Depending on the purpose, duration, and method of establishment, tenancies can be of different types

10/14/20223 min read


Depending on the purpose, duration, and method of establishment, tenancies can be of different types. However, there are essentially five different types of tenancy, as follows:

Tenancy at will Periodic Tenancy Tenancy for a fixed term Statutory tenancy Tenancy by Estoppel.


In simple terms, a tenant at will is that tenant who the landlord gives permission to use a property for a period of time which may not be certain. In this type of tenancy, there is usually no written tenancy agreement which stipulates the terms of the tenancy or the duration for which the tenancy relationship would exist. A tenancy must typically have a set duration; however, a tenancy at will has simply a tenure and no set duration because the parties may elect to end the arrangement at any moment. Examples of tenancy at will include the following, but are not limited to:

Where a person is allowed to occupy premises for an indefinite period rent free.

Where a tenant whose lease has expired holds over the premises without payment of rent to create a new term or where a tenant holds over the premises after the expiration of a notice to quit or the efflux ion of a term certain but his landlord does not take active steps to recover possession.

Where a purchaser of a land has been let into possession pending the completion of the sale of the land.

It is important to remember that, in contrast to other types of tenancies, the landlord must serve a week's Notice to Quit before announcing their intention to file a court application to reclaim possession (Seven days notice). Additionally, S.13 (1) (a) of the Lagos State Tenancy Law of 2011 and Odutola v. Papersack (Nig) Ltd. (2006) LPELR-2259 (SC). In the event that the tenant chooses to vacate the property, he may do so by serving notice of his intention to do so on the landlord or by simply leaving the property.


Periodic tenancy simply denotes a tenancy that lasts for a specific amount of time, as the name suggests. This tenancy is quantified either in terms of the frequency of rent payments or in terms of the number of occupational units of time. The most typical instances include tenancies that last for a month, a quarter, a half-year, or a year. Remember that a periodic tenancy is frequently renewed at the end of the term by paying rent for a new one. Until it is properly resolved by the delivery of a valid Notice to Quit, it typically lasts for a long time.

ermination of this type of tenancy is often by service of notice to quit. According to S. 13 of the Tenancy Law of Lagos State 2011, a yearly tenant is entitled to a six month notice, a half yearly tenant is entitled to three months notice, a quarterly tenant is entitled to three months notice, while a monthly tenant is entitled to one month notice. This is also the position in Abuja, Cross river state and Delta State.


A tenancy for a fixed term is simply one that is for a certain period of time. If a tenant violates a stated or implicit term of the tenancy, the term certain either expires when the time period is up or is terminated by the landlord through the forfeiture process. Furthermore, when the time runs out, the landlord is expected to serve on the tenant a notice of owner’s intention to apply to court to recover possession of the premises. s. 13 of the Lagos State Tenancy Law 2011.

However, where the tenant pays rent at the rate reserved under expired tenancy, he shall be deemed to be a year to year tenant on the same terms as the expired tenancy provided that these terms are applicable to and not inconsistent with a tenancy from year to year.


According to Oduye v. Nigeria Airways Ltd (1987) 2 NWLR (pt 55) 126, a statutory tenant is an occupier who, after his contractual lease expires, retains possession of the property of another person against the wishes of that person, who is adamant about evicting him. This means that even after the tenancy established has ended, you are not allowed by law to evict the person.

A statutory tenancy is not created by agreement between the parties but judicially. It is a mere license and not transferrable because the statute do not confer on the tenant the privilege of assigning his personal right to someone else. Furthermore, a statutory tenant losses his protection upon vacating the premises hence he would be considered a squatter if he retakes possession.


When someone leases property in which he has no title or interest, a tenancy by estoppels is created. Both the lessor and the lessee are unable to refute the existence of the landlord-tenant relationship. Additionally, the conditions of a tenancy that is expressly entered into govern this kind of tenancy.

In conclusion, it is important for the landlord to know the type of tenant he or she has so as to know how /how not to recover the premises from the tenant.

NB: This article is not a legal advice, and under no circumstance should you take it as such. All information provided are for general purpose only. For information, please contact chamanlawfirm@gmail.com


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