The tenancy laws in Nigeria are considered by many to be adversarial to landlords, stating that the strict requirements imposed by law on landlords have made recovery of rent and property unduly rigorous and often slow. While others take the opposite stance, stating that these laws protect the tenants from abusive and overreaching landlords. Whatever position one takes, a fact that cannot be denied is that no landlord wants a tedious litigation.
So here are seven (7) tips to make Recovery of premises an easier process.
A fixed term tenancy is a great incentive for a quick recovery of premises. The fixed term has an automatic termination and does not accommodate yearly tenancies with automatic renewals wherein tricky requirements for notices are unacceptable for Landlords trying to avoid any future hassle.see s.26 Tenancy Law of Lagos State.
Customarily, parties of interest still utilize solely “registered post” as a means of serving notices. With new conventions, one can insert a clause that allows for notices to be served via email, WhatsApp and other specified electronic mediums. The Supreme Court has already taking note of the fact that in this digital age, notices that were ordinarily sent by paper and other analogue means have now been replaced by electronic modes. See C.M & E. S. Ltd. v. Piezan Services Nig. Ltd. (2020) 1NWLR (pt 1704)
- STRICT CONTRACTUAL PROVISIONS
Parties often desire a concise Contract and this dangerous desire creates a precarious legal exposure. The purpose of a contract is to outline the rights of parties and the need for a detailed contract to cover bases cannot be over emphasized. The contract should be able to account for unforeseen circumstances. For instances, parties often over look to serve appropriate notices on a time line designated by Law e.g S.13 of the Tenancy Laws of Lagos State is explicit on types on notices to be served in the absence of the contractual notice period, wherein six(6) notice to quit is served in the case of a yearly tenancy. However, parties may agree on a one (1) notice to be sufficient in a yearly tenancy.
The requirement for tenants to provide a guarantor is becoming more common. It’s is important you get the written consent of a guarantor. A tripartite contract may even be executed between the landlord, the tenant and the guarantor.
- SEVERANCE CLAUSE
At the instance of a court ruling, an overreaching or illegal obligation may render an entire contract void. Inclusion of a severance clause is cardinal for both parties.
- ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
With the substantial merits of ADR over litigation, it is absolutely vital for the tenancy to be subject to ADR.It aids the quick resolution of the contractual disputes. See s.2(3) and s.30 Tenancy Laws of Lagos.
- DUE DILIGENCE
Nothing can replace the peace of mind that comes with having a compliant tenant. A proper due diligence to inquire about every prospective tenant. Why did he/she leave previous residence? what does the previous landlord have to say about the prospective tenant? Is the office address correct? Etc.., The more information you can find about him/her the better picture you have of the type of tenant they may be. If one fails to investigate before letting out a property, one might just be at the mercy of investigating the tenant’s whereabouts when he/she stealthily moves out in the middle of the night with unpaid arrears of rent.
In conclusion, the above are just a few tips on the things to consider whilst contracting a Landlord and Tenant arrangement particularly in view of a quick recovery of premises should the need arise.
DISCLAIMER: The intention of this article is not to serve as legal advice to readers but a general guide on the subject matter. No reader should act on the information contained within without seeking specialised legal advice.