Know Your Tenancy Rights; Number 4 Will Shock You

Dec 28, 2023


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Know Your Tenancy Rights; Number 4 Will Shock You

When renting a home, especially as a first-time renter, you must be aware of the laws that protect you. It is important to know about these laws and how they apply to you and your relationship with your landlord. This guide explains all your rights as a renter in Nigeria.


1. Right to Rent a Property:

This is very important. In a culturally diverse country like Nigeria, it is common to allow emotions to play out when deciding whether or not to rent to someone. Some reasons given by some landlords for refusing to rent to anyone include:
a. Being an unmarried woman
b. Being someone from a tribe other than that of the landlord.

However, it is wrong to deny anyone tenancy on the basis of gender, marital status, or ethnic diversity.

You have the right to rent a property in any part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This means that if you are from Zamfara, you have the right to rent and live in Enugu, and vice versa. Your state of origin is not important in the consideration process for a landlord. What should only be important is if you have enough funds to pay for the rent, the caution fee, and any other legal fee required.

Section 43 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states that, as a citizen of the country, you have "the right to acquire and own immovable property anywhere in Nigeria."


2. Right to sole and exclusive possession

Your landlord does not co-own your property with you. Once you have passed all required checks and made payment for your rental, as well as signed all documents, you have total, irrevocable rights to your property.

Anyone who wishes to gain entry to your rental can only do so after they have sought and obtained your express permission. Your landlord does not retain any rights either. All rights they may have were relinquished upon signing the tenancy agreement.


3. Right to a clear and written agreement

Your landlord should not rent to you solely based on a verbal agreement. All agreements must be expressly stated on a document, and on them should be legally binding clauses that govern the roles of the landlord on the one hand and the tenant on the other.

Although the law may permit verbal agreements, you should make sure that all terms are clear and that both parties have signed each page.

Carefully read over the document and get second opinions from your lawyer. It is important to avoid clauses that do not concern your tenancy or those that invade your privacy.


4. Right to a safe and habitable rental

Your right to a habitable rental is inalienable. You can compel your landlord to maintain a safe and habitable rental. Not even a "disclaimer" can shield the landlord from legal reproof if you sue him for an inhabitable rental.

You have the right to a safe and habitable rental, no matter how much your rent is. The rights a high-end renter has are not different from those of a low-end one. As such, your landlord will be held responsible if the home
a. lacks basic structural integrity
b. is not maintained, especially in common areas.
c. has faulty wiring.

In a legal ruling in Chukwuma & Ors v. Awon, the Court held that a landlord owns a duty of care to a tenant. The ruling can be found here 


5. Right to a receipt

It is your right as a tenant to request and receive the receipt of any payment made to a landlord for a property or for any add-on services.

You can make this request to the landlord or anyone he has assigned to act as his manager. This includes his lawyer. The receipt will be first-hand evidence of your right to the property.

If your landlord refuses to issue you a receipt, they are liable for legal action.


6. Right to Quit Notice

Your landlord cannot send you out of his property without giving you a quit notice. This notice gives you sufficient time to prepare to move out of the property, including time to find another apartment.

Before you are evicted from your property, make sure you have been given a quit notice.

There are varying durations a quit notice must last. They include:
1. For a one-week tenancy, you have one week of quit notice.
2. For a one-month tenancy, you have one month of quit notice.
3. For a one-year tenancy, you have 6 months of quit notice plus an extra 7 days.


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We try to make sure that the information here is accurate at the time of publishing. But the property market moves fast and some information may now be out of date. Zerodip accepts no responsibility or liability for any decisions you make based on the information provided. Graphics and images used here are for information purposes - we do not have ownership right over them.

Know Your Tenancy Rights; Number 4 Will Shock You

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