Precisely why Often the Legislation Was Designed to Favour Tenants at Often the Price of Their Landlords

After on a time, prior to the arrival of contemporary legislation regulating Landlord and Tenant relations, Tenants were at the mercy of their Landlords who wielded and exercised abnormal powers above them. Then, experienced the electrical power to unilaterally boost rent and the Tenant was not in a position to issue the increment nevertheless arbitrary, unconscionable and unjustified the increment was. The Landlord also experienced the electrical power to evict the tenant without advancing any explanation for carrying out so. He was below no obligation to give to the Tenant notice of his intention to terminate the tenancy or of his intention to evict him. If the Landlord wished to evict a Tenant from his residence, he was entitled to use force or to vacation resort to self-assist to do so. Indeed, the electricity of the Landlord in individuals times above the Tenant understood no bounds.

And so it was that the Tenant stood weak, powerless and vulnerable in the confront of the huge powers of his Landlord. His potential to cut price properly with his Landlord was eclipsed and indeed extinguished by the extreme, arbitrary and autocratic powers of the Landlord in excess of him.

This condition of affairs gave increase to the imbalance and inequality that have appear to characterize the connection amongst Landlord and Tenant right now. At that time, the partnership of Landlord and Tenant was a contractual one particular involving two unequal events, with the Landlord as the effective get together and the Tenant, the weaker get together. The phrases and conditions of a tenancy or lease agreement had been offered to the Tenant on a just take-it-or-depart-it basis. The Tenant experienced no say as to his rights, interests, obligations and obligations underneath the arrangement. It was hence the want to proper the injustices, abuse, oppression and exploitation that Tenants experienced at the hands of their landlords that necessitated the intervention of govt regulations in contracts involving landlords and their tenants. These rules consider the sort of legislative enactments popularly referred to as Tenancy Legal guidelines, Landlord and Tenant Rules or Lease Manage and Recovery of Premises Rules. In Nigeria, a number of regulations have been enacted to protect tenants from the excesses of Landlords.

The Federal Authorities of Nigeria as nicely as the different states has made a number of rules on the subject matter. Laws on Landlord and Tenant relations at the moment in Nigeria include:

1. The Restoration of Premises Act, 1990 which is the law regulating Landlord and Tenant relations in Abuja

two. The Hire Control and Restoration of Premises rules of numerous states in Nigeria.

three. The Tenancy Law of Lagos State, 2011.

Observe that these legal guidelines are comparable in provision and result, with only small differences. The targets of these regulations are twofold:

(1) To afford tenants the best feasible safety against exploitation and oppression by landlords by preventing arbitrary increment of lease and the illegal eviction of tenants.

(2) To stability, unify and harmonize the passions and legal rights of the landlord with individuals of the tenant and therefore prevent inequitable and unfair bargains exactly where one particular social gathering gains at the price of the other party.

Regrettably nevertheless, these rules have failed to result or obtain the considerably required equilibrium and equity in the rights, pursuits and obligations of Landlords and Tenants. Relatively than correcting or curing the inequity, imbalance and inequality in the equilibrium of bargaining powers and positions of the Landlord viz-a-viz the tenant, what these regulations have reached is a close to complete reversal of the balance of bargaining electricity in favour of the Tenant. These rules have turned the bargaining desk in opposition to the Landlord and tilted the harmony of bargaining energy in favour of the Tenant.

Contrary to popular opinion that the tenant is the weaker party in Landlord-Tenant romantic relationship, the Landlord who was formerly the more powerful and dominating party in the Landlord-Tenant romantic relationship is now the weak get together. This is because the regulation has empowered the Tenant to deal efficiently and at times ruthlessly, at the price of his landlord. Without a doubt, the law has striped the landlord of his electricity to deal successfully with the tenant. The want of the legislature to afford Tenants safety from the excesses of Landlords is liable for this sorry condition of affairs. The selection of the legislature to protected and ensure the tenure of tenants by imposing constraints on the energy of the Landlord to get well possession of his premises from Tenants is at the root of the Landlord’s present woes and misfortune.

This is why it is often mentioned that it is easier for a camel to move via the eye of a needle than for it is for a Landlord in Nigeria to recover possession of his premises from his tenant. The difficulty knowledgeable by landlords in recovering possession from tenants is as a end result of statutory protections entrenched in Nigerian law by which tenants are sought to be protected by guaranteeing and securing their tenure. To safe and promise a Tenants’ tenure and to avoid unlawful or forceful evictions, Nigerian regulation gives that the place a landlord desires to repossess his premises from a tenant, he have to apply to court docket for an buy to get well possession, until the tenant voluntarily relinquishes possession of the premises. As we shall before long see, by depriving the landlord of his power to repossess his premises and investing identical in the courts, the tenant is thereby promoted and elevated to a place the place he stands over and above his landlord. Apart from the rule necessitating landlords to sue in court to get better possession of their premises, there are numerous other impediments imposed by law on the proper of a landlord to recover possession of his premises. The cumbersome and time squandering necessity of serving the tenant notices of landlord’s termination of the tenancy on a specified date as properly as of landlord’s intention to apply to courtroom to recuperate possession is main amongst this kind of impediments.

Even much more offensive and damaging of the appropriate of the landlord to repossession of his premises in Nigeria is the principle of statutory tenancy. What this concept signifies is that a tenant whose time period has expired (and who ought to have moved out of the premises) enjoys the full protection and backing of the regulation to continue being on the premises and cannot be ejected from the premises until a court orders him to vacate the premises. This sort of a defaulting tenant is entitled to support of statutory notices like any other kind of tenant. The Supreme Court in the situation of African Petroleum Ltd. V. Owodunni went as far as holding that a statutory tenant(i.e. is a single whose phrase has expired but who has refused to shift out) can sue the landlord for trespass to land. In accordance to the Apex court, this kind of a tenant stands in the very same situation as a tenant whose tenancy still subsists. One particular miracles if the law encourages tenants to be bad tenants who violate or dishonour their covenants with landlords.

That the landlord now stands in a precarious placement the place he dangers getting rid of his investment decision in his house is consequently instead apparent. To some individuals, the assertion that the landlord is the weaker party and that he suffers serious hardship at the occasion of his tenants sounds preposterous and untrue. However, we only need to have to remind ourselves of the simple fact that possession (albeit, exclusive possession) is the very basis on which landlord and tenant relationships are started to appreciate the reality and veracity of that assertion. It is a notorious simple fact that the impediments and constraints imposed by regulation on landlords’ right to repossess his premises unnecessarily and unjustly delays, frustrates, suspends and postpones the proper of the landlord to possession of his premises.The emasculation of the landlord’s electricity to repossess his premises has remaining him at the mercy of the tyranny and fraud of his tenants. It is frequent information that tenants now use the regulation as an instrument to perpetuate fraud on their landlords. Emboldened with knowledge of the defense accorded and afforded them by regulation, tenants now recklessly (and sometimes intentionally) violate and dishonour their covenants with their landlord. It is typical to see tenants who are in arrears of hire for many many years refuse to move out of the premises. This is since they know that they can use the courts to delay and frustrate the landlord’s appropriate to possession.

The inefficiency of the judicial technique and the long delays seasoned in our courts is a excellent device of war and resistance in the arms of numerous a tenant. It normally takes an average period of time of 24 months in court for landlord to get well possession of his premises. If the tenant is geared up with the power to hold off and frustrate the proper of the landlord to repossess his premises by way of the legal and court program and by so doing to elongate his phrase, then he is without a doubt the learn of the bargaining table. As they say, he who has gold tends to make the guidelines. In the context of our dialogue, he who is in possession and decides when and how to relinquish possession can make the policies. That person is the tenant.

This favoritism and one-sided passion of the law towards tenants at the detriment/expense of their landlords is a result in of worry in the true estate and design industries in Nigeria. The hideous phenomenon of tenants’ refusal to give up possession after the expiry of their terms has brought on and carries on to trigger untold hardship on landlords and genuine estate buyers.

In accordance to Oni, “… the fee of default in rent payments amongst tenants in Lagos metropolis is higher. In a survey of 120 estate surveyors,twelve (representing 10%) stated that tenants typically fall into arrears for up to 6 months,86 (about seventy two%) mentioned that default is in between seven and twelve months and twenty two ( about eighteen %) had been of the impression that rents are owed for more than twelve months. In other phrases, the study unveiled that ninety% of the respondents had knowledgeable default in rent for a lot more than 7 months… “

Therefore, landlords and investors shed billions to tenants who default in payment of lease. The discomfort of getting rid of rental revenue owing to default by tenants to spend lease and to honour other obligations under the tenancy agreement is aggravated by the problems of repossessing the premises from undesirable tenants. The legislation forbids vacation resort to further-judicial means to repossess premises. It prohibits the use of drive or any other means of self-help to evict tenants. A landlord who intends to repossess his premises from his tenant should seek out his remedy from the courtroom and the judicial technique where he faces uncertainty as to the result or duration of the approach. Even when judgment is ultimately entered in his favour, the landlord would have invested an inordinate sum of time ahead of judgment is offered and may possibly spent a lot more time in executing the judgment.

The result of this point out of affairs is that it discourages expense in the actual estate and building sectors of the Nigerian economy. The deficiency of trader confidence in these sectors indicates that less properties will be built and this is not great for the housing sector in Nigeria. The lawful and regulatory bottlenecks and difficulties preventing simple and rapid of recovering of premises from tenants is certainly a significant expenditure threat.

Nigeria is a nation with a population of 170 million folks most of whom are in dire need to have of decent, inexpensive housing. According to the World Lender Report, Nigeria at present has a housing deficit of seventeen million residences. A whooping sum of N59.5 trillion is needed to bridge this hole in housing needs. With the current condition of our regulations and the judicial technique with its bias for unscrupulous, irresponsible tenants, there is no way that this housing deficit can be bridged.

To say that Nigerian laws on landlord and tenant relations has unsuccessful to equilibrium or harmonize the pursuits and legal rights of the landlord with these of the tenant is to state the obvious. For this reason, these laws have unsuccessful to address the extremely problem for which they were enacted. Rather, these rules have created new problems.

We agree with the argument of a single American writer who claims that “… as extended as authorities manage is the only substitute for industry management, the benefits will be arbitrary and unfair. By giving the functions to the landlord-tenant arrangement much more voice and tenants an equivalent voice, the government would have lifted itself off the backs of the people and nevertheless be a far better enforcer of tenants’ legal rights… “

We agree with submission of this writer that the answer to the difficulty of inequality of bargaining electricity amongst landlord and tenant lies neither in a lot more authorities regulation nor in a free of charge market place technique the place there is no regulation at all. Fairly, “the answer is to let the get-togethers, not the federal government, established the terms of the rental arrangement although the government sets the outside the house restrictions.”

We consequently need to influence a comprehensive overhaul of the current legal and regulatory regime in Nigeria and change it with a technique that balances the interests and rights of the landlord with these of the tenant.


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