Lagos Targets 60 Days for Landlord-Tenant Dispute Resolution

The Lagos State Government says it is committed to quick dispensation of justice, saying it is particularly looking at a situation where landlord-tenant disputes are resolved within 60 days in court.

The state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Lawal Pedro (SAN), gave the hint at the weekend during a parley with judiciary correspondents.

Pedro harped on the need to maintain law and order in the state to boost investor’s confidence.

He said the executive was working hand-in-hand with the legislature and the judiciary to create a state where law and order reigned.

He said, “The issue of landlord and tenants will be given adequate attention to ensure that such matters in court do not last more than 60 days in our court. We are working towards ensuring that appeals on such matters do not deprive house owners of getting arrears of rent from their property.

“I can also assure you that the state laws will be enforced now to encourage economic activities and protect investments. It is when the law is properly enforced that development can come.”

The commissioner said the state had begun moves to amend obsolete laws to reflect current realities.

“Our Law Reform Commission is already working towards reviewing some of the obsolete laws in the state. Through the state House of Assembly, we will be getting that down pretty soon.

“The focus of Governor Sanwo-Olu is to use the justice system to drive economic activities and investments in Lagos. We already have the Administration of Criminal Justice Law and we have reviewed our civil procedure laws and many others,” Pedro said.

Speaking on the wave of demolition by the government, the attorney-general said, “What does it take for a citizen to comply with the law? You are aware of the law and you choose to breach the law; when the long arm of the law is at work, you begin to cry foul.

“The media must begin to enlighten and educate members of the public on the need to obey laws. Nobody is happy when houses are being demolished but unfortunately, in law, they are illegal developments.

“The first point we must harp on is that there must be voluntary compliance with the law. I can tell you from my own personal experience that in any building that is brought down, there would have been a contravention notice served six months earlier, hoping that the defaulter would stop.

“Somebody commences construction of a building, at the foundation level, officials ask for building approval and there is none; they serve a contravention notice and it is ignored.

“The person goes to the first floor and notice is served, at the third floor, a stop-work notice is also served but he continues. When the law is applied to bring down the house, he begins to appeal to sentiment. We must begin to advise residents to obey the law as regards building in the right places and getting the appropriate approvals.”