Thursday, 25 August 2011

Collect More Than 6 Months’ Rent, Go To Jail!, Fashola Tells Landlords

Respite has finally come to tenants in Lagos as the state governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has signed into law a bill that will make it unlawful for a landlord or his agent to demand or receive from a sitting tenant rent in excess of six months.

The law, which explicitly harps on the rights and obligations under tenancy agreement and relationship between the landlord and tenant, will go a long way in addressing the problem of housing in the metropolis.

According to the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ade Ipaye, a defaulter of the law would be liable to pay a fine of N100,000 with the option of a three-month jail term.

The law also stipulates a six-month quit notice for a tenant who pays the rent yearly, with the clause that a tenant might apply to court for an order to stop unreasonable increase of rent by the landlord.

In a situation where the increase is unreasonable, the law allows the court to order the landlord to reduce the amount.

The law also makes it unlawful for a landlord to eject a tenant from any premises pending the determination of the action by the court.

On offences and penalties, the law says that any person who demolishes, alters or modifies a building in order to eject a tenant without the approval of the court shall be guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine of N250,000 or six months imprisonment.

It states further that any landlord who forcibly ejects a tenant, threatens or molests a tenant by action or words will be liable to a fine of N250,000 or six months imprisonment.
Commenting, Fashola said that the law would address the problem of housing as the state continued to explode in population.

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