The eviction of tenants and recovery of premises in Cameroon is regulated on the one hand by the Recovery of Premises Ordinance CAP 193, 1948, the OHADA Uniform Act, code de procedure civile et commercial which forms the civil procedure, and on the other hand section 322-1 of the Cameroon Penal Code which forms the criminal procedure.
The Civil Procedure to evict tenants and recover premises in Cameroon
The civil procedures are regulated by the above-mentioned laws and they have as objectives:-
- Regulate the relationship between landlords and tenants.
- Prevent arbitrary increments of rents by landlords.
- Prevent unlawful eviction of tenants.
- Prevent illegal occupation by tenants.
The eviction procedure under the civil law
This procedure as opposed to the criminal procedure is focused on the landlord’s quit notice to the tenant for the recovery of premises. In line with this procedure, the rights of the tenants must be strictly protected.
The kind and duration of a landlord notice to quit to be served on a tenant by a process server are based on the type of landlord-tenant agreement. In this regard, the period of notice shall be determined as follows;
- A tenancy ay will – 1 week’s notice
- A monthly tenancy – 1-month notice
- A quarterly tenancy – a quarterly notice
- Yearly tenancy – half a year’s notice.
Any tenancy regime exercised without the presence of a tenancy agreement will be determined by the nature of the payment.
What are the contents of a quit notice?
The quit notice served on a tenant must contain the following information;
- The tenant is instructed to quit and deliver up possession.
- The kind to tenancy regime.
- The situation of the premises.
- The date of commencement of the tenancy.
- The date of expiration of the tenancy.
- The date of expiration of the quit notice.
- The date and signature on the quit notice.
The process server in collaboration with the legal practitioner of the landlord will serve a notice of the landlord’s intention to apply to recover possession after the expiry of the notice period.
The court will not entertain any matter on the intention of the landlord to recover his premises if the service of notice procedure has not been respected. In this light, after the expiry of the statutory notice period on the tenant, the landlord shall through his legal practitioner, in collaboration with the process server serve on the tenant a 7 days notice to quit.
If the tenant fails to vacate the premises of the landlord, then the landlord in his capacity as the plaintiff shall through his legal practitioner file a plaint or writ against the tenant before the competent court in which jurisdiction the property is situated.
The Criminal Procedure to evict tenants
According to section 322-1 of the Cameroon penal code on renting fraud, it is stated that whoever rents a built or unbuilt property on the basis of a duly registered contract, owing two months’ rent, and who has not paid such rents or vacated the said property, one month after the service of a notice to pay or quit, shall be punished with imprisonment for from 6 months to 3 years or with fine of from 100,000fcfa to 300,000fcfa, or with both such imprisonment and fine.
Upon conviction, the court shall, in addition, order the eviction of the tenant or any other occupant.