Forum

As a Landlord, Here Is How To Lawfully Eject A Tenant From Your House

It is without doubt that a landlord, being the owner of the property, may decide to eject a tenant simply because they intend to use their premises or failure to pay rent by the tenant.

Ejecting a tenant can be a very daunting task and many landlords usually resort to self help. Self help is the ultimate use of ones efforts to evict a tenant from their premises and this includes: changing the key locks of the tenant’s building, mobilizing uniformed personnel to forcefully remove the tenant and their belongings from the premises, seizing the tenant’s property and/or employing other forceful ejection mechanisms. Doing these are against the law and you could risk earning yourself a jail term for forcefully ejecting your tenant.

There are laid down procedures put in place by the law which must be adhered to. So, in this article I will give the procedure for ejection of tenants under the Nigerian Law. Lagos State Tenancy Law 2011 will be used as the law of reference in this post.

STEP ONE – ISSUANCE OF QUIT NOTICE

The first step to take in evicting your tenant is to have your lawyer serve him/her a quit Notice. The notice to quit is a statutory requirement for the termination of all forms of periodic tenancies. A notice to quit must contain; The type of tenancy (yearly or monthly etc), the date to give up possession and the description of the property (address also). The duration stated on the quit notice must rest largely on the duration of the tenancy. Below is a breakdown of the legally approved duration for quit notice in Nigeria:

A one-year (or above) tenancy will require at least a notice of 6 months

A one-month tenancy will require a minimum notice of one month

A one-week tenancy will require a minimum notice of one week.

STEP 2 – ISSUANCE OF OWNER’S INTENTION TO RECOVER POSSESSION

The next step to take if the tenant still refuses to vacate is to serve him with a notice of owners intention to apply to recover possession. This notice is a notice informing the tenant of the intention of the landlord to apply to court and recover the premises from the tenant. It is given for 7 days, within which the tenant must vacate or prepare to go to court. For the notice to be valid, the 7 days must be clear and not short of one day. This notice must contain; The type of tenancy, the description of the property, grounds and particulars of the claim, 7 clear days within which to vacate, the capacity in which the lawyer is writing and the outstanding rent to be paid. At this point, the tenant many decide to move.

STEP 3 – COMMENCEMENT OF ACTION IN COURT

Once all notices have expired and the tenant refuses to vacate the rental property, the landlord can within seven days from the expiration of the notice of owner’s intention to recover possession, file a claim to a magistrate court within the jurisdiction of the property for recovery of premises. This step will entail a court process that requires the calling of witnesses and other evidences. A judgment will then be delivered by the court who will order the tenant to vacate the premises either immediately or on a specified date, if it is proven that he/she has breached any of the covenants or is in arrears of rent.The landlord can in addition to the claim for recovery, make claims for arrears of rent and mense profits.

CONCLUSION

Section. 44 of the Lagos State Tenancy Law, 2011 provides for the punishment for forcibly removing a tenant. Such a person when found guilty shall be liable to a fine not exceeding Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira or a maximum of Six months imprisonment. It is therefore advisably to follow the provisions of the law, and where not sure or clear, it would best to engage an experience real estate attorney to provide adequate and efficient legal assistance. As people say, prevention is better than cure, act prudently and avoid future litigation.

Let me know your views on this guide. Use the comments below.

Source: Lagos State Tenancy Law 2011

Drop Your Comments