Covid-19 Update: Suspension of evictions in cases of non-payment of rent. Which tenants does it concern?
On 27/03/2020, the Rent Control (Temporary Provisions) Law of 2020 (the “Law”) came into force, according to which, all eviction procedures are suspended until 31 May 2020 provided that any rents due by February 29, 2020 have been paid.
Which contracts are covered by the Rental?
The Law concerns rental contracts which are covered by Rent Control. For a rental contract to be covered by Rent Control, the following criteria must be cumulatively met:
- The leased property must be located within a controlled area and must have been completed prior to 31/12/1999. The controlled areas are all urban centers and large villages – that is, areas where most of the population lives.
- The tenant must have become a rent-controlled tenant. For someone to be considered a rent-controlled tenant, s/he must remain in possession after the end or the termination of the initial tenancy agreement.
T rented property from O for the period of two years, from 12/02/2010 to 11/02/2012. The property was completed before 31/12/1999. T remains in possession of the property to this day. T has become a rent-controlled tenant since 12/02/2012. Therefore, his relationship with O comes within the ambit of Rent Control.
- A written notice must have been served to the Tenant according to which rent due is claimed.
- Twenty one (21) days must have passed after service of the notice mentioned above without the rent being offered to the Owner.
- After filing for eviction at the Rent Control Court, the tenant continues not to pay the rent for 14 days.
In which cases does the suspension of eviction apply?
As already mentioned, the aforementioned Law has a limited application given that the suspension of any eviction relates to cases of overdue rents after 29/02/2020. This means that in case the tenant owes rents concerning any period prior to the 29/02/2020, then the landlord may proceed to evict the tenant.
We note that filing a lawsuit is in any case limited until 30/04/2020 following the decision of the Supreme Court to suspend all Court proceedings except for specific categories of cases. Therefore, the Law merely limits the registration of eviction applications for a period of one month. That is, from 01/05/2020 until 31/05/2020.
In which cases does the law not apply?
The Law does not affect lawsuits which relate to the recovery of rents, regardless of the date that these became due. This is because the Law refers to eviction proceedings and not to proceedings relating to the recovery for the payment of outstanding rents. Also, it does not cover cases between tenants and landlords not falling within the rent control (eg in cases where the building was completed after 31/12/1999 or in cases where the building is outside the controlled area).
This article is given for information purposes only and it does not constitute legal advice.