A lease may be terminated in four principle ways
- Proper Notice
- Effluxion of time
- through surrender
- and finally through frustration Section 46 (i) (a) and 64 of RLA.
What notice serves is to put the party concerned in a position of knowledge of the intention to vacate a notice is required where the lease is for a fixed term. Where it is not reserved, a party may give notice to expire at the end of the leasehold created under the RLA a notice must be given in case of all periodic tenancies and the notice period should be equal to the duration of the tenancy. Under the ITPA six months notice is required for agricultural or manufacturing tenancies and for protected and controlled tenancies.
In all cases where notice is required it must be given in the proper form and failure to do that will render invalid such purported notice.
The significance attached to giving notice lies in the fact that parties may at some point wish to litigate to challenge the legitimacy of the arrangement and where the notice is legitimate it has to be in line with the requirements of time.
Effluxion of S. 43 of the RTA 114 ITPA are instructive that there is an automatic termination of the arrangement upon the period for which it was created comes to an end or if there is a particular event on which the arrangement was predicated, upon the occurrence of that event, or the event upon which the lease was supposed to come to an end, the arrangement will cease e.g. when you talk about a lease for life, when the lessee dies, the lease ceases. There is not requirement to serve notice because it is adequately taken of where the period is certain or capable of being ascertained.
Surrender is another away to terminate a lease provided for under Section 63 of RLA and 114 of ITPA
The tenant gives up the property to the landlord and surrender may be expressed or implied. It may take place prematurely before the lease runs its full course. It is expressly done under RLA and RTA by executing a registered instrument of surrender or by endorsing the word surrender on the lease document or its counterpart in which case the document must be completed by executing the instruments by having it stamped and registered. Under GLA surrender can also be registered.
Implied surrender would be judging from the conduct of the tenant that everything that he has done or in all his actions are inconsistent with the requirements under the grant i.e. if the tenant does not pay rent, vacates the property without notice, this can be considered as implied surrender.
This happens where the landlord takes back the premises upon showing cause that terminates the arrangement. It is an initiative that the landlord takes and Sections 56, 57 58 of the RLA, 111, 112 114 and 115 of the ITPA. Under S. 56 the Lessor’s right of forfeiture lies where the lessee is adjudged bankrupt or being a company goes into liquidation, it is possible for these rights to be waived and the Lessor may do so by continuing to accept rent from the Lessee or by any other conduct which would point or indicate that he regards the relationship as intact. Wavier of right to forfeit is possible under Section 56(3) right to forfeit cannot be exercised unless there is due notice specifying on what grounds the lessor is pursuing that right.
Forfeiture is undertaken by peaceful re-entry of the premises and where the tenant is in occupation and has not resisted re-entry, or through a court order. The effect of exercising this right terminates the lease and with that all rights and interests cease. There are exceptions where these rights would not avail and that are where forfeiture is procured through fraud or where relief is granted in situations involving sub tenancy and the courts have stopped the arrangements
Under Section 108(e) ITPA a lease is frustrated if any material part of the property is destroyed and rendered wholly substantially and permanently unfit for purposes it was let out for and the effect is to render the lease voidable at the option of the lessee. Under RLA where such destruction occurs, rents payable may be wholly or partially suspended until the property has been rendered fit for occupation and use. Where this does not happen in 6 months the tenant can repudiate the arrangement.