vacate the premises. These types of a defaulting tenant is entitled to company of statutory notices like every other form of tenant. The Supreme Court docket in the scenario of African Petroleum Ltd. V. Owodunni went as considerably as holding that a statutory tenant(i.e. is a single whose term has expired but who has refused to move out) can sue the landlord for trespass to property. In accordance to your Apex courtroom, such a tenant stands from the similar situation being a tenant whose tenancy still subsists. One wonders if your regulation encourages tenants to get bad tenants who violate or dishonour their covenants with landlords.
Which the landlord now stands within a precarious situation the place he dangers losing his financial commitment in his property is as a result fairly apparent. To some people, the assertion that the landlord may be the weaker party and that he suffers serious hardship with the instance of his tenants sounds preposterous and untrue. Nonetheless, we only have to remind ourselves in the undeniable fact that possession (albeit, exclusive possession) may be the incredibly basis upon which landlord and tenant relationships are founded to value the reality and veracity of that assertion. It can be a notorious truth which the impediments and restrictions imposed by regulation on landlords’ proper to repossess his premises unnecessarily and unjustly delays, frustrates, suspends and postpones the right in the landlord to possession of his premises.The emasculation from the landlord’s electrical power to repossess his premises has left him at the mercy in the tyranny and fraud of his tenants. It is typical information that tenants now use the law as an instrument to perpetuate fraud on their landlords. Emboldened with know-how of your safeguard accorded and afforded them by regulation, tenants now recklessly (and occasionally deliberately) violate and dishonour their covenants with their landlord. It is common to determine tenants who’re in arrears of hire for various a long time refuse to maneuver out in the premises. This can be simply because they understand that they will use the courts to delay and frustrate the landlord’s proper to possession.
The inefficiency with the judicial process as well as the very long delays knowledgeable in our courts is a fantastic device of battle and resistance inside fingers of a lot of a tenant. It will take an normal time period of 24 months in court docket for landlord to recuperate possession of his premises. If your tenant is equipped using the strength to delay and frustrate the proper with the landlord to repossess his premises through the legal and courtroom system and by so carrying out to elongate his time period, then he is without a doubt the master of the bargaining desk. As they say, he who has silver tends to make the policies. Inside context of our dialogue, he who’s in possession and decides when and how to relinquish possession tends to make the principles. That person could be the tenant.
This favoritism and a person-sided affection in the law in the direction of tenants for the detriment/expense of their landlords can be a cause of concern inside the authentic property and construction industries in Nigeria. The ugly phenomenon of tenants’ refusal to present up possession soon after the expiry of their terms has caused and continues to cause untold hardship on landlords and genuine property traders.
According to Oni, “… the rate of default in rent obligations amongst tenants in Lagos metropolis is large. In the survey of 120 property surveyors,12 (representing 10%) stated that tenants normally fall into arrears for nearly six weeks,86 (about 72%) stated that default is among 7 and twelve months and twenty two ( about 18 %) ended up in the opinion that rents are owed for in excess of twelve months. In other words, the analyze revealed that 90% of the respondents had skilled default in rent for greater than seven months… ”
Hence, landlords and investors eliminate billions to tenants who default in payment of rent. The pain of losing rental salary resulting from default by tenants to pay out hire and to honour other obligations under the tenancy agreement is aggravated because of the difficulty of repossessing the premises from poor tenants. The law forbids resort to further-judicial suggests to repossess premises. It prohibits the utilization of power or another means of self-aid to evict tenants. A landlord who intends to repossess his premises from his tenant must search for his remedy through the court as well as the judicial technique the place he faces uncertainty as towards the outcome or duration with the approach. Even when judgment is ultimately entered in his favour, the landlord would have spent an inordinate quantity of time prior to judgment is provided and might invested much more time in executing the judgment.
The effect of this think of affairs is usually that it discourages investment inside the genuine property and development sectors from the Nigerian overall economy. The lack of buyer self confidence in these sectors means that fewer properties is going to be built and this just isn’t good to the housing sector in Nigeria. The appropriate and regulatory bottlenecks and challenges preventing simple and swift of recovering of premises from tenants is obviously a significant expense chance.
Nigeria is really a nation with a population of 170 million men and women most of whom are in dire need to have of respectable, reasonably priced housing. In accordance to the Earth Traditional bank Report, Nigeria at the moment incorporates a housing deficit of 17 million houses. A whooping sum of N59.5 trillion is required to bridge this gap in housing requirements. Using the current state of our legal guidelines and also the judicial program with its bias for unscrupulous, irresponsible tenants, there’s no way that this housing deficit might be bridged.
To say that Nigerian legislation on landlord and tenant relations has didn’t balance or harmonize the pursuits and legal rights in the landlord with people of the tenant is to think the apparent. For this cause, these legal guidelines have did not correct the extremely difficulty for which they had been enacted. Instead, these legal guidelines have produced new difficulties.
We agree together with the argument of one American author who says that “… as long as government control is the only substitute for industry handle, the benefits will be arbitrary and unfair. By offering the events for the landlord-tenant agreement far more express and tenants an equal voice, the federal government would have lifted itself away from the backs of the people today and nevertheless be a better enforcer of tenants’ legal rights… ”
We agree with submission of this writer which the remedy for the issue of inequality of bargaining strength among landlord and tenant lies neither in a lot more administration regulation nor in a free marketplace technique in which there may be no regulation whatsoever. Quite, “the answer would be to enable the parties, not the government, set the terms in the rental agreement while the government sets the outdoors limits.”
We consequently ought to impact a complete overhaul with the latest lawful and regulatory regime in Nigeria and replace it using a program that balances the pursuits and protection under the law of your landlord with those of the tenant.