RENTING RESIDENTIAL UNITS
The rules of renting residential units are defined by the following regulations:
- The act on protecting the rights of residents, communal housing resources and on the amendment of the civil code
- The civil code, and in particular articles 680-692 which, contrary to the act on protecting the rights of residents, are of general nature only, which means that they will apply only in the cases unregulated by the act.
- The act on housing associations, if the subject matter of the lease is a residential unit owned by a housing association.
Primary obligations of the parties to a housing unit tenancy agreement:
|The Lessor: the party that leases out the flat
||The Tenant: the entity that will be using the flat
The flat’s owner need not always be its lessor. Other parties, such as tenants, users or lessees, may also have the right to lease out the flat. Therefore, when renting the flat from a party other than the owner, it is a good idea for familiarise oneself with such person’s legal title to the flat in question, e.g. the tenancy agreement, because it may contain limitations with respect to the sub-leasing of the flat by such parties.
The parties may conclude the agreement in any form, but the civil code requires that the agreement be in writing in the case of tenancy lasting longer than a year. If the agreement is not concluded in writing, it is automatically assumed that the agreement has been concluded for an indefinite period of time. Due to the requirement to document the place of residence and the requirement to become registered as a tenant, the written form of the agreement is recommended in the case of foreigners.
Concluding the agreement may be conditional upon the tenant’s payment of the security deposit covering his or her liabilities resulting from the tenancy due to the lessor on the date of returning the flat (e.g. outstanding rent or payments for utilities, as well as the costs of repairing the equipment/flat furnishings damaged by the tenant). The sum of the deposit must not exceed 12 monthly rents for the given flat, calculated according to the rates in force on the date of signing the agreement (article 6 of the act); however, in practice, the deposit is usually equal to 1-3 months’ rent. Payment of the deposit should be confirmed by a relevant certificate signed by the lessor. The tenancy agreement should clearly state the manner of returning the deposit or using it to cover the rent. The deposit must be returned within a month from the date of returning the flat by the tenant, after deducting the above-mentioned receivables due to the lessor.
The tenancy agreement may be terminated by notice or by mutual consent of the parties.
Termination by the lessor: may only take place for the reasons set forth in article 11 items 2-5 and in article 21 items 4 and 5 of the act (other reasons may constitute the basis for terminating the agreement solely by the court) and it should be in writing under pain of nullity, and it must also state the reason for termination.
Occasional tenancy agreement
An agreement regulated by the act, providing special measures reinforcing the lessors position with respect to the tenant, e.g. making it easier to remove the tenant from the flat after terminating the agreement.
Utilising the above-mentioned special measures is conditional upon the lessor’s reporting the fact of concluding an occasional tenancy agreement to the tax office.
Aside from a small number of exceptions the provisions of the act do not apply to such a “reported” agreement; instead, the civil code applies, which grants more rights to the lessor, e.g. the right to freely increase the rent.
If the agreement is not reported to the tax office, its effects are the same as that of a regular tenancy agreement, and, among other things, it is fully subject to the act.
This agreement may only be concluded for a definite period of time no longer than 10 years, and it must be made in writing under pain of nullity.
The agreement must be supplemented with additional documents associated with the possible eviction of the tenant from the flat. These documents include, but are not limited to:
- A declaration of the tenant made in the form of a notarial deed, in which the tenant surrendered to the enforcement and undertook to empty and return the flat by the date set forth by the lessor (after the agreement expires or is terminated);
- The lessor’s indication of another flat in which the tenant could stay in case of enforcing the obligation to empty and vacate the premises;
- A declaration of the owner of the flat or a person with a legal title to the flat to which the tenant undertakes to move that her or she agrees to the tenant’s stay in such a flat; upon request of the lessor the declaration is attached together with a signature certified by a notary.
Contents of a residential unit tenancy agreement
The tenancy agreement should contain the following elements:
The date and city where the agreement has been concluded.