The Lagos State House of Assembly debate on Tenacy Bill ended on Wednesday as Governor Babatunde Fashola signed it(bill) into law.
With the new law, any landlord who collects more than a year rent from a new tenant will spend three months in jail or pay a fine of N100,000.
Also, any landlord who demands for a rent of more than six months from a sitting tenant will be liable to six months in jail or pay N100,000 fine.
Forcible eviction of a tenant by any landlord attracts six months jail term or N250, 000 fine.
Forcible ejection or eviction of a tenant includes removal of the roof or doors to an apartment by a landlord or his caretaker or agent.
Fashola, who also signed the state Park and Gardens Bill, said the onus had fallen on property owners to be at the forefront of making life bearable for those who do not own property in the state.
He added that if property owners made sacrifice, many things would change for the better as price indices would move in a more affordable direction and everyone would be better for it.
The governor said, “Let us remember that property owners are privileged when compared to tenants. This law seeks change like it is done in all decent societies by asking the privileged to sacrifice a little so that the underprivileged can have a survival chance.
“This is the reason why this bill has been commended even before it became a law. It seeks to protect the poor and the underprivileged. A society that cannot protect the underprivileged cannot protect the privileged.”
Fashola reiterated his administration’s commitment to the provision of affordable housing in the state, stressing that details of implementation would soon be made public.
He said the law had done a lot to reduce and simplify personal service (like the use of agents and lawyers), notice to quit and alternative dispute resolution.
He said, “It seeks to ask us to stop passing the cost of our solicitors and our agents because after asking for two years rent, we also ask the tenant to pay landlord’s agent fees and the landlord’s lawyer’s fees who will make an agreement in favour of the landlord.
“That tenant has a right to also go and engage his own lawyer. This is the character and representative essence of our democracy. This is the law our people want.”
On the Park and Gardens Law, he said it was in furtherance of the environmental policy of the government.