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12 Jan

LAND LAW 2.3 TYPES OF TENANCIES

TYPES OF TENANCY/LEASE. A lease may be broadly classified based on the following:

  1. Based on purpose: under this we have residential, commercial, agricultural, industrial…
  2. 2. Based on Tenure: Under this we have Tenancy at Will, Monthly, Quarterly, Half-yearly, Yearly and fixed tenancy. Monthly, Quarterly, Half-yearly and Yearly tenancy require one week’s, one month, 3 months and 6 months’ quit notice to be given respectively. Fixed Tenancy does not require quit notice as it automatically lapses upon effluxion of time.
  3. Based on Mode of Creation: under this we have; an Oral Lease, Written Lease and lease Under Seal. An Oral lease must not be more than 3 years and must reserve best rent obtainable alongside exclusive possession-Section 79 (2) PCL Okoye V Nwulu. Although the problem is precision-Ekpanya V Akpan, Odutola V Papersack Nigeria Ltd. A lease above 3 years must be signed, sealed and delivered-See Section 77 PCL. Non-compliance would not be totally fatal by virtue of the equitable rule in Walsh V Lonsdale which seeks to still enforce agreements notwithstanding non-compliance with legal requirement.

Note Tenancy at Will: here, the owner allows the tenant to occupy the land on the condition that possession is determinable at the pleasure of either or both parties-AP V Owodunni. A tenancy at will may arise in the following situations:

  • Where a tenant continues in possession with the consent of the landlord after the expiration of his term and without the payment of rent-Section 57(f) Law of Rivers State.
  • Where a tenant under a void lease or under a mere agreement takes possession without the payment of rent- Section 57(I) Law of Rivers State
  • Where a person is allowed to occupy premises for an indefinite period rent free.
  • Where an officer of a body is in possession of a property by virtue of being such official and later ceases to hold such office.

In the absence of a contrary agreement by the parties, payment and acceptance of rent by the tenant and landlord respectively converts the tenancy at will into yearly, monthly or periodic tenancy depending on the facts of the case-Pan Asian African Co Ltd V NICON.

The tenancy at will is determined when:

  • The requisite quit notice has been served.
  • The tenant gives up possession and notifies the landlord.
  • The tenant at will commits waste.
  • Either parties die or the landlord parts with his reversion and the tenant receives notice thereof-sc 59 LLTLRivers.
  • If the tenant does an inconsistent act like assigns his interest to another, exercises acts of ownership, etc.

During the period of tenancy, the landlord is generally entitled to compensation for use and occupation of the land-AP V Owodunni.

Note also Tenancy at Sufferance: Occurs where the original grant by the landlord to the tenant has expired but the tenant holds over the premises without the assent or dissent of the landlord-AP V Owodunni. Section 62 LLTLRivers. Such tenant is liable at common law for mense profit or (under the LLTLs) damages for use and occupation of the premises. See Section 102 Rivers State Law. If the landlord agrees to the tenant remaining in possession, the tenancy at sufferance is converted to a tenancy at will-Turner V Bennott. Where rent has been tendered and accepted, the tenancy is then converted to a regular tenancy (which may be periodic or for a fixed period of time)-Mann V Lovejoy.

Note that a tenant at sufferance is an adverse possessor and time runs in his favour such that after 12years, the landlord may be barred from recovering possession-Section 16,19 LLTLagos.

Note also Statutory Tenant: The common law classification of tenancy into tenancy at sufferance and tenancy at Will are irrelevant in States where the Rent Control and Recovery of Premises Law applies. E.g. Tenancy Law of Lagos state 2011. In essence, once a contractual tenancy lapses and the tenant holds over, he is best described as a statutory tenant-AP V Owodunni. (At common law, he would have been described as a tenant at sufferance but because statute intervenes, he is regarded as a statutory tenant). As a statutory tenant, He can only be turned out by the landlord after strict compliance with the requirements of statuteSule V Nigerian Cotton Board whether or not he pays rent-Oduye V Nigeria Airways Ltd. The tenant’s occupation of the premises must have been lawfulEnigbokan V Akinosho. (A trespasser or squatter does not qualify as a statutory tenant).

In Chukwuma V Shell Petroleum, the court refused to treat the plaintiff in occupation of official accommodation as a statutory tenant after his employment had been terminated. Holding that he was a mere licensee and his license had been terminated when his employment was determined. The Supreme Court however failed to repeal its earlier decisions in Enigbokan V Akinosho and Sule V NCB which merely required lawful occupation whether or not a tenant, licensee, servant etc. This shows the inconsistency of the court in applying statutory provisions.

The statutory tenant should still perform the obligations imposed on him by the original tenancy-AP V Owodunni and he is to pay a reasonable amount for use and occupation of the premises going by the prevailing rent in the locality-AP V Owodunni.

  1. Tenancy by Estoppel: Where a person grants a lease of property (in respect of which he has no interest) a tenancy by estoppel is created to preclude the lessor and lessee from denying the existence of landlord and tenant relationship-Agbomeji V Olivant.

Isochukwu

Quite eccentric really

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