FAQ : When is a Tenant not entitled to Six (6) Months Notice to Quit?

By M.O.Idam, Esq.

The General Rule is that, for a Landlord to file and maintain an action to evict a Tenant, He shall first and foremost, issue and serve two different types of Statutory Notices on the Tenant.

 

Viz:
A. Notice to Quit.
And
B. Notice to Tenant of Owner’s intention to Apply to Recover Possession.

It is important to note that the length of “Notice to Quit” required to be issued on a Tenant is determined by the nature of Tenancy maintained by the Tenant.

Consequently, the nature of Tenancy maintained by a Tenant is described by the period of time
covered by the Tenant’s rent.

EXAMPLE/EXPLANATION

a. A monthly rent payer is regarded as a monthly Tenant and in the event of termination or eviction, he is entitled to One (1) Month Notice to Quit

2. 3 months rent payer is a Quaterly Tenant, he’s entitled to Three Months Notice to Quit.

3. Six (6) months rent payer is called a Half Year Tenant and he is entitled to Three (3) Month’s Notice to Quit.

4. A One Year rent payer is a yearly Tenant and he’s entitled to Six (6) months Notice to Quit.

Once the rent is for 3years and above, it is regarded as A Lease not Tenancy.

See Section 8 of the Recovery of Premises Act 1945 (Applicable in FCT), you may see also other relevant Tenancy Laws regulating Tenancy in various States.

We shall discuss Lease separately in another edition of @#AskProbonoLawyer.

Kindly note that the above highlighted lengths of Notices are usually issued or given to a Tenant during the pendency of his rent or when his rent has Not expired and same is often made to expire together with the rent.

THE FOLLOWING ARE CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE A LANDLORD IS PERMITED UNDER THE LAW TO SERVE SEVEN (7) DAYS’ NOTICE TO QUIT ON A TENANT, DESPITE THE NATURE OF TENANCY

I. Where there is an greement (Tenancy Agreement), stating specifically that the Tenant is only entitled to Seven (7) days Notice to Quit.

And

II. Where a Tenant is in Arrears of Rent.

EXPLANATION
I. If a Landlord and Tenant’s agreement states that a Tenant should be issued a specific length of Notice, the Landlord is bound to comply with the provision of the agreement.

II. Where a Tenant’s rent has expired, even by one Night and the Tenant is yet to creat another Tenancy by renewing his rent. The Tenant is described as “Tenant at Suffrance” Therefore, he is entitled to Seven (7) days’ Notice to Quit. This is because his rent is expected to be paid in advance and not arrears.

HOWEVER: Irrespective of the Length of Notice to Quit issued on a Tenant as the circumstance may require, a Landlord who desires to recover possession or evict his Tenant SHALL at the expiration of the first Notice to Quit, serve the Tenant another Seven(7) days’ Notice described as “Notice to Tenant of Owners’ intention to Apply to recover possession”.

N/B: ” Seven(7) days’ Notice to Tenant of Owners’ Intention to Apply to Recover Possession” is issued after the expiration of the first “Notice to Quit”.

Note, in an action to recover possession, these are Notices required under the law to be served on a Tenant before the Tenant can be sued by the Landlord. SAVE AND EXCEPT, where there is an agreement to the contrary.

These Notices are only but a condition precedent required by law upon which the Landlord shall fulfil before filing an action against a Tenant in a court of competent jurisdiction, to recover his property.

Interestingly, the position of the Law before year 2021 was that, a Landlord must religiously comply with the nature and character of these statutory notices before he can file an action against the Tenant in Court. But, this position has changed recently in terms of strict compliance with Notices, as the current Position of the Supreme Court is that, no irregularity in statutory Notice(s) shall defeat an action for recovery of possession as long as the case has been filed and served on the Tenant (Defendant). See PILLERS NIG LTD VS. DESBORDES & ANOR (2021)12 NWLR (PT. 1789) @122.

Note that, a Landlord has no right to disconnect Tenant’s electricity, remove his roof or block his entrance simply because the Tenant is in arrears of Rent, and similarly, he also has no Right to use the Nigerian Police, The Civil Defence, Nigerian Army , Local Vigilante etc., to evict a Tenant regardless of how many years the Tenant is in arrears of rent.

Any Landlord who uses any of the above means to evict a Tenant other than going to court after service of the required Notices as highlighted above, is in violation of the Tenant’s Fundamental Human Rights and the Tenant can sue the Land Lord for such Human Rights Violation.

Kindly be adviced to always meet your rental obligation, as you can only buy time in a tenancy matter but will never win your Landlord except he gets tired.

M.O.IDAM, ESQ.
PP.M.O.IDAM ATTORNEYS
@#AskprobonoLawyer
@#PublicInterestAdvocate
m.o.idamattorneys@gmail.com


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