By Echeburu Oby
The relationship that transpires between the landlord and the tenant creates one of those relationships that takes the main stage and transforms it into a vital part of a society.
Today in Nigeria, the larger layer of tenancy relationships comes within the private sector. Apart from a few instances where the government at all levels create provision for different housing schemes. private investors in the real estate sector have always dominated and controlled the tenancy relationships through private contracts and tenancy agreements entered into between the landlord and the tenant based on the terms agreed by both parties.
A landlord is the owner of a house, apartment, cooperative, land, or real estate which is usually rented or leased to an individual or business, who is identified as a tenant. Going by history, the relationship between the landlord and tenant was created chastely on contract or law of obligations alone. The relationship was considered as one of the contracts that gave rise to personal rights alone, and not right to property which means that only the parties to the agreement and not third parties could benefit from it.
The compass of the law between landlord and tenant in Nigeria can be better understood as being a corporation of law of contract.
Types of Tenancy
Generally, tenancy in Nigeria has been divided into two groups which are: contractual tenancy and statutory tenancy. This classification was recognized by the Supreme Court under the recovery of premises laws.
Contractual Tenancy is defined as “the usual or common one that involves agreement between the landlord and the tenant, written or oral on the terms and conditions of the tenancy.” It is a contract of tenancy which, if written, usually contains the terms and conditions of the tenancy, together with the rights and obligations of both the landlord and the tenant.
Statutory Tenancy is defined as when an occupier whose contractual tenancy expires but still holds it and continue to be in possession by virtue of special statutory provisions thereby holding the property of another contrary to the will of the other person who really desires to eject him. This means that the law says you cannot eject a tenant even when his or her tenancy period has elapsed.
Fixed Tenancy is a type of tenancy that usually for a fixed period of time, it is also another form of a contractual tenancy. It can be for a period of one week to months or years depending on the duration you want.
once a tenancy is for a particular duration, it is always taken as a fixed tenancy even if it is for a period of one week like a weekly tenancy, six months like a half year tenancy or a year in full.
Periodic Tenancies are usually the ones that begins and ends at a specific period, but renews itself automatically at the end of the expired one. The renewal of this type of tenancy is assumed to be on the same terms and conditions of the previous one.
Tenants and landlords law in Nigeria is an elaborate one and cannot be better understood without due recourse to the judicial decisions which has been explained above.