- General Application
- RIGHTS AND OBLICATIONS OF LANDLORD AND TENANT
- FAST TRACK PROVISIONS FOR THE MAGISTRATES’ COURT
- WARRANT FOR POSSESSION
- OFFENCES AND PENALTIES
- MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
The Lagos State Hosue of Assembly enacts as follows:
(1) This Law shall apply to all premises within Lagos State, including business and residential premises unless otherwise specified
(2) This Law shall not apply to :
(a) residential premises owned or operated by an educational institution for its staff and students;
(b) residential premises provided for emergency shelter;
(c ) Residential premises
(i) in a care or hospice facility;
(ii) in a public or private hospital or a mental health facility; and
(d) that is made available in the course of providing rehabilitative or therapeutic treatment.
(1) A Court shall have jurisdiction on application made to it by a landlord or tenant or any interested person to determine matters in respect of the tenancy of any premises let before or after the commencement of this Law.
(2) The jurisdiction of a Court shall not be ousted by the defendant or respondent setting up the title of any other party.
(3) Proceedings may be brought under this Law at the High Court or at the Magistrates’ Court in the division or the Magisterial District in which the subject matter giving rise to the proceedings is located.
(4) Subject to the provision of this Law, a Court shall be bound by the practice and procedure in civil matters in the Magistrates’ Court or the High Court of Lagos State.
For the purposes of this Law, a tenancy agreement shall be deemed to exist where premises are granted by the landlord to a person for value whether or not it is
(a) express or implied;
(b) oral or in writing or partly oral or partly written; or
(c) for a fixed period.
(1) It shall be unlawful for a landlord or his agent to demand or receive from a sitting tenant rent in excess of three (3) months in respect of any premises.
(2) It shall be unlawful for a sitting tenant to offer or pay rent in excess of three (3) months in respect of any premises.
(3) Any person who receives or pay rent in excess of what is prescribed in this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to a fine of one hundred thousand naira (N100,000.00) or to three (3) months imprisonment or any other non-custodial disposition.
(1) As from the commencement of this Law, all landlords of premises shall upon payment of rent by the tenants, be obliged to issue a rent payment receipt to their tenants in respect of such payments.
(2) The receipt shall state the
(a) Date of which rent was received;
(b) Name of the landlord and the tenant;
(c) Location of premises in respect of which the rent is paid
(d) Amount of rent paid; and
(e) Period to which the payment relates.
(4) Any landlord who fails to issue a rent payment receipt to his tenant as prescribed under this Section, shall be liable to a fine of ten thousand Naira (N10,000.00) payable to the Court.
6. Rights of the parties
(1) The tenant’s entitlement to quiet and peaceable enjoyment includes the right to:
(a) reasonable privacy;
(b) freedom from unreasonable disturbance;
(c) Exclusive possession of the premises, subject to the landlord’s restricted right of inspection and
(d) the use of common areas for reasonable and lawful purposes.
(2) Where a tenant with the previous consent in writing of the landlord, effects improvements on the premises and the landlord determines the tenancy, such a tenancy shall be entitled to claim compensation for the effect improvements on quitting the premises.
Subject to any provision to the contrary in the agreement between the parties, the tenant shall be obliged to do the following:
(1) Pay the rents at the times and in the manner stated.
(2) Pay all existing and future rates and charges not applicable to the landlord by law.
(3) Keep the premises in good and tenantable repair, reasonable wear and tear excepted.
(4) Permit the landlord and his agents during the tenancy at all reasonable hours in the day time by written notice, to view the condition of the premises and to effect repairs in necessary parts of the building.
(5) Not to make any alterations or additions to the premises without the written consent of the landlord.
(6) Not to assign or sublet any part of the premises without the written consent of the landlord.
(7) Notify the landlord where structural or substantial damage has occurred to any part of the premises as soon as practicable.
8. Subject to any provision to the contrary in the agreement between the parties, the landlord shall be obliged to do the following:
(1) Not to disturb the tenant’s quiet and peaceable enjoyment of the premises.
(2) Pay all rates and charges as stipulated by law.
(3) Keep the premises insured against loss or damage.
(4) Not to terminate or restrict a common facility or service for the use of the premises.
(5) Not to seize or interfere with the tenant’s access to his personal property.
(6) Effect repairs and maintain the external and common parts of the premises.
9. Obligations of landlord regarding business premises only
Subject to any provision to the contrary in the agreement between the parties, a business premises agreement shall be taken to provide that where the landlord
(a) inhibits the access of the tenant to the premises in any substantial manner;
(b) takes any action that would substantially alter or inhibit the flow of the customers, clients or other persons using the tenant’s business premises;
(c) causes or fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent or remove any disruption to trading or use within the business premises which results in loss of profits to the tenant;
(d) fails to have rectify as soon as practicable, any breakdown of plant or equipment under his care and maintenance which results in loss of profits to the tenant; or
(e) fails to maintain or repaint the exterior or the common parts of the building or buildings of which the premises is comprised and after being given notice in writing by the tenant requiring him to rectify the matter, does not do so within such time as is reasonably practicable, the landlord, is liable to pay to the tenant such reasonable compensation as shall be determined by the Court, where the tenant effects the repairs or maintenance.
10. Service Charge, Facilities and Security Deposits
In any case where the landlord or his agent may in addition to rent require the tenant or licensee to pay:
(a) a security deposit to cover damage and repairs to the premises;
(b) for services and facilities for the premises; or
(c) service charges in flats or units that retain common parts on the premises, the landlord or his agent shall issue a separate receipt to the tenant for payments received the such tenant shall be entitled to a written account at least every six (6) months from the landlord of how moneys paid were disbursed.
11. Provision for re-entry
(a) any provision to the contrary in the agreement between the parties; and
(b) the service of process in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Law, upon the breach or non-observance of any of the conditions or covenants in respect of the premises, the landlord shall have the right to institute proceedings for an order to re-enter and determine the tenancy.
12. Length of Notice
(1) Where there is no stipulation as to the notice to be given by either party to determine the tenancy, the following shall apply
(a) a week’s notice for a tenant at will;
(b) one (1) month’s notice for a monthly tenant;
(c) three (3) month’s notice for a quarterly tenant;
(d) three (3) month’s notice for a half-yearly tenant; and
(e) six (6) months notice for a yearly tenant.
(2) In the case of monthly tenant, where he is in arrears of rent for three (3) months, the tenancy shall be determined and the Court shall make an order for possession and arrears of rent upon proof of the arrears by the landlord.
(3) In the case of a quarterly or half-yearly tenant, where he is in arrears of rent for six (6) months, the tenancy shall be determined and the Court shall make an order for possession and arrears of rent upon proof of the arrears by the landlord.
(4) Notice of tenants under subsection (1) ( ), (d) and (e) of this Section need not terminate on the anniversary of the tenancy but may terminate on or after the date of expiration of the tenancy.
(5) In the case of a tenancy for a fixed term, no notice to quit shall be required once the tenancy has been determined by effluxion of time and where the landlord intends to proceed to Court to recover possession, he shall serve a seven (7) days written notice of his intention to apply to recover possession as in Form “TL4” in the Schedule of this Law.
(6) The nature of a tenancy shall, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, be determined by reference to the time when the rent is paid or demanded.
13. Notice to Licensee
Where a person is a licensee and upon the expiration or withdrawal of his licence, he refuses or neglects to give up possession he shall be entitled to service of a seven (7) days notice of the owner’s intention to apply to recover possession as in Form “TL4” in the Schedule to this Law.
14. Notice required for abandoned premises
(1) A premises will be deemed to be abandoned where the
(a) tenancy has expired; and
(b) tenant has not occupied the premises since the tenancy expired and has not given up lawful possession of the premises.
(2) Following subsection (1) above, the landlord shall
(a) issue a seven (7) days notice of the landlord’s intention to recover possession as prescribed in Form “TL4”, which shall be served by pasting the notice on the abandoned premises; and
(b) apply to the court for an order for possession and an order to force open the premises.
15. Tenant refusing or neglecting to give up possession
As soon as the term or interest of any premises has been determined by a written notice to quit as in Form “TL2” or “TL3”, in the Schedule this his Law and the tenant neglects or refuses to quit and deliver up possession of the premises or any part of it, the Landlord or his agent may cause the tenant to be served with written notice as in Form “TL4”, signed by the Landlord or his agent, of the landlord’s intention to proceed to recover possession, stating the grounds and particulars of the claim, on a date not less than seven (7) days from the date of the notice.
16. Service of Notices
(1) Notices referred to under Sections 12-15 of this Law shall be by proper service as prescribed under Section 17 and 18.
(2) Proper service shall be service in such a manner that it can be established to the satisfaction of the court that the person to be served will have knowledge of any of the notices.
17. Service of Notices for Residential Premises
Proper service on a tenant of residential premises shall be personal service, which includes but is not limited to the following
(a) service on the tenant in person
(b) delivery to any adult residing at the premises to be recovered
(c) by courier where the tenant cannot be found, by delivering same at the premises sought to be recovered and the courier shall provide proof of delivery; or
(d) affixing the notice on a prominent part of the premises to be recovered and providing corroborative proof of service.
18. Service of Notices for Business Premises
Proper service on a tenant of a business premises shall be by
(a) delivery to a person at the business premises sought to be recovered; or
(b) affixing the notice on a prominent part of the premises to be recovered and providing corroborative proof of service.
19. Duty to notify other persons in occupation
Where the tenant is a person other than an individual (including a corporate entity), the landlord shall ensure proper service of all notices required under this Law on the tenant:
Provided that the failure of the tenant to notify any other person in occupation shall not affect the proceedings to recover possession.
20. Persons in unlawful occupation
Where a person claims possession of premises which he alleges is occupied solely by a person in unlawful occupation, the proceedings for recovery of the premises shall be by the summary procedure contained in the Civil Procedure Rules of the relevant court.
21. Service of process
Service of any summons, warrant or other process shall be effected in accordance with the provisions of the law for the time being in force relating to the service of the civil process of Magistrates’ Court or the High Court of Lagos State.
22. Use of Forms
Subject to the provisions of this Law, the forms contained in the Schedule to this Law, may be used in the cases to which they apply and when so used, shall be sufficient in Law.
23. Institution of proceedings to recover possession
Upon the expiration of the time stated in the notice as in Form “TL4”, if the tenant neglects or refuses to quit and deliver up possession, the landlord may file a claim by way of summons as in Form “TL6” for recovery of possession, either against the tenant or against such person so neglecting or refusing, in the Magisterial District or High Court Division where the premises is situated.
24. Grounds for Possession
(1) Unless the agreement expressly stipulates otherwise, the Court shall have power to make an order for possession upon proof of any of the following grounds -
(a) arrears of rent;
(b) breach of any covenant or agreement;
(c) where the premises is reasonably required by the landlord for personal use; and
(d) where the premises requires substantial repair.
(2) Notwithstanding any agreement between the parties, the Court shall have power to make an order for possession upon proof of any of the following grounds:
(a) the premises is being used for immoral or illegal purposes;
(b) the premises has been abandoned;
(c) the premises is unsafe and unsound as to constitute a danger to human life or property; or
(d) the tenant or any person residing or lodging with him or being his sub-tenant constitutes by conduct, an act of intolerable nuisance or induces a breach of a tenancy agreement.
25. Recovery of possession for a fixed term certain
(a) a tenancy is proved to be for a fixed term certain;
(b) the period of the tenancy has expired by effluxion of time; and
(c) Form “TL4” has been served in accordance with Section 12(5) of this Law, the landlord shall be entitled to recovery of the premises.
(1) In any matter under this Law, relating to any fact required to be proved at the trial of any action, evidence may be by written deposition or oral examination of witnesses in open court.
(2) All agreed documents or other exhibits shall be tendered from the bar or by the party where he is not represented by a legal practitioner.
(3) The oral examination of a witness during his evidence-in-chief may belimited to confirming his written deposition and tendering in evidence all disputed documents or other exhibits.
(4) Where the tenant does not enter any defence and the landlord can prove-
(a) that the defendant is still neglecting or refusing to deliver up the premises;
(b) the annual rental value of the premises;
(c) the nature of the tenancy or holding;
(d) the expiration or other determination of the tenancy within the time and manner stipulated by law;
(e) the title of the landlord, if such has accrued since the letting of the premises; and
(f) the service of the summons or writ if the defendant does not appear,
the court may make an order as in Form “TL7” for possession of the premises mentioned either immediately or on or before such time as the Court may direct, subject however, to a limit of six (6) months after the date the order is made.
(5) Subject to the provisions of Section 12 (2) and (3), the court shall, in making an order for possession of premises, have regard to all circumstances of the case including where appropriate, the question as to whether other premises are available for the landlord or the tenant.
(6) If the claimant named in the summons or writ fails to obtain an order under subsection (1) of this Section, the defendant may be awarded such costs as the Court may direct.
27. Payment of arrears of rent
(1) Where there is any matter for determination before a Court under this Law, and the tenant admits the arrears of rent or a portion of the rent, the Court may order the tenant to pay such arrears of rent before the Court proceeds with the matter.
(2) Where arrears of rent are claimed for the use and occupation of the premises, the claim shall show the rate at which such sum is claimed, and where it is proved, judgment shall be entered for the amount so proved.
28. Court as Receiver of refused rent
(1) In any proceedings under this law, where a landlord refuses to accept the current rent from a tenant, the tenant may, upon application, to the satisfaction of the Court, pay such rent to the Court’s Registry.
(2) The Landlord in such a case shall, upon application to the satisfaction of the Court, be entitled to collect the refused rent from the Court, subject to the deduction of a sum equal to ten percent (10%) of the refused rent to be retained by the Court.
(1) A valid agreement to arbitrate shall be upheld and shall be enforceable in the Court and an arbitration clause or agreement in a tenancy or lease agreement shall not be construed as an ouster of the court’s jurisdiction.
(2) In the absence of any agreement to the contrary or where the parties cannot agree on the appointment of an arbitrator or tribunal, the Court on receipt of a written application by any of the parties, shall act as the appointing authority, upon payment of the prescribed fees.
(3) An arbitration award shall be enforceable as a judgement or order of the Court upon registration.
(4) Application to enforce awards shall be made to the Court.
(5) An arbitration award in any matter covered by this Law must be registered within one (1) month of the date of the award.
30. Landlord may claim for mesne profits or for use and occupation of premises
Where mesne profits or a sum for the use and occupation of the premises are claimed the claim shall show the rate at which such sum is claimed, and where it is proved, judgment shall be entered for the amount so proved.
The provision in Section 31 to 38 shall apply to proceedings in the Magisterates’ Court.
(1) In proceedings under this Law, the Court shall promote reconciliation, mediation and amicable settlement between the parties.
(2) A Magistrate may refer proceedings in relation to any action, part of or any matter arising out of the action to mediation at a Citizens’ Mediation Centre established under the Citizens’ Mediation Centre Law to be dealth with in accordance with the Rules of Court.
(3) Referrals to mediation under the provisions of subsection (2) of this Section shall not to require the consent of the parties to the proceedings.
(4) The mediator shall submit the mediation agreement to the Court for endorsement for performance and enforcement within three (3) days after execution by the parties.
32. Claims against person in unlawful occupation
Where, in a possession claim against persons in unlawful occupation, the claimant does not know the name of the person in occupation of the premises, the claim shall be brought against “persons unknown” in addition to any other description available.
33. Claims supported by written depositions
Where in accordance with Section 26 of this Law, the claimant intends to rely
on a written deposition, he may at the time of filing the claim but not later than five (5) days thereafter, file witness statements, exhibits and other relevant documents.
34. Defence supported by written depositions
Where in accordance with Section 26 of this Law, the defendant intends to rely on a written deposition, he may at the time of filiing the defence but not later than (5) days thereafter, file witness statements exhibits and other relevant documents.
35. Service on persons in unlawful occupation
(1) Where in a possession claim against trespassers, the claim has been issued against “persons unknown”, the claim, particulars of claim, any witness statements, exhibits and any other relevant document shall be deemed seved on those persons by –
(a) attaching copies of the claim form, particulars of claim and any other relevant document to the main door or some other part of the land so that they are clearly visible;
(b) if practicable, inserting copies of those documents in a sealed transparent envelope addressed to “the occupiers” through the door or gate of the premises or letter box if there is one; or
(c) placing stakes in the land in places where they are clearly visible and attaching to each stake copies of the claim form, particulars of claim and any other relevant document in a sealed transparent envelope addressed to “the occupiers”
36. Defendant not defending claim
Where the claim is based on documentary evidence and the defendant does
not file a defence or appear at the trial and does not defend the claim, the Magistrate shall be entitled to adjudicate upon the claim in chambers but shall give judgment in open Court.
37. Unreasonable increase of Rent
(1) Subject to any agreement to the contrary, an existing tenant may apply to the Court for an order declaring that the increase in rent payable under a tenancy agreement is unreasonable.
(2) In determining whether an increase in the rent is unreasonable, the Court shall consider –
(a) the general level of rents for comparable premises in the locality or a similar locality;
(b) evidence of witnesses of the parties; and
(c) any special circumstances relating to the premises in question or any other relevant matter.
38. Application to set aside or vary judgement of Court
Any judgement by default under this Law shall be final and remain valid and may only be set aside upon application to the Magistrate on ground of fraud, non-service or lack of jurisdiction upon such terms as the court may deem fit.
39. Warrant for possession may be issued at any time
Where a landlord is entitled to possession of any premises, the Court may issue a warrant for possession, notwithstanding that the counterclaim is undetermined or unsatisfied.
40. Form and purpose of warrant for possession
A warrant for possession shall entitle the landlord to be put in possession of the premises to which the warrant relates and the certificate of execution shall be as in Form “TL10”.
41. Duration of Warrant
Notwithstanding any provision in any other Law, every warrant for possession shall bear the date after the day mentioned in the order for possession of the premises in question and shall be in force for three (3) months from such date:
Provided that a warrant may be renewed every three (3) months but shall not exceed three (3) renewals.
42. Warrant for possession justifies entry on premises
Any warranty to give possession of the premises to the person named in the warrant or to whom it may be directed, shall justify entry to him such assistance as he shall deem necessary and be given possession accordingly:
Provided that no entry upon such warrant shall be made on a Sunday or public holiday.
43. Enforcement of order of Court
At the expiration of the time ordered by the Court, if an order of possession of the Court is not obeyed, the Court at the instance of the landlord shall, where such order can be proved to have been served on the tenant, issue a warrant for possession, and if the order is that possession of the premises be given up by the tenant to the landlord, the Court shall immediately at the instance and at the cost of the landlord, issue a warrant for possession of the landlord.
44. Offences and penalties
(1) Subject to the provisions of any Law –
(a) any person who demolishes, alters or modifies a building to which this law applies with a view to ejecting a tenant and without the approval of the Court; or
(b) any person who in respect of any premises –
(i) attempts to forcibly eject or forcibly ejects a tenant;
(ii) threatens or molests a tenant by action or words, with a view to ejecting such tenant; or
(iii) wilfully damages any premises,
shall be guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine of up to two hundred and fifty thousand Naira (N250,000:00) or up to six (6) months imprisonment and any other non-custodial disposition.
(2) A Court shall have power to punish forcontempt in the face of the couert but may in other cases order the arrest and bring before it, any person suspected of having committed contempt of court and such a person shall as soon as practicable be brought to trial before a Court of law.
(3) Following subsection (2) of this Section, any person who –
(a) resists, molests, assaults, or in any way obstructs any officer of the Court or any other person from carrying out an order of the Court to serve any process or execute a warrant for possession; or
(b) has been put out of possession, by virtue of a warrant for possession, and unlawfully retakes possession of the premises after possession has been given to the landlord,
shall be charged with contempt and is liable to a fine of up to two hundred and fifty thousand Naira (N250,000:00) or up to six (6) months imprisonment and any other non-custodial disposition.
(4) (a) Any landlord who obtains an order for possession of any
premises under this Law by intentionally providing false
information shall be guilty of an offence and liable under
(b) Any tenant who deprives the landlord of any premises under this Law by intentionally providing false information shall be guilty of offence and liable under the Criminal Law.
(c) Without prejudice to any criminal proceedings, where -
(i) any landlord has obtained an order of possession of premises under this Law and upon an application made by summons by the tenant, the court is satisfied that such order was obtained by intentionally providing false information; the court shall order the landlord to pay reasonable compensation to such tenant; and
(ii) the tenant has deprived the landlord of premises under this Law and upon an application made by summons by the landlord, the court is satisfied that the landlord was so deprived by the tenant intentionally providing false information; the court shall order the tenant to pay reasonable compensation to such landlord.
(1) A party to any proceedings in the Magistrrates’s Court may appeal from the decisions of the Magistrates’ Court to the High Court in accordance with the provisions of the Magistrates’ Court Law.
(2) A party to any proceedings in the High Court may appeal in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
46. Regulations and procedure
The Governor may, as required, make regulations for the procedure through which matters relating to the conduct of proceedings shall be carried out.
In this Law, unless the context otherwise requires
“agents” means any person usually employed by the landlord in the letting or leasing of the premises or in the collecting of the rents, or a person specially authroised to act in a particular manner by writing under the hand of the landlord;
“business premises” except where it is expressly stated otherwise by this Law, includes premises used wholly or I part for non-residential purposes, such as, places let out for business, shops, offices, shopping malls, sporting facilities, events centres, lodgings, gaming houses, clubs and club houses, religious worship, institutions and voluntary services structures amongst others;
“Commissioner” means Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State;
“common area” means any part of the premises the use of which is jointly shared by tenants or by a landlord and one or more tenants;
“Court” means the High Court and Magistrates’ Court of Lagos State but specifically excludes the Customary Court;
“current rent” means the subsisting rent;
“functions” includes powers and duties;
“Governor” means the Governor of Lagos State;
“interested person” includes any person claiming through the landlord or the tenant or who ahs an interest in the proceedings;
“landlord” in relation to any premises means the person entitled to the immediate reversion of the premises or if the property is held I joint tenancy or tenancy in common, any of the persons entitled to the immediate reversion and includes:
(a) the attorney, solicitor, agent or caretaker of any such landlord;
(b) any person receiving (whether in his own right or as an attorney or agent) any rent from any person for the occupation of any premises in respect of which he claims a right to receive the same; or
(c ) a former landlord where the context so requires;
“licensee” means a person who comes into occupation by mere permission, without the creation of a landlord and tenant relationship and has no estate or legal interest in the premises;
“mesne profits” means the rents and profits which a tenant who holds over or a trespasser might have received during his occupation of the premises and which he is liable to pay as compensation to the person entitled to possession;
“persons in unlawful occupation” means any person or corporate body who:
(a) enters into occupation through the tenant or remains in any residential or business premises without the consent of the landlord; or
(b) enters into or remains in occupation of the premises after an order for possession against a tenant without the consent of the landlord;
“premises” except where it is expressly stated otherwise by this Law, includes premises used for business, residential and non-residential purposes;
“prescribed” means prescribed by this Law or schedule or rules or regulations or orders;
“proceedings” includes any proceedings instituted in court in respect of this law;
“rents” includes any consideration or money paid or agreed to be paid or value or a right given or agreed to be given or part of any crop rendered or any equivalent given in kind or in labour, in consideration of which a landlord has permitted any person to use and occupy any land, premises, or other corporeal hereditament, and the use of common areas but does not include any charge for serves or facilities provided in addition for the occupation of the premises;
“rules” means the rules for the time being in force relating to the practice and procedure of the courts in the exercise of their respective civil jurisdiction made under the law by which such courts were established or any law amending same;
“services or facilities” include any of the following that are provided or agreed to be provided by the landlord to the tenant of premises; appliances and furnishings, cleaning and maintenance services, parking spaces, cable, television and dish services, laundry services, storage facilities, elevator, common recreational facilities, intercom systems and security surveillance, housekeeping facilities, security services and waste removal services;
“sitting tenant” mean a tenant in lawful occupation in accordance with this Law;
“state” means Lagos state;
“substantial repair” means any work required to remedy anything which threatens the structure or renders the premises inhabitable, creates an intolerable nuisance or could be construed as a brech of the landlord’s covenant in the headlease;
“sub-tenant” means a person who occupies premises or a portion of the premises previously occupied by a tenant which has been sublet to the sub-tenant by virtue of the written constant of the landlord;
“tenant” includes a sub-tenant or any person occupying any premises whether by payment of rent howsoever or by operation of law and not persons unlawfully occupying any premises under a bonafide claim to be the owner;
“tenancy” means holding or interest in land or property by a tenant under a tenancy agreement;
“tenancy agreement” means an agreement whether written or oral, express or implied between a landlord and a tenant regarding possession of premises and use of common areas and includes leases and sub-leases.
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Source: PM News Nigeria