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What you should know about Tenancy laws in Nigeria

Contrary to people’s beliefs, Nigeria has grown into a Nation with enacted laws and acts that have been put in place ...

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What you should know about Tenancy laws in Nigeria
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Contrary to people’s beliefs, Nigeria has grown into a Nation with enacted laws and acts that have been put in place to protect its citizens. Nigerians believe that the country is a lawless one but the true issue is that people are not quite familiar with these laws that have been put in place to protect them and make living in Nigeria quite easy. One of such laws is the Tenancy law.


Getting an apartment for rent can be very stressful. From finding the right one that suits your preferences, to ensuring that you don’t get scammed by an agent and in some cases by a landlord.  What is worse, is getting an apartment where you are either bullied by your landlord or made to live in a home built with substandard materials. Here are some things you need to know about the tenancy law in Nigeria to help you battle “wicked” landlords and make better decisions as a tenant.


In 2011, the Lagos state house of assembly enacted tenancy laws to regulate rights and obligations under tenancy agreements and their relationship between the landlord and the tenant,  including the procedure for recovering premises and for connected purposes. The law applies to;

  • Residential premises owned or operated by an educational institution for its staff and student
  • Residential premises provided for emergency shelter
  • Residential premises in a care or hospice facility, in a public or private hospital or a mental health facility
  • Residential premises that are made available in the course of providing rehabilitative or therapeutic treatment.


This tenancy law is made up of 48 sections which provide in detail the responsibilities of a landlord and rights of a tenant. The sections include;


  1. Applications of the law
  2. Jurisdiction of the courts
  3. Tenancy agreement
  4. Advance rent
  5. Rent payment receipt
  6. Rights of a tenant
  7. Obligations of the tenant
  8. Obligations of the landlord
  9. Obligations of the landlord regarding business premises
  10. Service charge, facility, and security deposits
  11. Payment of professional fees
  12. Provision for re-entry
  13. Length of notice
  14. Notice of licenses
  15. Notice required for abandoned premises
  16. Tenant refusing or neglecting to give up possession
  17. Service of notice
  18. Service of notice for residential premises
  19. Service of notice for business premises
  20. Duty to notify other persons in occupation
  21. Persons in unlawful possession
  22. Service of process
  23. Use of forms
  24. Institutions of proceedings to recover possession
  25. Grounds for possession
  26. Recovery of premises for a fixed term
  27. Trial
  28. Payment of arrears rent
  29. Court as receiver of refused rent
  30. Arbitration
  31. The landlord may claim for mense profits or for use and occupation premises
  32. Mediation
  33. Claims against persons in unlawful possession
  34. Defense supported by written depositions
  35. Service on persons in unlawful occupation
  36. Defendant not defending a claim
  37. Unreasonable increase of rent
  38. Application to set aside or vary judgment of the court
  39. Warrant of possession may be used and issued at anytime
  40. Form and purpose of warrant of possession
  41. Duration of warrant
  42. Warrant of possession justifies entry on-premises
  43. Enforcement of order of a court
  44. Offenses and penalties
  45. Appeals
  46. Regulations and procedures
  47. Interpretation
  48. Repeal


In Nigeria, tenancy laws vary in different states but the laws were all enacted for the same purpose; to explain the rights of a landlord and a tenant and also allow both parties to seek the law if there is ever a dispute arising from a tenancy agreement or if both parties are dissatisfied.



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