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Knowing your Rights as a Tenant

The rift between tenants and landlords often boils down to the two parties not being aware of their rights. Knowing your rights as a tenant is crucial because it is the first step towards protecting yourself and ensuring you don’t fall victim to frivolous demands from landlords. According to the Tenancy Law in Nigeria, below are some laws you should be aware of as a tenant –

Right to a Written Agreement
Every tenant has the right to an agreement. Agreements, on the other hand, can be oral or written. However, it is advised that agreements between both parties should be written, hence, any altercations would be easily dealt with, and it comes in handy as references. The tenant is expected to go through the agreements thoroughly before signing.
Tenancy agreements are to contain in details the names of a landlord and his tenant; as parties to the Agreement. The duration of the tenancy, the rent payable and the date at which such rent would become payable should be stated. Before signing any agreement, a prospective tenant is advised to seek the service of a solicitor to break down any unclear terms in the Tenancy Agreement.

Right to Issuance of Receipt of Payment
The receipt of payment is an acknowledgment from a Landlord or an Agent that a rent payment has been made by a tenant. It must have the name of the landlord and the tenant, including the amount paid and the date of such payment. The receipt should clearly state the duration that such payment will cover and the signature of the receiver must also be on the receipt. It is an actionable offense to refuse to issue a receipt for rent paid and received. It is your right as a tenant to be issued a receipt upon payment of rent.

Right to a Valid Quit Notice
A tenant cannot be thrown out of his apartment unless there is a strict compliance by the landlord with relevant Recovery of Premises Law. Recovery of Premises Law states that a valid “quit notice” of a landlord’s intention to terminate/quit the tenancy of the tenant must be written and served to the tenant. The amount of time given to the tenant, whether weekly, monthly, yearly, depends on his rent. A valid “Quit Notice” must have the name of the landlord, the name of the tenant, the address of the property occupied by the tenant, the duration given to the tenant included.

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