The simple and straightforward answer to this question is, yes. A tenant can sue a landlord in Nigeria for various reasons. It is very important, however, that before you go ahead to sue your landlord, you ensure that you are well within your rights to do so and you are not going against your role as a tenant as stipulated by the tenancy laws in Nigeria.
The truth is, landlords are not the only ones with obligations, tenants too are obligated to act a certain way as stipulated by the law. There’s a reason why the tenancy agreement is always enforced and it is to help the landlords and the tenants understand their role in every property. After all, without a landlord, there can be no tenant and vice versa. As a tenant, before you sue your landlord, you have to make sure that you adhere to the rules. Subject to any provision to the contrary in the tenancy agreement, the tenant shall;
- Pay the rent at the times and in the manner stated
- Pay all existing and future rates and charges not payable by the landlord by law.
- Keep the premises in good and tenantable repair, reasonable wear and tear expected.
- Permit the landlord and his agent during the tenancy at all reasonable hours in the daytime after previous written notice, to view the condition of the premises and to effect repairs in necessary parts of the building.
- Not make any alterations or additions to the premises without the written consent of the landlord.
- Not assign or sublet any part of the premises without the written consent of the landlord.
- Notify the landlord where substantial or structural damage has occurred to any part of the premises as soon as practicable.
If you are a tenant keeping to these obligations, then you are well within your right to sue your landlord. There are some cases where a tenant has been unable to pay rent or a landlord wants to renovate a premise, according to the law, the eviction notice has to be given;
- 1 month before eviction for someone who pays rent monthly.
- 3 months before eviction for someone who pays rent every 3 months.
- 6 months before eviction for someone who pays rent every 6 months.
- 6 months before eviction for someone who pays rent every 1 year.
If your landlord gives you a quit notice contrary to what is written above and stated by the law, you are well within your rights to sue. Here are other reasons you can decide to sue your landlord.
- If your landlord discriminates against you because of your sex, your status, or your tribe.
- If your space is inhabitable and the landlord is not willing to do anything about it.
- If your landlord interferes with your right to quiet enjoyment.
- If your landlord evicts you wrongfully.
- If you sustain any sort of injury due to your landlord’s negligence.
- If your landlord fails to make necessary repairs.
Subject to the provisions of the law, if your landlord is found guilty of attempting to forcibly eject a tenant or actually forcibly ejects one, threatening to molest a tenant by action or words with a view to ejecting such tenant or willfully damaging any premises, that landlord is liable to a fine not exceeding two hundred and fifty thousand Naira (250,000) or a maximum of 6 months imprisonment and any other non-custodial disposition.