After on a time, prior to the arrival of modern legislation regulating Landlord and Tenant relations, Tenants have been at the mercy of their Landlords who wielded and exercised extreme powers above them. Then, the Landlord experienced the electrical power to unilaterally enhance lease and the Tenant was not in a situation to concern the increment nevertheless arbitrary, unconscionable and unjustified the increment was. The Landlord also experienced the electrical power to evict the tenant with out advancing any reason for performing so. He was underneath no obligation to give to the Tenant observe of his intention to terminate the tenancy or of his intention to evict him. If the Landlord needed to evict a Tenant from his residence, he was entitled to use force or to resort to self-aid to do so. Indeed, the electrical power of the Landlord in individuals times above the Tenant understood no bounds.
And so it was that the Tenant stood weak, powerless and susceptible in the confront of the tremendous powers of his Landlord. His capability to bargain successfully with his Landlord was eclipsed and indeed extinguished by the excessive, arbitrary and autocratic powers of the Landlord above him.
This point out of affairs gave increase to the imbalance and inequality that have come to characterize the romantic relationship among Landlord and Tenant right now. At that time, the relationship of Landlord and Tenant was a contractual 1 involving two unequal parties, with the Landlord as the potent get together and the Tenant, the weaker party. The phrases and problems of a tenancy or lease agreement had been presented to the Tenant on a consider-it-or-depart-it basis. The Tenant experienced no say as to his legal rights, passions, obligations and responsibilities below the agreement. It was therefore the require to appropriate the injustices, abuse, oppression and exploitation that Tenants suffered at the fingers of their landlords that necessitated the intervention of govt laws in contracts involving landlords and their tenants. Belvona consider the type of legislative enactments commonly referred to as Tenancy Regulations, Landlord and Tenant Regulations or Hire Manage and Restoration of Premises Legal guidelines. In Nigeria, a number of legal guidelines have been enacted to safeguard tenants from the excesses of Landlords.
The Federal Govt of Nigeria as effectively as the numerous states has made a number of regulations on the topic. Legislation on Landlord and Tenant relations presently in Nigeria incorporate:
one. The Restoration of Premises Act, 1990 which is the law regulating Landlord and Tenant relations in Abuja
2. The Hire Management and Restoration of Premises laws of numerous states in Nigeria.
three. The Tenancy Legislation of Lagos Condition, 2011.
Note that these rules are comparable in provision and effect, with only small distinctions. The goals of these laws are twofold:
(one) To manage tenants the finest feasible security towards exploitation and oppression by landlords by avoiding arbitrary increment of rent and the illegal eviction of tenants.
(2) To balance, unify and harmonize the passions and legal rights of the landlord with people of the tenant and therefore avoid inequitable and unfair bargains where one particular celebration gains at the price of the other celebration.
Regrettably nonetheless, these rules have unsuccessful to result or attain the much necessary harmony and fairness in the legal 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 achieved is a around complete reversal of the equilibrium of bargaining electrical power in favour of the Tenant. These legal guidelines have turned the bargaining table towards the Landlord and tilted the equilibrium of bargaining power in favour of the Tenant.
Opposite to well-known viewpoint that the tenant is the weaker get together in Landlord-Tenant romantic relationship, the Landlord who was beforehand the much better and dominating social gathering in the Landlord-Tenant romantic relationship is now the weak get together. This is since the law has empowered the Tenant to discount effectively and at times ruthlessly, at the expense of his landlord. Without a doubt, the law has striped the landlord of his electricity to bargain efficiently with the tenant. The want of the legislature to afford Tenants defense from the excesses of Landlords is responsible for this sorry state of affairs. The determination of the legislature to safe and ensure the tenure of tenants by imposing limits on the power of the Landlord to get better possession of his premises from Tenants is at the root of the Landlord’s existing woes and misfortune.
This is why it is often stated that it is easier for a camel to go by means of the eye of a needle than for it is for a Landlord in Nigeria to recover possession of his premises from his tenant. The trouble experienced by landlords in recovering possession from tenants is as a outcome of statutory protections entrenched in Nigerian law by which tenants are sought to be guarded by guaranteeing and securing their tenure. To safe and guarantee a Tenants’ tenure and to stop unlawful or forceful evictions, Nigerian law offers that exactly where a landlord needs to repossess his premises from a tenant, he should use to court for an get to recover possession, except if the tenant voluntarily relinquishes possession of the premises. As we shall quickly see, by depriving the landlord of his electrical power to repossess his premises and investing identical in the courts, the tenant is thus promoted and elevated to a placement the place he stands more than and above his landlord. Apart from the rule demanding landlords to sue in courtroom to recuperate possession of their premises, there are numerous other impediments imposed by law on the correct of a landlord to recuperate possession of his premises. The cumbersome and time losing requirement of serving the tenant notices of landlord’s termination of the tenancy on a specified date as effectively as of landlord’s intention to apply to court to recover possession is chief amid this kind of impediments.
Even far more offensive and harmful of the proper of the landlord to repossession of his premises in Nigeria is the concept of statutory tenancy. What this notion implies is that a tenant whose expression has expired (and who ought to have moved out of the premises) enjoys the full protection and backing of the law to remain on the premises and are not able to be ejected from the premises unless a courtroom orders him to vacate the premises. Such a defaulting tenant is entitled to support of statutory notices like any other variety of tenant. The Supreme Court docket in the situation of African Petroleum Ltd. V. Owodunni went as much as holding that a statutory tenant(i.e. is one whose time period has expired but who has refused to move out) can sue the landlord for trespass to land. According to the Apex courtroom, such a tenant stands in the very same situation as a tenant whose tenancy even now subsists. One miracles if the regulation encourages tenants to be negative tenants who violate or dishonour their covenants with landlords.
That the landlord now stands in a precarious place the place he dangers losing his expense in his property is consequently instead clear. To some men and women, the assertion that the landlord is the weaker party and that he suffers significant hardship at the instance of his tenants appears preposterous and untrue. Even so, we only need to remind ourselves of the reality that possession (albeit, exclusive possession) is the very foundation upon which landlord and tenant interactions are started to recognize the truth and veracity of that assertion. It is a notorious reality that the impediments and limits 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 power to repossess his premises has left him at the mercy of the tyranny and fraud of his tenants. It is typical knowledge that tenants now use the regulation as an instrument to perpetuate fraud on their landlords. Emboldened with expertise of the defense accorded and afforded them by regulation, tenants now recklessly (and sometimes deliberately) violate and dishonour their covenants with their landlord. It is common to see tenants who are in arrears of lease for many years refuse to transfer out of the premises. This is since they know that they can use the courts to hold off and frustrate the landlord’s correct to possession.
The inefficiency of the judicial program and the prolonged delays knowledgeable in our courts is a fantastic device of war and resistance in the arms of many a tenant. It normally takes an typical period of time of 24 months in court docket for landlord to recuperate possession of his premises. If the tenant is outfitted with the electricity to hold off and frustrate the appropriate of the landlord to repossess his premises by means of the legal and courtroom program and by so performing to elongate his time period, then he is without a doubt the grasp of the bargaining table. As they say, he who has gold can make the guidelines. In the context of our dialogue, he who is in possession and decides when and how to relinquish possession makes the rules. That individual is the tenant.
This favoritism and a single-sided affection of the legislation in direction of tenants at the detriment/expense of their landlords is a trigger of worry in the genuine estate and building industries in Nigeria. The unpleasant phenomenon of tenants’ refusal to give up possession after the expiry of their phrases has induced and carries on to result in untold hardship on landlords and real estate traders.
According to Oni, “… the price of default in hire payments amongst tenants in Lagos metropolis is higher. In a survey of a hundred and twenty estate surveyors,12 (symbolizing ten%) mentioned that tenants typically fall into arrears for up to 6 months,86 (about 72%) mentioned that default is in between 7 and twelve months and 20 two ( about 18 %) ended up of the view that rents are owed for a lot more than twelve months. In other words, the review exposed that ninety% of the respondents had skilled default in rent for more than seven months… “
Therefore, landlords and buyers lose billions to tenants who default in payment of hire. The ache of losing rental revenue due to default by tenants to spend hire and to honour other obligations under the tenancy agreement is aggravated by the trouble of repossessing the premises from undesirable tenants. The legislation forbids vacation resort to extra-judicial implies to repossess premises. It prohibits the use of power or any other means of self-assist to evict tenants. A landlord who intends to repossess his premises from his tenant need to look for his treatment from the court docket and the judicial method the place he faces uncertainty as to the outcome or period of the approach. Even when judgment is eventually entered in his favour, the landlord would have invested an inordinate amount of time ahead of judgment is offered and may spent much more time in executing the judgment.
The effect of this condition of affairs is that it discourages investment in the genuine estate and building sectors of the Nigerian economy. The deficiency of trader confidence in these sectors indicates that less properties will be constructed and this is not very good for the housing sector in Nigeria. The legal and regulatory bottlenecks and problems avoiding easy and fast of recovering of premises from tenants is certainly a significant investment danger.
Nigeria is a nation with a populace of 170 million men and women most of whom are in dire require of first rate, reasonably priced housing. According to the Globe Lender Report, Nigeria currently has a housing deficit of 17 million houses. A whooping sum of N59.5 trillion is needed to bridge this hole in housing needs. With the current state of our laws and the judicial program with its bias for unscrupulous, irresponsible tenants, there is no way that this housing deficit can be bridged.
To say that Nigerian legislation on landlord and tenant relations has failed to equilibrium or harmonize the pursuits and legal rights of the landlord with individuals of the tenant is to state the apparent. For this explanation, these rules have failed to address the quite difficulty for which they ended up enacted. Fairly, these laws have produced new issues.
We concur with the argument of a single American author who states that “… as lengthy as government management is the only substitute for market manage, the outcomes will be arbitrary and unfair. By giving the parties to the landlord-tenant arrangement more voice and tenants an equal voice, the federal government would have lifted by itself off the backs of the men and women and however be a far better enforcer of tenants’ legal rights… “
We agree with submission of this author that the resolution to the problem of inequality of bargaining energy among landlord and tenant lies neither in more authorities regulation nor in a free marketplace method in which there is no regulation at all. Fairly, “the solution is to allow the functions, not the government, established the phrases of the rental arrangement whilst the govt sets the outside the house limits.”
We consequently want to result a total overhaul of the existing authorized and regulatory routine in Nigeria and substitute it with a technique that balances the pursuits and legal rights of the landlord with people of the tenant.