Every landlord in Nigeria is saddled with responsibilities which cuts across safety, maintenance and care towards his/her tenants and property. Legal duties of a landlord are in two ways;
- From the landlord to the tenant
- From the tenant to the landlord
But first, who is a Landlord and a Tenant?
A landlord is the owner of a house, land, condominium, real estate or apartment which is leased either to an individual or a business usually known as a tenant. A tenant on the other hand is one who occupies land or property rented from a landlord. From the landlord to its tenant, the law imposes a number of duties which the landlord is expected to perform and they include:
• SAFETY AND MAINTENANCE
The landlord is expected to make sure that the property is in a habitable state for tenants to move in. The landlord also has the responsibility of ensuring that electricity, light and basic amenities are available and in order before the tenant’s occupancy. In terms of need for a structural repair, the landlord also has a duty to give a notice to his/her tenant for consent.
• RESPECT PRIVACY OF TENANTS
The landlord is expected to respect the privacy of his/her tenants and ensure a quiet and peaceful premise. For instance, the tenants have the right to freedom of unreasonable disturbances from the landlord. If at any point in time there is a breach of payment of rent on the tenant’s part, rather than seek self-help or unethical means to get the stated rent, the landlord is obliged to give a notice of evacuation.
• INSURE PROPERTIES
The landlord is also designated with keeping the property insured in respect to any loss or damages. This would provide property insurance against most risk for
instance: a fire outbreak, theft and weather and unexplained damages. It is important to note that Insurance policy does not cover tenant’s possession. The tenant on the other hand has the right to insure his or her property in the joint name of the landlord which must be expressly stated upon tenancy agreement.
• PAYMENT OF TAX/CHARGES
The landlord is obligated to pay charges, taxes, rates which are not limited to land use charges, ground rents etc. as stipulated by the law.
• ABIDING BY HOUSING LAWS
Housing laws vary from state to state including city to city. These laws include; rent control, ADA, Fair Housing Acts, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Lead paint disclosure. As a landlord, it is important to be aware of these laws and comply with them. Some laws require off street packing, sanitation laws and even security levies. It is important to carry out a research on the location of property before getting a lease.
From the tenant to the landlord
The tenant is also obligated to a number of duties just like the landlord which making payments of rent when due. The tenant is also responsible for keeping the premises in a good shape. Any altercation on the part of the tenants on the property as well as subletting the property must not be carried out without the consent of the landlord. The tenant is obligated to give the landlord accessibility permission when the need for inspection of the premises arises.
The duties of the landlord as well as the tenant go hand in hand as both need each other to maintain the property as well as make room for a healthy relationship.