How do I eject a third party from my premises?
Dear Mirror Lawyer, What is the procedure for ejecting a third party who is in occupation of my premises without my consent?
My tenant has absconded and left the premises in the hands of a third person.
Thomas Graham, Adentan
Dear Thomas, section 17 of the Rent Act, 1963 (Act 220) gives the conditions under which a person can eject another from leased premises.
Where the person is a trespasser or as we would usually call a squatter, then he would have no case.
The Rent Act controls the sub-letting of residential premises.
It is wrong under Section 22 (1) of the Rent Act for a tenant to sub-let the premises without the written consent of the landlord.
Section 22 (3) further provides that a sub-lessor is enjoined to inform the head-lessor of any sub-lease and the terms thereof within 14 days of such sub-letting.
Whether the agreement between you and the absconded tenant was an oral or written agreement, it is still a valid tenancy which you must lead evidence to establish the nature of the transaction.
If oral, you may need to call witnesses who can establish the nature of the relationship with the tenant.
Section 22(1) and (3) of the Rent Act render the grant of the land to this sub-tenant void ab initio.
Since the grant is void from the beginning, you will not be in contravention of the Rent Act if you decide to re-enter your premises.
In my humble opinion, you would be better of channelling your resources into ensuring that you are able to re-enter your premises instead of calling for an independent valuation to determine the actual expenditure which would not help your case in any way.
The remedies open to you are that you can sue both your tenant and his alleged sub-lessee.
Where a covenant that runs with the premises is breached, the tenant and an assignee entitled to the premises at the time of the breach are each liable to be sued by the landlord or any person claiming through him.
However, the primary liability is that of the assignee.