A Tenancy Agreement is a contract between a Landlord and the Tenant which sets out the rights and obligations of both the Landlord and the Tenant when renting property in Nigeria. 

A Tenancy Agreement is not mandatory, and the fact that a tenancy agreement does not exist in a tenancy relationship does not mean that the Landlord and Tenant have no rights in the tenancy. Both Landlord and Tenant have something called implied rights in all Tenancy relationships whether or not a Tenancy Agreement exists. However, a Tenancy Agreement is important because it provides further protection for both the Landlord and Tenant, and it expands on the implied rights. 

If you are a Landlord about to rent out your property, or if you are Tenant about to rent a property, it is advisable that you insist that there is a Tenancy Agreement. 

Who creates the Tenancy Agreement?

In Nigeria, the Tenancy Agreement is in most cases created by the Landlord or their lawyer. As the Landlord is the owner of the property, they set the terms on which they want to rent their property and present this to the Tenant. Nigeria Property Centre has developed a service for Landlords where they can create their own Tenancy Agreement with the use of the NPC Document Service.

Rights of the tenant

As the Tenancy Agreement is a contract between two parties – the Landlord and the Tenant, the Tenant has the right to review the terms of the Tenancy Agreement to determine whether or not the Agreement protects his/her interests. Most Tenancy Agreements are straightforward and easy to understand; however, it is advisable where possible to get a lawyer to review the terms and advice on how they affect the Tenant’s current and future rights.

What a Tenancy Agreement should contain

As a Landlord or a Tenant, you need to ensure that your Tenancy Agreement includes the following terms and information at a minimum:

  • Names and addresses of the Landlord and the Tenant
  • Address of the property
  • Start date and end date of the tenancy
  • How much the rent will be
  • Other applicable amounts including – legal fees, agency fees, security deposits, service charges/fees etc as applicable 
  • Obligations of both the Landlord and the Tenant
  • An outline of bills the Tenant is responsible for.

The above list is not exhaustive and in fact there are more terms that are frequently included in well-drafted Tenancy Agreements. Before renting a property, it is important that a well-drafted Tenancy Agreement is signed by both parties as it is the most important document in the tenancy relationship.

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