The Lagos State House of Assembly yesterday held public hearing on a bill to regulate relationships between landlords and tenants. The bill is entitled; “A Bill For A Law To Regulate The Relationship of the parties under Tenancy Agreements And Specify The Procedure For The Recovery of Premises in Lagos State And For Connected Purposes.
” The bill addressed issues such as jurisdiction of the courts, tenancy agreement, advance rent, rent payment receipt, rights of a tenant, obligations of the landlord and obligations of a commercial tenant regarding rent payment. Others include obligation regarding business premises, service charge, facility and security deposits, payment of professional fees, provision for re-entry, length of notice, payment of arrears rent amongst others.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Housing, Hon. Ibrahim Layode said the Assembly wanted all the citizens of the state to be aware of the law so that the people would not say they were not carried along. Layode, representing Badagry Constituency 1 added that the tenancy bill is about the obligations and rights of the tenants and landlords. He said: “Most of the issues that occur between the landlord and the tenant would be solved”.
Layode averred that landlords should from time to time visit the site of their premises from time to time instead leaving everything to their agents. Speaking at the public hearing, a stakeholder, Mr. Omoniyi Onabule observed that one of the provisions in the bill could make some defaulting tenants delay matter, noting that facility management business involved payment of rents and payment of service charges.
Onabule added that there might be need to restrain the tenant before he clears his debt, and that the rate of the tax needed to be looked at. Mrs. Busola Okunuga of the Lagos State Judiciary in her own remarks called for clarification on section 4 subsection 4, which concerns specification on application to the court, and called for more clarifications on the mode of prosecution of the offenders. “In Section 11 (1c), no penalty is indicated for non- compliance by the Landlord.
Section 19 contradicts section 14 of the law, which deals with the tenant who is in arrears of rent. “How many days of notice would be given the occupants to leave in Section 25e, where the building is specified unsafe for occupation,” she said.