The relationship between a tenant and a landlord is one of the commonest in Nigeria. From housing apartments to commercial apartments or office spaces, there is always a cause for individuals to enter into a tenancy agreement. Before and after you rent that house, there are some rights that are exclusive to you. They include:
1. Right to be issued a receipt of payment
Even though paying rent is important as a tenant, it does not serve as sufficient proof that you are a tenant. A valid receipt must contain the name of the landlord and the tenant, the amount paid, the date such amount is paid, and the description of the property in question. Non issuance of a receipt of payment is an actionable offence as it goes against the right of the tenant. Also, if the rent is paid in parts, there should be receipt for each part payment made.
2. Right to a written tenancy agreement
Tenancy agreements can be oral or written. However, the law stipulates that tenancy above three years need to be in writing. It is advised that tenants enter into a written agreements with their landlords to clear any ambiguity and show clearly their rights and obligations. A tenant should also make sure that their lawyer goes through such agreements to make sure that their rights are adequately protected.
3. Right to peaceful enjoyment of property
Once payment of rent is made, the tenant has an exclusive right to the property paid for. He determines who can enter or act in any way regarding the said property. The tenant has a right to live in the property undisturbed for the time stipulated in the tenancy agreement and he can sue for trespass against anyone including the landlord. The landlord may supervise generally, but he is to do so with the knowledge of the tenant and during reasonable hours of the day.
4. Right to habitable premises
A tenant has the right to live in premises that are fit and habitable. If after moving into such premises, it becomes impossible or difficult to live there due to flood or damages, the tenant can request the landlord to do the needful. An exception to this is if the tenancy agreement states otherwise.
5. Right to be issued a valid notice to quit
Once the stipulated time for the tenancy expires, the landlord is to issue a notice to quit to the tenant. In the case of a yearly tenancy, you are entitled to 6 months notice, and for a monthly tenancy, 1 week notice. If the tenancy agreement states otherwise, you are bound by it. In Lagos however, the landlord may not need to serve you notice to quit before the expiration of your tenancy.