Renting a Residential Apartment
On this page, we will discuss the process of renting from both the tenant’s and the landlord’s perspectives.
A residential apartment lease binds its parties and can be either for a fixed term or indefinitely ongoing. When renting out a room or an apartment for residential purposes, the Tenancy Act comes into effect. The binding nature of the lease agreement is assessed based on the content of the signed lease agreement and any other possible evidence.
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Landlord - Termination of the Lease Agreement
A landlord may find themselves in a situation where they need to terminate an ongoing lease agreement. There can be various reasons for this. Before taking any actions, it’s important to carefully determine whether there are legal grounds for ending the lease. Terminating a lease agreement without valid reasons can prove costly for the landlord. A landlord can terminate the lease agreement through either giving notice or canceling it. “Cancellation” refers to the immediate termination of the lease without a notice period.
Termination of Lease Agreement
Termination of a lease agreement usually occurs through the tenant’s voluntary termination, which does not require any specific reasons. According to the law, the tenant’s notice period is one month, calculated from the last day of the calendar month in which the notice was given, unless otherwise agreed. The tenant’s notice period cannot be extended through a contract.
When the landlord terminates a lease agreement that has been in effect for at least a year, the legal notice period is a minimum of six months. If the tenancy has been shorter, the notice period is reduced to three months. In order to obtain immediate protection against termination, the tenant must, while the tenancy is ongoing and within three months of receiving the notice, file a lawsuit in court to declare the termination ineffective. The landlord’s termination can be declared ineffective. This is possible if the court considers the termination unreasonable based on the tenant’s circumstances and if there was no valid reason for the termination. Indirect protection against termination can be sought by the tenant even up to three years after the end of the tenancy. In this case, the court will consider whether the termination of the tenancy was contrary to good manners.
Cancellation of Lease Agreement
The grounds for cancelling a residential lease are significantly stricter compared to the grounds for giving notice. The grounds for cancellation are exhaustively listed in Section 61 of the Residential Lease Act. The most common grounds for cancellation are unpaid rents or disruptive behavior by the tenant in the rented premises. For the latter ground, the landlord is obliged to provide the tenant with a warning before initiating the cancellation process. If the tenant’s behavior continues despite the warning, the lease can be cancelled. However, if the grounds for cancellation are related to rent payment default, giving a warning is not a prerequisite for cancellation. Instead, the general condition applies that the tenant’s default should have a significance greater than minor to warrant the cancellation of the lease. For instance, a situation where the tenant has once paid the rent a couple of days late does not justify the cancellation of the lease agreement.