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Thursday, September 15, 2022

Tenancy agreement and Lease agreeement in Cameroon

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A tenancy agreement is one of those areas in law that the average citizen needs adequate knowledge in. On average more than 80 percent of dwellers in cosmopolitan cities in Africa are tenants. Averagely, more than a third of the monthly income of tenants goes to meet with their rents and leases. About 35 percent of complaints received at local law enforcement offices are directly or indirectly have links to tenancy disputes.

This makes the area of tenancy agreements to concern and important to the average citizen.  Tenancy agreements and lease agreements are treated like similar terms under Cameroon law. So we will use the terms interchangeably hence. In this article, we will look at who is a tenant and what is a tenancy agreement. We will proceed to look at how tenancy agreements are supposed to be drawn as well as the rights and obligations it gives to the parties of this agreement.

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Who is a tenant in Cameroon?

According to the Recovery of Premises Ordinance CAP 193 of 1948, a tenant is “in relation to a tenancy,  means the person for the time being entitled to the tenancy, whether or not he is in occupation of the holding, and includes a sub-tenant”.

What’s a Tenancy Agreement in Cameroon?

As understood from the Recovery of Premises Ordinance CAP 193 of 1948, a tenancy is the attribution or assignment of a premise by an agreement written or oral to a legal person for a period not exceeding 21 years.

A tenancy agreement is therefore a relationship between a person and his landlord. The tenancy agreement gives birth to rights and obligations to both the tenant and the landlord. Essentially the most predominant issue of a tenancy is that it’s for a specific period in time and can be renewed. The tenancy and lease agreement are treated as one and the same term in the 1948 law.

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  • landlord quit notice to tenant
  • laws governing landlords and tenants
  • residential tenancy agreement
  • residential lease agreement

Which laws govern tenancy agreements in Cameroon?

It is worth noting that Cameroon law is governed by two legal systems inherited from their colonial masters. The Common law as practiced in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon and the “Droit civil” as practiced in the rest of the 8 regions.

Leases or tenancy relationships in Cameroon are governed by three different legislations.

  1. The OHADA Uniform Act on General Commercial Law 1998 as amended
  2. The “Code Civil” applicable in French-speaking Cameroon and
  3. The Recovery of Premises Ordinance Chapter 176, applicable in English-speaking Cameroon.
  • laws governing landlords and tenants
  • landlord quit notice to tenant
  • laws governing landlords and tenants
  • residential tenancy agreement
  • residential lease agreement

Things agreed upon in a tenancy or lease agreement

  1. The date on which the lease was obtained
  2. Names and handle of the owner and the tenant
  3. The premises or property to be given out. Here, it has to be described and specifically delimited, for example, The second apartment from the left excluding the external store.
  4. The specific amount of money to be paid for the specific period. For example, 60000 FCFA monthly.
  5. How often will the rent be paid? Will it be monthly or 3 months in advance etc.
  6. When will the rent be paid? Will it be paid after consuming the month or before the month starts.
  7. The length of period that the agreement will be valid. This is where the parties decide how long the property will remain in the hands of the tenant. They however could decide that it be for an indefinite period.
  8. How many months will the tenant need to pay as an inertial payment? It is common to see landlords demanding 6 months to 1 year advance payment.
  9. How much will be held by the landlord as caution (if it applies)?
  10. Procedures for paying rent
  11. Conditions for non-payment or late payment of rent
  12. Move-out requirements
  13. Some rules on how the landlord will want that you observe during your occupation of his property.
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  • laws governing landlords and tenants
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  • residential lease agreement

Rights of the landlord

The rights of the landlord exist primarily to protect his property and investments. A landlord has the right to:

  1. Carry out inspections, repairs, and maintenance on the property. However, he is to inform the tenant on inspection sessions else it could be seen as disturbing the tenant’s quiet enjoyment of the property.
  2. Collect rent due him from the tenant, on time and in exchange for the tenant’s continuous peaceful and quiet use of the property.
  3. Gradually and reasonably increase rents on his property as time passes. He will have to inform the tenant of this decision well before he implements as to give time for the tenant to come up with the increment.
  4. Collect a security deposit or commonly known as caution from the tenant before they sign the tenancy agreement.
  5. Carefully screen and select each tenant before they sign the tenancy agreement. He has to make sure that he does this without engaging in any form of housing discrimination.
  6. Restrict a tenant from subletting the property to another tenant.
  7. To legally evict a tenant who damages rental property or violates the terms of the rented property. The landlord, however, does not have the right to do this eviction on his own like a do-it-yourself style. He has to follow legal rules to carry this out. He is also not to carry out constructive eviction tactics like cutting off water or electricity while the tenant still resides there.

Duties or obligations of the Landlord

The landlord has the obligation to:

  1. Carry out repairs on the property as they ware with age
  2. Keep the property clean, safe and habitable
  3. Adhere to all building codes
  4. Maintain common areas
  5. Keep all vital utilities, such as the plumbing, electricity, and heat, in good working conditions
  6. Must provide proper waste receptacles.
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  • laws governing landlords and tenants
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  • residential lease agreement

Rights of the tenant

  1. The tenant has the right to peacefully and quietly enjoy the premises. No arbitrary interference from the landlord is allowed.
  2. The tenant has rights to his privacy, him, and his family. If the landlord wants to pass around to inspect his property, he has to give notice to the tenant before he comes.
  3. The tenant has rights to exclusive enjoyment of the premises. For example, the landlord will have to remove whatever he has that still remains in the place rented if it does not include the rented property.
  4. The tenant has the right to reasonably make use of common areas. For example, the tenant has rights to use the drying line or the yard or road leading to the place he has rented.

All these rights of the tenant in the lease agreement are subject to the fact that they meet up with their obligations as are listed further below.

Obligations of the tenant

  1. Keeping the property safe and in proper sanitary conditions. Tenants must keep their dwelling in a reasonably safe and clean condition. They must not keep dangerous objects and materials that could cause harm to neighbors.
  2. Disposing of garbage. Tenants have the responsibility to throw out their own garbage, debris, and other wastes according to the sanitary rules in the locality.
  3. Maintaining plumbing fixtures. When provided with these, the tenant must do her best to keep all plumbing fixtures they use, such as the toilet or shower, in good condition.
  4. Correctly use the plumbing and electrical installations. The tenant must correctly operate them as they are to be operated.
  5. Not damaging the unit. The tenant has that responsibility to make sure that they, including all of their guests, or anyone they allow onto the property not inflict any damage on any item they are renting. This includes intentional as well as unintentional damage, damaging by neglect, or removing any part of the property.
  6. The tenant has the obligation to respect the peace and quiet of the neighbours. Tenants are to conduct themselves and ensure that their family’s conduct does not disturb neighbours. They are to keep from loud music and screams around the property.
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  • laws governing landlords and tenants
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  • residential lease agreement

Can a landlord evict a tenant from his premises?

Sure, a landlord can evict a tenant from his premises as far as reasonable notice is given to the tenant as required by the law. The tenant can be ejected from the premise if they not only fail to pay rents but also if they unlawfully use the premise, are a nuisance to the neighbours, or breach any terms in the lease agreement. If the tenant deserts the property, the landlord can also eject the tenant from it.

CONCLUSION

A tenancy or lease agreement is extensively utilized by landlords who intend to present out their property at some point in time not exceeding 3 years. Tenancy agreement stipulates the circumstances agreed upon by each event in the midst of any tenancy. A tenancy agreement in Cameroon has to be drafted by the solicitor to the owner and has to be correctly scrutinized by a potential tenant earlier than appending his or her signature.

  • laws governing landlords and tenants
  • landlord quit notice to tenant
  • laws governing landlords and tenants
  • residential tenancy agreement
  • residential lease agreement
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