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RECOGNITION OF TWO CLASSES OF TENANTS

Dictum

It is now well settled, by decided cases of this court that for the purposes of the Rent Control and Recovery of Premises, the law recognises only two classes of tenants. These are the contractual tenancies, and the statutory tenancies.

– Karibe-Whyte, JSC. Petroleum v. Owodunni (1991)

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TENANCY AT WILL COMMENCES AFTER YEARLY TENANCY IF NO RENEWAL

I hold the considered view that from the moment a year’s rent became due and payable by the respondent but remained unpaid, the yearly tenancy, if any, created by the conduct of the parties thereto came to an end by effluxion of time and the respondent thereby became a tenant at will of the 1st appellant by continuing in possession of the property. In law we describe the respondent at that stage as holding over the property and in that capacity it became a tenant at will.

– Onnoghen JSC. Odutola v. Papersack (2007)

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WHEN RENT IS DUE FOR PAYMENT

Rent is paid as an acknowledgment of tenancy, and it shall be paid to the landlord or his agent in person or otherwise as directed by the landlord, when due depending on the terms of the tenancy, which in this case is monthly. By virtue of section 77(1) – Landlord and Tenants Law rent becomes due in the morning of the day appointed by the parties to a tenancy for payment thereof, if no specific day is appointed, rent becomes due on the last day of the period for which it is payable, so that annual rent payable annually becomes due on the last day of the year in respect of which it is payable, rent payable monthly becomes due on the last day of the month and so on.

– ADEKEYE JCA. Anyafulu v. Agazie (2005)

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LAND CANNOT BE GIVEN OUT WITHOUT CUSTOMARY TENANTS CONSENT

A very important factor is that the grantor of the land, once it has been given to the grantees as customary tenants, cannot thereafter grant it or any part of it to a third party without the consent or approval of the customary tenants. The grantor is not allowed to derogate from his grant.

– T.O. Elias, CJN. Aghenghen v. Waghoreghor (1974)

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OPTION CLAUSE IN A TENANCY AGREEMENT BINDS SUCCESSIVE LESSORS

An option clause in a tenancy agreement is a covenant which runs with the land and binds the successors of both the lessor and the lessee in possession. It is immaterial that the lease is not registered provided the lessee has entered into possession and paid the rent pursuant to the agreement, he acquired a legal tenancy. Both parties in such a case are bound by the terms of the agreement and the parties are treated as having the same rights and as being subject to the same liabilities as if a valid lease had been granted. See Manchester Brewery Co. v. Coombs (1901) 2 Ch. 608, p.613.

— Coker, JSC. Okoye v Dumez & Ors. (1985) – SC.89/1984

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TENANCY BY ESTOPPEL

Now tenancy by estoppel is a well known principle of common law and equity. Under this principle, a landlord cannot question the validity of his own grant, nor can the tenant question it while he is enjoying possession of the land.

– Nnaemeka-agu, JSC. Ude v. Nwara (1993)

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A CUSTOMARY TENANT CANNOT DISPUTE THE TITLE OF HIS TENANT

The statement that occupation by a customary tenant is no occupation by the landlord is, in my view, too wide and is certainly in disregard to the relationship between customary landlord and customary tenant. Although it has been said that a customary tenant who keeps the conditions imposed by the tenancy agreement can enjoy his tenancy in perpetuity, he is in
fact a tenant from year to year subject to the payment of rent or tribute. As in English Common Law when: a tenant cannot challenge the title of his landlord under customary law, a customary tenant cannot dispute the title of his landlord.

– Obaseki, JSC. Abioye v. Yakubu (1991) – SC.169/1987

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