By Femi F. Dodo, Esq.

1.0. INTRODUCTION
Recovery of premises is governed by the tenancy law or the recovery of premises laws of each state as the case may be. The case of PILLARS NIG. LIMITED V DESBORDES & ANOR (2021) 12 NWLR (pt.1789) P.122., delivered on Friday, the 5th day of February 2021 by the Supreme Court is upon an appeal against the Judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos delivered on the 8th day of May, 2009, affirming the judgment of the High Court of Lagos State delivered on the 8th day of December 2000. The action and the subject matter property being related to Lagos State, the legal analysis in this article will be confined to the Tenancy law of Lagos State 2011, the High Court of Lagos state [Civil procedure] Rules 2019 and other relevant Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria.

2.0. BACKGROUND
The Law impose a strict procedure for the recovery of premises which failure to comply will invalidate any suit for the recovery of possession. The rationale for this strict procedure is to protect tenants – usually vulnerable in the tenancy relationship – from the excesses and abuses of landlords as well as prevent illegal holding over by dishonest tenants.
Any slip in the procedure such as failure to serve notices to quit or the seven [7] days notice of owners intention to apply to recover possession or a defect in computation of the length of the notice will invalidate the suit for recovery of possession, render same a nullity and rob the court of its jurisdiction to entertain any suit for recovery of possession arising therefrom.

3.0. BRIEF STATEMENT OF THE LAW ON THE PROCEDURE FOR RECOVERY OF PREMISES

The Law is settled that where a landlord wants to recover his property from a tenant, he must unless the tenancy has been determined by effluxion of time, serve on the tenant a notice to quit which terminates the tenancy and alter the position of the holder of the premises from tenant, to a tenant at sufferance, to statutory tenant.Section 13 of the tenancy Law of Lagos State 2011 provides thus-

13.-(1) where there is no stipulation as to the notice to be given by either party to determine the tenancy, the following shall apply- (a) a week’s notice for a tenant at will;

(b) one (1) month’s notice for a monthly tenant;
(c) three (3) months notice for a quarterly tenant;
(d) three (3) months notice for a half-yearly tenant; and
(e) six (6) months notice for a yearly tenant
(2) In the case of a monthly tenancy, where the tenant is in arrears of rent for six (6) months, the tenancy shall lapse and the Court shall make an order for possession and arrears of rent upon proof of the arrears by the landlord.
(3) In the case of a quarterly or half-yearly tenancy, where the tenant is in arrears of one (1) year rent, the tenancy shall lapse and the Court shall make an order for possession and arrears of rent upon proof of the arrears by the landlord.From the clear reading of section 13 [2] & [3] of the tenancy Law of Lagos state, a notice to quit as it relates to arrears of rent can only be dispensed with, where a monthly tenant is in arrears of six [6] months or, quarterly and half-yearly tenants are in arrears of at least one year of rent.It is therefore clear from the reading of section 13 [2] & [3] that a notice to quit can never be dispensed with where a yearly tenant is in arrears of rent. Section 16 of the tenancy Law of Lagos state provides as follows:

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