Tenant rights Lagos Nigeria - Tenants have rights just as landlords have rights. Unfortunately, a lot of landlords do not treat their tenants with respect. They try to run the relationship like a boss-subordinate relationship. Resulting in unfair treatment of tenants in many instances.
For clarity, what are landlord rights? And what are tenant rights?
It is important to define these terminologies because sometimes it gets confusing when you here people give different versions of what landlord rights and tenant rights mean.
For the avoidance of doubts, landlord rights refer to what is due the landlord. That is, the obligation of the tenant to the landlord. The reverse is the case for tenants.
Tenant rights are the responsibilities or obligation of the landlord to the tenant. And these are spelt out in the lease agreement between the landlord and the tenant. That is why the lease agreement is such an important document in the transaction between the landlord and the tenant. And that is why real estate attorneys are growing fat from commissions derived from Nigeria real estate transactions.
The rights of the tenant, which is the obligation of the landlord to the tenant, is contained in the section of the lease agreement that begins with
"the landlord covenants as follows".
Unfortunately, in many tenancy agreements in Lagos Nigeria, the responsibilities of the landlord toward the tenant usually occupy a smaller section than that of the tenant to the landlord. Sounds unfair, right?
I guess you're right. The tenancy agreement is a legal document that seems to favour the landlord more than the tenant. I suppose that is another good reason to build your own home and join the league of landlords.
Below is a typical example of sections of a lease agreement showing responsibilities of both parties. Please pardon the legal term in the summary below. It is how our learned colleagues, the real estate attorney, phrase lease agreements.
2. TENANT’S COVENANTS
The Tenant covenants with the Landlord as follows:
2.1 To pay the rent and other sums and charges levied in respect of the Demised Premises herein mentioned at the times and in the manner herein
provided and not to exercise any right or claim to withhold rent or any right or claim to legal or equitable set off.
2.2 To pay all rates taxes assessments (including tenement and water rates) which are now or during the Term shall be charged assessed or imposed upon the Demised Premises or any part thereof or on any occupier thereof or the proper proportion of such rates, taxes assessments attributable to the Demised Premises.
2.3 To pay promptly all charges for electricity, telephone and other services consumed or used at or in relation to the Demised Premises during the Term and at the end of the Term to provide evidence of payment of all the bills.
2.4 At all times to keep the interior of the Demised Premises and the appurtenance thereof including the doors, windows and other glass fixtures, fittings, fastening wires, waste, water drain and other pipes and sanitary and water apparatus therein and the painting and decoration thereof in good and substantial repair and condition throughout the Term (except reasonable wear and tear) and to replace from time to time all Landlord's fixtures and fittings in the Demised Premises which may be or become beyond repair at any time during or at the expiration of the Term.
2.5 To repaint as and when necessary and otherwise keep in a good state of decorative condition the internal walls and other surfaces in the Demised Premises including doors and window frames and to paint in a proper and workmanlike manner with good quality paint to the satisfaction in all respects of the Landlord such parts of the interior of the Demised Premises as have previously or usually been or ought to be so treated immediately before giving up possession of the Demised Premises whether upon the termination or expiration of the Term.
2.6 Not to make any alteration or addition to the Demised Premises without the prior written consent of the Landlord (such consent not to be unreasonably withheld).
. . . let me stop here. This is a long document and I can't show it all here. Click HERE to download the lease agreement for use with your tenants.
3. THE LANDLORD'S COVENANTS
3.1 The Landlord hereby covenants with the Tenant (subject to the payment by the Tenant of all the rents and other sums payable hereunder and provided that the Tenant has complied with all the covenants and obligations on the part of the Tenant to be performed and observed) as follows:
3.1.1 To keep the Demised Premises structurally sound air and watertight and the exterior of the Demised Premises in good and tenantable repair and condition.
3.1.2 That the Tenant paying the rents hereby reserved and observing and performing the several covenants and stipulations herein on the part of the Tenant contained shall peaceably and quietly hold and enjoy the Demised Premises throughout the Term without any interruption by the Landlord or any person rightfully claiming under or in trust for the Landlord.
Click HERE to download the full lease agreement.
The lease agreement mentioned above has twenty six (26) sections analyzing the landlord rights or obligation of the tenant to the landlord. In contrast, it has only two (2) sections explaining the responsibilities of the landlord to the tenant or tenant rights.
This is not fair!
Well, that is the reality. The landlord is the property owner and the tenant is leasing for a fee the owner's property. The owner therefore has an upper hand.
Consequently, as a tenant, it makes sense for you to request a copy of the lease agreement the landlord wants you to sign up to when you finally pay for the rental apartment. That way, you can decide well in advance if your tenant rights or your right as a tenant is properly represented.
I recommend you download the lease agreement and study it whether you're a landlord, tenant, or potential tenant.
As a landlord, it will help you articulate your wishes better when talking with your real estate attorney. As a tenant or potential tenant, it will help you ensure your tenant rights or interests are properly represented when renting an apartment.