How to Respond to a Rent Increase Letter in Nigeria

If you are from Nigeria, you should already know that rent increase also referred to as rent review has become the new normal for many landlords. This is not to say that rent increase has never been on the scene before now, it’s been there all along but the difference now is that most landlords review rents without sufficient justification.

A landlord is supposed to justify their reasons for increasing rents considering the hardships that so many low-income earners go through daily they would rather raise the rents based on comparable rents without recourse to the available facilities which the comparable properties provide their tenants.

Worse still is the rate of rent increase which most times is pulled out without cognizance of the law on the percentage, condition and period of rent review.

Under What Circumstances Can There Be a Rent Increase for An Apartment

  1. When the cost of maintenance skyrockets due to inflation or certain government policy
  2. When it is glaring that a property commands rent below the full market value
  3. When rent passing on similar properties with the same or near facilities and accommodation features go for much higher rents
  4. When the demand for accommodation supersedes available housing supply due to a population surge
  5. When the landlord makes reasonable improvements on the property to the benefit of the tenants.
  6. When a high tax is imposed on the property
  7. When sitting tenants have lived in a property for more than 5years
  8. If there is a clause in the tenancy agreement that says that rents should be increased after several years (usually 3 years)
  9. When tenants demand for installation of facilities that may not be available at the time of their demand.
  10. When tenants take up more accommodation units than were previously occupied

When none of the above reasons applies, the tenant can reply to a letter of rent increase either orally or in writing.

For oral response:

The tenant can call the landlord or his agent/managers via telephone to disclose a disagreement with the rent increase alternatively, a meeting could be scheduled to discuss the rent review issue.

But in most cases, a written letter suffices.

To respond to a rent increase letter; the following should be thrown at the landlord or his/her agent.

  1. Start with telling the landlord that you received a letter concerning on rent increment
  2. Express your dissatisfaction over the sudden rent review
  3. Remind him of the type of tenant that you are and the clause in the tenancy agreement where your tenancy status is expressed
  4. Give him reasons why the letter shouldn’t apply to you
  5. Remind him of the economic hardship that you’ve had to manage
  6. Politely refute his reasons for the rent review by giving a counter-opinion
  7. Appreciate him and make an irresistible promise
  8. Conclude 
Dear Landlord,
I received your letter with reference AD/2023/WE/003 dated 14th April 2023 on the above subject matter. I write to express my dissatisfaction over the recent rent increase in respect of the apartment which I occupy. Recall that in article 3(2c) in the tenancy agreement, it was made clear that I am a yearly tenant and, hence deserve at least six months’ notice to prepare and make up the required addition to the rent. This notice came a month before my next renewal which is unacceptable going by my tenancy agreement.
Secondly, this is my second year in this property, please refer to article 4(2) of the same tenancy agreement which said that rents will only be reviewed after the first three years of the tenancy subject to sufficient notice by the landlord. Going by the above references, I humbly reject your letter and pray that you change your mind on this while allowing me my privacy and enjoyment of the apartment I paid for and signed for.
In this economic hardship, it is hoped that landlords should be lenient on their tenants, I am not saying that you should not increase rents, I am only after doing things the right way.
Thank you for your anticipated consideration of this request. I remain a loyal tenant and will do my best to ensure that I add value to the apartment that I occupy.

Yours faithfully,  
Your tenant  

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