CIVIL LIT WEEK 17 RECOVERY OF POSSESSION OF PREMISES
RECOVERY OF POSSESSION OF PREMISES. Recovery of Premises Act Abuja 2007, Lagos State Tenancy Law 2011, Recovery of Premises Law Lagos, RCRRP, Lagos State Tenancy Law seems to make the former dormant but not abrogated.
:: GENERAL PRINCIPLES.
The procedure for letting out premises and recovering possession of same.
Recovery of Premises is regulated by law and strict compliance is needed to moderate the excesses of the landlord and tenant. A tenant is a person in lawful occupation of premises given by the landlord who has a term of years. Tenant does not include one claiming interest in the land-get a case to buttress.
Service of the processes shall be personally or substituted where former is actually (or even appears) inconvenient/impracticable.
:: PROCEDURE FOR RECOVERY OF POSSESSION OF PREMISES AND MATERIAL FACTS TO BE PROVED.
First; The landlord or his specially authorised agent is to serve the tenant the written, dated and signed statutory Notice to Quit-Ayiwoh v Akorede, Coker v Adetayo. TL 2 TL 3 LSTL 2011. Sc 7 RPL
This notice should clearly identify the premises, kind of tenancy, date of commencement and termination, date the notice to quit is to expire and unequivocally ask the tenant to quit and deliver up possession.
This notice can be given before the date of termination of the current term Unless tenancy agreement provides otherwise; -a tenant at will or weekly tenancy gets 1 week notice, -monthly, quarterly, half yearly and yearly tenants get 1 month, ¼ and 6 calendar month’s-notice respectively. Under S 13 LSTL 2011, notice for the quarterly, half yearly and yearly tenant can terminate on or after the date of expiration of the tenancy.
Second: Upon the refusal of the tenant to quit and deliver possession after the notice to quit has expired; The owner or his authorised agent should serve a written and signed notice of owner’s intention to apply to recover possession (Form E or TL 4 Lagos or Abuja) after at least 7 days has elapsed from service of this notice.
Third; where tenant still holds over and refuses to quit as demanded, the owner or his agent may file a writ/plaint/claim (in HC, DC, MC respectively) in the court in division where the premise is situate. The originating process should precisely describe the premises, period of tenancy, date of expiration of the tenacy under the quit notice, he is entitled to possession of the premises which he had let to the defendant and that despite the fact that the notice of owners intention to apply to recover possession of premises (attached) has been served on the defendant (describe how service was effected), he still detains the premises. Claim for possession arears of rent and or mesne profit.
Next; the case is set down for hearing
Next: Trial commences and plaintiff should show (through written deposition or oral examination of witnesses (27 TLL)) that he is the one entitled to possession and conditions precedent have been complied with in instituting the action. Proper notices with correct dates of expiration should have been served. Then prove that
NB: on expiration of notice to quit, the money is called mesne profit rather than the hitherto terminology of rent or arrears for rent.
NB: the Tenant may counter claim. Maybe in respect of unexhausted improvements, expenses (authorised by the landlord) on the premises, etc. S 15 RPAAbuja.
:: NOTICE TO QUIT AND NOTICE OF OWNER’S INTENTION TO APPLY TO RECOVER POSSESSION.
:: WRIT OR PLAINT COMMENCING AN ACTION FOR RECOVERY OF POSSESSION OF PREMISES.
:: DRAFT NOTICE TO QUIT, NOTICE OF OWNER’S INTENTION TO RECOVER POSSESSION OF PREMISES, WRIT OR PLAINT COMMENCING AN ACTION FOR RECOVERY OF POSSESSION OF PREMISES.
 Personal service unless same is inconvenient or impracticable. By Section 18 TLL, personal service for tenant of residential premises includes; in person, on any adult residing in the premises, by courier to the premises, affixing to prominent part of premises with corroborative proof of service.
 No longer landlord as the tenancy is deemed terminated at expiry of quit notice.
 Although suit before expiration of 7 days is not nullified provided it was not concluded before the expiration of the 7 days-Etchie v Raji.
 Content include; title, Addressee (occupier), Solicitor Name, Owner’s Name, Description of the Property, Length of Notice, Fact that tenancy has been determined through XYZ mode but addressee is still holding over
 Action may be filed in any provided the rental value is within the ambit of the court’s statutory limit (5 million DC, 10 Million MC) and jurisdiction (e.g. in Magistrate court it must be only for recovery of premises).
 Maybe arrears of rent, breach of covenant, he requires premises for personal use or premises requires substantial repair. Although court may grant possession where the premises is being used for immoral/illegal purpose, abandoned, unsafe as to constitute threat to human life, occupier’s intolerable conduct or induces breach of tenancy agreement-Section 25 TLL. Lee of up to 6 months may be given to the tenant to seek alternative accommodation except it is undeserving; e.g. he in arrears of more 3 months after it has become due, landlord has already contracted to sell premises and injustice would be done, premises is required for public interest purpose, premises is so overcrowded as to be dangerous or injurious to inmates, premises in need of substantial repair, premises is required by landlord for personal occupation or occupation of his son or daughter (above 18 years), father or mother. Justice is however the deciding factor as landlord may in the above circumstance still need to show that occupier has got alternative accommodation.