Introduction To The Lagos Tenancy Law
The tenancy law of Lagos state was passed into law by the Lagos state house of assembly in 2011. The Governor of the state at the time, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN assented to the bill at Ikeja on the 24th day of August 2011.
The Purpose of the Law
The main purpose of the law was to sanitize tenancy activities in the state as there were so many irregularities with the way and manner landlord and tenant relationships were created and terminated.
The Law was passed to regulate the rights and obligations under tenancy agreements and their relationship between the landlord and the tenant including the procedure for the recovery of premises and for connected purposes.
Who does the law cover?
The law relates to any dealing between landlord and tenants in Lagos state. It also does not exclude long leases and thus also covers the relationships between lessors and leasees within the state.
However, it is interesting to note that the law does not apply to the whole of Lagos State.
Although section one of the law states that “this law shall apply to all premises within Lagos State, including business and residential premises unless otherwise specified.”
The same section further proceeded to exclude certain areas within Lagos State. The areas excluded by the Tenancy Law are “Apapa, Ikeja GRA, Ikoyi and Victoria Island.”
It therefore means that when a dispute arises in the places mentioned above which relates to tenancy, a different law will be applied. The question to be asked is, which law should be applied. We will answer that later however, first let’s look at what type of properties the law applies to.
Types of Properties Excluded From The Lagos State Tenancy Law
The tenancy law applies to both business and residential premises. Although different rules apply when it comes to how the tenancy relationship is created and terminated under both type of premises, these rules can be found in the letters of the tenancy law.
While the law applies to both residential and business premises, it, however, does not apply to the following types of premises:
- Residential Premises owned or operated by an educational institution for its staff and students.
- Residential premises provided for emergency shelter
- Residential premises in a care or hospice facility or in a public or private hospital or a mental health facility.
- Residential premises made available in the course of providing rehabilitative or therapeutic treatment.
Which law applies to Apapa, Ikeja GRA, Ikoyi and Victoria Island?
Prior to the signing into law the Lagos Tenancy law, the applicable law was the Rent Control law and it covered the whole of Lagos State. However, upon enacting the Lagos State Tenancy Law in 2011, there was no provision in the subsequent law that repealed the old law. Thus the fact that the Rent Control law was not repealed means that it is still in force.
Hence, since the Lagos state tenancy law is not applicable to Apapa, Ikeja GRA , Ikoyi and Victoria Island, it therefore becomes obvious that the Rent Control Law will apply.
How does the Lagos State tenancy law apply?
The law applies to the relationship created between landlords and tenants. It also regulates the affairs of agents and anyone claiming to be acting on behalf of the landlord. The law respects the contract entered into by the landlord and the tenant but goes further to create a balance between what is fair and what ought not to be done.
It is therefore important that in the process of creating a tenancy relationship, a party takes into cognizance the rules, rights and obligations of the other party. It is also important that a standard tenancy agreement is drawn to define the precise terms of the agreement. The law, however, will take precedence where no tenancy agreement is drawn.
The Lagos State Tenancy Law has been in force since 2011 and had cured some of the defects it was meant to cure, however, a lot still remains to be achieved when it comes to tenancy law in Lagos and Nigeria as a whole. Lagos being the model state which other state follows has done quite a lot to improve the tenancy law.