By Gbenga Akannmu
Any landlord in Lagos state who collects rent in excess of one year from a new tenant is liable of punishment by the state government as such action would henceforth be seen as a criminal offence, which will either attract jail term or payment of fine.
This is part of the content of the tenancy bill that was passed by the State House of Assembly yesterday.
The law, which is now sure to receive the assent of Governor Babatunde Fashola any moment from now, also emphasises that it shall also become unlawful and criminal for a landlord or his agent to demand or receive from a sitting tenant, rent in excess of six months in respect of any premises without prejudice to the nature of tenancy.
This means that those who are already tenants of a building are not expected to pay more than six months instead of the usual one year rent they were mandated to pay by their landlords.
Placed a fine of N100,000 or three years imprisonment on any landlord or new tenant who pays in excess of one year and N100,000 or three months imprisonment for any landlord who fails to issue a receipt to a tenant for payment of rent. According to some of the lawmakers who spoke on the passed bill, the receipt would afford the authorities the opportunity to monitor compliance with the law. They said they are not unmindful of the fact that some landlords can be dubious and would want to change strategy adding that the law, as has been amended, takes care of those areas.
The bill is tagged ‘A bill for a law to regulate rights and obligations under tenancy agreement and the relationship between landlord and the tenant including the procedure for the recovery of premises and for other connected purposes in Lagos State’.