How To Evict A Stubborn Squatter From Your Premises Without Breaking The Law

I saw this very useful comment by a Nairalander who just has to be a brilliant lawyer, and I though it contained gems of useful information on how to evict a stubborn squatter tenant from your premises without falling afoul of the law.

(Please, if the squatter is not stubborn, but someone who really has financial problems, don’t use these tips because they will work. Instead at least give them time to get somewhere else. Read what Daboomb writes about dashing a squatter new rights they can use against you below.)

Many Nigerian landlords in evicting squatter tenants do so many illegal things that often gets them arrested. they think it is enough that the premises belongs to them, so they can do anything. Not so.

At the same time, some who are afraid of falling afoul of the law allow a troublesome tenant to intimidate them and prevent them from enjoying their property, because they don’t know that as Daboomb says, Tenants have rights, as do House owners.

Daboomb explains;

If you are not a bonafide tenant, you cant enjoy the “rights” of a tenant, under the law.

So, the crux of the matter is for you to establish that he is NOT a Tenant in that premises but rather he is Trespassing on your property.

*get the original tenancy agreement of the tenant he is squatting with, from the Lawyer (I dont trust that your Lawyer one bit!).
*get the real tenant to “communicate with you” in writing that the has vacated the residence. You can send him a chat message asking if he is still interested in the house but you must phrase it in a way that will make him to say NO.

For example, tell him their are some charges that he needs to pay (Security charge, Maintenance charges, e.t.c that amounts to #100K), and you want to know if he should be billed, on the assumption that he is still holding unto the place!

I am sure he will quickly tell you that he is no longer responsible for the place!

Armed with that “exchange of communication”, you can just reply him that since he has vacated the place, you will no longer demand such money from him nor establish further communication with him and just wish him well in his new abode.

Now, go back to the “Squatter” and let him know that he is TRESPASSING on your property.
Dont even say he is squatting at all.

Give him two days to disappear (ofc, he wont).
Report a case of “Trespassing on private property” to the Police and charge him to court.
In the meantime, you have the right to recover your property as the law does not protect anyone committing an offence.
Double Lock the place and let him go and bring Police (The same Police that you have reported him to, for Trespassing!)

As for the Mediation Center, simply tell them you dont know him and that you have reported him to the Police for trespassing on your property.
Since he is the one that would be claiming he is your Tenant, the onus is on him to provide evidence of a tenancy contract between YOu and HIM.

Now, (if you want to be nice…l am not) he can be advised to leave the place, with a “written undertaking” in place, in a week or two weeks time (Its not your business if he sleeps under the bridge, he is obviously a trouble maker and such people dont deserve any pity).
Dont agree to more than two weeks, be firm on this because after that length of time, you are going to “dash him” some “Squatter Rights” which you dont want to.

On the contrary, he might prove stubborn:
Charge his Trespass case to court .. while he will charge you to court for violating his “tenancy rights”, as a Landlord!
Your Lawyer will insist, at the Mediation Centre, that there is an ongoing “Criminal case” on the matter and as such, it super-ceeds a “Civil case” of Tenancy.
A Criminal case must finish before the civil part/matter can be heard!

So, he gets docked for trespassing….. and You win that case because you did not rent the place to him nor did you have any rent Contract with him.

His defence will be that “he sublet the place” from the previous Tenant.
You will debunk that by saying the previous tenant has vacated the place and you dont know who he is andneither are you a party to subletting, which is unlawful and illegal.
(That “written communication” you established with the bonafide tenant, is your proof)

Apart from the fact that subletting is illegal, you actually dont know him. Finito.
He could be fined or jailed for Trespassing. I dont give a f*ck!

The Civil case will die a natural death, using the same arguments above (ofc, he wont even show face again.)

The thread where I got this from contains other useful tips. To read them, click this.

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