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Tenant Eviction Process In Nigeria – All You Should Know

For many landlords or agents, evicting a tenant can be a daunting task. Because of the complexities of the situation, these individuals frequently resort to self-help ways to evict renters from their properties. Other than the law, self-help is the use of force or effort to evict a tenant from a property. 

Changing the tenant’s building’s key locks, deploying uniformed staff to forcibly remove the tenant’s things from the premises, and so on are examples of self-help tactics. 

In the eviction of a tenant, the law specifies a method that you must follow as a landlord or agent. This means that a landlord cannot simply decide to remove a renter because he or she is the owner of the property. 

I’ll be explaining all about it in this article: 

Evicting a Tenant In Nigeria

The first thing to remember is that in Nigeria, a landlord cannot remove a renter at will. The landlord must first serve a written eviction notice on the tenant. Even if the tenant ignores the notifications and remains on the premises after the eviction notices have expired, the landlord must proceed with a formal eviction by Order of Court. 

Extrajudicial acts or efforts to evict a renter from a property are illegal in Nigeria. In fact, if a tenant experiences self-help measures, he or she may be able to sue the landlord for damages based on wrongful eviction or trespass. 

Steps To Take

  • Late Rent Notice 

When evicting a renter, the first step is to determine whether the tenant owes rent. If this is the case, the landlord or any other authorized agent must provide the renter with a Late Rent Notice. A landlord can seek an order of possession and an order for the collection of unpaid rent in court under Nigerian law. The landlord will be required to provide evidence of non-payment of rent in court in order for redress to be granted. 

  • Quit Notice

If the landlord wants to end the lease, he or she must give the tenant a notice to vacate. According to Nigerian law, the landlord is not required to issue the notice to quit if it is a fixed-term lease and if the lease period has elapsed. The landlord can issue a seven-day owner’s intention to reclaim possession notice if the lease term has expired. 

However, if the lease is a periodic one, the length of the notice to quit depends on the agreement of the parties. In most agreements, the contract already states how long the landlord should issue a notice. In circumstances when the contract does not specify the length of notice, there are other rules of the law. 

  • Owner’s Retention 

If the tenant refuses to leave the rental property after following all of the necessary actions, the landlord can issue a seven-day owner’s intention to reclaim possession to the renter. 

  • Court Filing 

The landlord can file a court action to reclaim the premises after issuing a seven-day notice of the tenant. Rent arrears and other earnings might also be claimed by the landlord. Evicting a tenant in court necessitates the calling of witnesses and the presentation of additional evidence to the court. 

After that, the judge will issue a ruling requiring the renter to vacate the premises immediately or by a certain date. If a tenant refuses to vacate the rental property after being presented with eviction papers, what steps should be taken? 

If a tenant refuses to vacate despite receiving a 7-day notice, the landlord can hire a lawyer to file a court case to reclaim ownership of the property. A court bailiff is the only person who has the authority to physically remove a renter and his or her things. The law forbids you from evicting the tenant on your own. 

Legal Grounds For Evictions

A landlord can end a tenancy agreement and start eviction proceedings against a tenant if the following conditions are met: 

  • When a tenant is behind on their rent: The landlord can begin the eviction procedure if a tenant fails to pay the rent even after being alerted in writing by a late rent notice. 
  • If a tenant engages in illegal activity on the leased premises: If a renter engages in criminal acts on the landlord’s property, such as robbery or prostitution, the landlord has the right to evict the tenant. 
  • When the tenant has broken a lease agreement term or condition: In Nigeria, a landlord has the power to evict a tenant if the tenant has broken any previously agreed-upon terms, as this is considered a breach of contract. 
  • If the landlord wants to utilize the premises: If the landlord wants to use the rental property, he or she has the authority to evict the renter. If the lease is for a certain period of time, the landlord must wait for the term to expire before notifying the tenant of the impending eviction. 
  • If the landlord wishes to make structural repairs to the property, the tenant may be removed from the rental property if it requires repairs and is deemed unsafe for habitation. 
  • If the tenant has abandoned the rental property: If a renter abandons the rental property, the landlord has the right to evict them. 
  • When a tenant has caused significant damage to the rental property 
  • If the tenant violates the lease agreement by renting the property to a third party
  • If the tenant is interfering with the rights of other tenants as well as your own, you should terminate the lease. 
  • When he or she is becoming a nuisance in the neighborhood 

Bottom Line 

When dealing with situations like eviction between a landlord and a tenant, Nigerian law contains appropriate regulations that must be followed.