The procedure for the recovery of possession of premises in Cameroon is regulated by the Recovery of Premises Ordinance CAP 193, 1948, OHADA Uniform Act, Code de Procedure Civile et Commerciale, and Civil Code. The focus shall be on quit notice to tenant and the procedure for the recovery of premises reason why a landlord-tenant agreement is indispensable so as to secure the tenant’s rights.
The objectives for the enactment of the laws on Quit notice to tenant include:
- To regulates the relationship between landlords and tenants
- To prevent arbitrary increments in rents
- To prevent unlawful eviction of tenants
- To prevent illegally holding over by tenants.
The Court of First Instance and the High Court shall have jurisdiction to entertain recovery of possession cases in Cameroon
LANDLORD QUIT NOTICE TO TENANT
The procedure for recovery of premises is technical and strict and a breach of it will result inevitably in the nullity of the whole proceeding, The first procedure is the service of the landlord’s quit notice to the tenant. The landlord quit notice to the tenant must be served personally on the tenant or by substituted service by pasting a copy of the landlord quit notice to the tenant on a conspicuous part of the premises sought to be recovered and such shall be deemed good service.
landlord tenant agreement
The landlord-tenant agreement expressly stipulates the length of the landlord’s quit notice to the tenant. Where there is no express stipulation as to the length of notice to be given by any of the parties in the landlord-tenant agreement, the period of notice shall be determined as follows;
- In a case of a tenancy at will – 1 week’s notice
- In a case of a monthly tenancy -1 monthly notice
- In the case of quarterly tenancy – a quarterly notice
- In a case of a yearly tenancy – half a year’s notice
In the absence of the landlord-tenant agreement, the nature of tenancy shall be determined by reference to the mode of rent payment. The landlord-tenant agreement clears a lot of uncertainties and doubts in the mind of the court.
Content of notice to quit
A valid notice to quit must state the following :
- The tenant should quit and deliver up possession of the premises
- The situation of the premises
- The kind of tenancy
- The date of commencement and expiration as in the landlord-tenant agreement
- The date the notice to quit is to expire
- The Landlord quit notice to the tenant must be dated and signed
The next procedure is for the landlord’s legal practitioner to serve a notice to the tenant of the owner intends to apply to recover possession on the expiry of the landlord’s quit notice to the tenant. Service of the statutory notices is a precondition to the institution of proceedings between landlord and tenant for recovery of premises. If at the expiration of the time which is usually 7 days as stated in the owner’s notice of his intention to recover possession and the tenant fails, refuses, or neglects to quit as demanded, the landlord through his legal practitioner can now file a plaint or writ at the appropriate court in the jurisdiction where the premises is situated.
Grounds for Recovery of Premises
- Breach of an express agreement in the landlord-tenant agreement
- Arrears of rents
- If the premises require substantial repairs
- The premises is required by the landlord for the occupation of himself, any son or daughter of his over 18.
A landlord must serve the above statutory notices and avoid resorting to self-help (Police, change of door locks, Zinc removal, etc). The only avenue open to a landlord who has a recalcitrant tenant is to seek redress in court.
A tenant enjoys a number of rights to the dissatisfaction of the landlord to wit:-
- A tenant can maintain an action for trespass against the landlord
- A tenant can obtain an injunction to restrain his landlord from ejecting him illegally (self-help)
- Tenant’s Right to be served statutory stipulated notice to quit
- A tenant’s Right to question landlord authority to increase rent
To conclude, We recommend a legal practitioner to manage a large estate on behalf of the landlord, prepare and serve statutory notices, ensure payment of rent timely, draft landlord-tenant agreement and evict without violating the tenant’s rights.
An Article by Bar. Mafany Victor Ngando
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.