DELAY – NON-PAYMENT OF RENT
Within unprecedented conditions of economic suffocation in our country and with the citizens testing the limits of their strength, redefinition often seems not to be a solution and planning is constantly under review.
The problem that unfortunately real estate owners encounter today is the delay of rent payment, either due to actual difficulty of the tenant or systematic inconsistency with his obligations. In the first case there is always understanding and patience, in the second case, the way and time each interested owner would react to any rent that would lose are of great importance.
Renting an immovable property in Cyprus is governed by the law (Law 23/83), which reproduces to a great extend the laws in force in the United Kingdom. The Rent Control Court oversees the implementation of the law and is composed of a judge and of two lay members. The philosophy of the law is to protect the owner and the tenant as well as to regulate the relationship between them. A tenant can be either a natural or legal person. An owner can be a natural or legal person entitled to possess the rented property. A rent is any amount paid for the property, and the use of furniture if the rented property is furnished. Renting like many other legal relations is essentially a contract between the owner and the tenant and generally the Legislation does not intervene in what has been agreed by the parties, but it raises some basic restrictions aiming to protect the tenant and the owner. Measures to protect the tenant are the increase of the rent which can only be determined by the court after 2 years from the date of the previous increase.
PROPERTY REPOSSESSION BY AN OWNER
An owner can repossess his property when
- the tenant delays to pay the rent – requires 21 days of notices.
- the owner provides evidence to the court that he requires the property for ownership.
- the tenant causes nuisance or damage, or sublease in violation to the agreement or receiving a disproportionate gain from selling air (goodwill).
The suspension of a decision issued by the court so that the owner recovers possession may last 1 year. Within this period the tenant may be complied so the owner – depending on the case- based on the decision loses the right to recover property possession.
Cyprus is unique in that according to the law, rent of any duration is not valid unless signed by the parties in the presence of two witnesses.
The Cyprus Association of Estate Agent Entrepreneurs with the excellent collaboration among its members and its experience through the years, know to a certain degree the problematic tenants and can easily protect you. In case of non-payment of rent, the real estate agent can intervene and help resolve the problem. The major concern of the association is that while there is legislation, in practice is not applied and it is both time consuming and expensive for an owner. Interested investors hesitate to buy properties to rent them as well. The negative disincentives of the legislation for problematic tenants perplex even more the investors and as a result the decision of buying a property becomes even more difficult with many consequences in the market that is weak due to the financial crisis. A proposal of the association is to change the existing legislation and problematic tenants should be evicted from the property in three to four months to protect property owners from the state.
The phenomenon extends throughout Cyprus and the legislation becomes a pure exploitation by problematic tenants. The relevant departments of the State in direct cooperation between them should give a solution to this serious phenomenon before we reach the point of having problematic tenants parade and be confronted with the worst from the desperate owners.