Professionals in the built environment have risen to admonish clients in the sector to avoid creating tension by not demanding and collecting their receipts after payment for rental or lease of property or apartments.
They were advised to collect their receipts when paying their rent, and to ensure that the person you are doing business with is trustworthy as well.
That’s why it’s your right as a tenant to request a rent payment receipt from your landlord to prove you have paid your rent. In some cases, it’s mandatory they give you one.
According to Mr. Sodiq Omoleye, an estate agent, many tenants do not know there are laws that cover landlord and tenant relationship and that the law was made to be a settlement sheet for both parties. “Tenant rights are more important than home renters actually think and the first step towards protecting your rights as a tenant in Nigeria is to know what those rights are. Ignorance will put tenants at the mercy of caretakers and landlords in Nigeria. Tenant is a person who occupies a property or land rented from a landlord and is subject to the payment of rent. With this now explained, let us move on to examining tenancy rules in Nigeria and what they mean to you as a tenant in Nigeria.
“It is crucial for tenants to pay their rent but unless a receipt is offered, it is not considered proof of the existence of tenancy until receipt of payment is made. Receipt for payment is important because it serves as a proof of payment. It aids the court calculate the precise time frame for a valid quit notice especially in a situation where agreement is lacking. The receipt is necessary for the calculation of a mesne profit (which is the rent a tenant incurs upon the expiration of a valid quit notice, which was served on him or her. It is necessary to counter and clear whatever allegations of your inability or refusal to comply to timely payment of rent. The payment receipt is an acknowledgement from your landlord that he or she received payment from you,” he said.
Another respondent, Mr. Chukwuka Justin, a lawyer and estate manager in Lagos, said in whatever instance, for the receipt of payment to be considered valid, it must contain the your full name as well as the landlord’s name. It must state the exact amount you paid as rent, the date the payment was received, the property type the rent was paid. For instance, was it a 3-bedroom apartment, a self-contain, or a detached house? The receipt will also state the period of time that the rent paid is expected to cover. For example, was the rent paid to cover 12 months, 24 months (two years), or 6 months? It must carry the signature of the person receiving the payment.
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It is an actionable offence for the landlord to decline the issuance of receipt of payment to you even if you’re only making a partial payment of rent. He or she still needs to issue a receipt to you,” he stated. He also advised that where a printed receipt cannot be issued, a written agreement, which is endorsed by the landlord in the presence of a witness stating that he or she has received payment from you will be considered a genuine receipt of payment. “This is in line with tenancy agreement law in Nigeria. No matter how close you’re to the landlord, ensure you always insist on being issued a receipt upon payment of your house rent,”he pointed.
Speaking further on the receipts and agreement, Mrs Uyi Irabor observed that with some people, agreements could either be written or oral but whichever one, it must be concretised and accepted by both parties. “A written agreement takes away every form of doubt and ambiguity around the intention of all parties involved (you and the landlord). This is backed by tenancy act in Nigeria,”she said. She said that according to the Tenancy rule in Nigeria, tenancy agreements above 3 years are required to be written while those lesser than 3 years can either be written or oral. “Experts have however advised that no matter the length or duration of your tenancy, you should always pick a written agreement. Before a written agreement can be said to be valid, both parties (the landlord and you) are to execute the agreement by signing and dating it with at least one witness each. You need to be exercise carefulness with your written agreement because landlords are well known for duplicating a single agreement and using it for all their tenancy agreements. The disadvantage of this is that such an agreement leaves certain intentions unexpressed. Be on the lookout for agreements that are created by the landlord’s lawyer and given to you. Such agreements have a reputation of being unfavorable and confusing to you in the long run. We advise that you have a property lawyer look into such agreements to spot out anything that has been dumped there to work against you one way or the other,”she noted.