EFFECT OF LANDLORD AND TENANT RELATIONSHIP ON RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES IN UYO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
Property owners, property managers, governments and investors in the real property sector the world over, have invested enormous resources in developing model leases, tenancy agreements, mortgages, purchase and sale agreements, licenses and other instruments that are routinely used in connection with the development and operation of land and landed properties. The rights and obligations contained in these instruments are of great practical use when they are enforced in an efficient and effective manner (Andrew, 1987; Gilbert, 2008). The vast bulk of rental housing across the Nigeria has been provided by the private sector, and increasingly by small investors. The exceptions are mainly found in Western Europe. In Denmark, Finland, Germany and Switzerland, some companies continue to put money into rental housing and, in France, banks, insurance companies, pension funds and real-estate companies rent out one eighth of the total housing stock. In France, about 2 million landlords own about 4.2 million dwellings, although private sector companies still control 1.1 million units. In Nigeria, it has been noted that: “the small investor has always been important in the supply of rental housing.” And, in Russia, small-scale landlords seem to be on the increase (UN-HABITAT, 2006; Mondel, 2001; UN-HABITAT, 1999; Watson & McCarthy, 1998). Over 200,000 households in Ifitte, Anambra state, live in the private rented sector, which at current turnover rates typically means that around 200,000 households seek out and sign up for a new tenancy every year. For most new tenants, signing their tenancy agreement will be their largest financial commitment during the year (Langsether et al, 2003, UN-HABITAT 2003). According to Wessel (1998) for most applicants of rented accommodation there is a lack of information available about their future landlord and their track record, and the condition of the properties available for letting especially in residential buildings. Most tenants sign a tenancy agreement with typically only a brief, largely subjective viewing of the property. In the world today, over one billion people are suffering the consequences of strained relationship between a landlord and a tenant. As is so often the case, Africa’s share of the misery is disproportionately large. The right to adequate housing is desperately far from being realized in the countless impoverished and underdeveloped rural areas, slums and informal settlements to be found in Africa. (COHRE, 2003) Nigeria has one of the worst housing situations in the world. Urban drift, or movement of the population from rural areas to urban centres, has created severely congested cities, and a crushing demand for land and housing, which the Government has been simply unable to cope with. Landlords, Tenants, and Lenders have always focused on ways in which they can minimize their risk of loss and liability. In our current economic downturn, this focus is even more acute, as lenders requirements in housing financing is considered cumbersome and very difficult to access. (Olatoye, 2005; Akomolede, 2006; Orazuruike, 2003; Francis, 2011). The pressures arising from the shortage of housing in Ifite (said to be between 100,000-300,000 units) is felt strongly in the rental market. Properties are generally over-valued and rental rates unjustifiable (Molokwu, 2007; Agunwata, 2002). In Nigeria, the rights of parties involved in the rental housing sector are protected by The Landlord and Tenant Act. Tenant rights primarily concern the protection against notice of termination and against unreasonable rental fees. As a main rule the landlord cannot terminate the tenancy contract without just cause, and the rental fee in new tenancy agreements shall not exceed the current market rent (Mary, 2010). Rights in the tenancy market can be defined by a number of factors. Wessel (1998) categorizes weak rights in the rental market by the following factors: renting from an employer; leasing property; subletting in apartment buildings; subletting in housing cooperative societies or shareholding housing societies; borrowing a dwelling; leasing a fully furnished dwelling and tenancy contracts with a time limit of less than 3 years.
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