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Recovery of house by the landlord
By George Coucounis

The recovery of a house for residence by the landlord is one of the reasons for which an order for repossession may be issued, provided it is reasonably claimed for such purpose, or for the residence of his spouse, child or dependent parent or when the landlord is a family company for residence of one of its members and the Court considers it reasonable to issue the order. The amendment of the Rent Control Law no longer requires the obligation on the landlord to find another house or to pay compensation to the tenant. When there is a genuine and existing need which is immediate and definite on the part of the landlord to recover possession of his house to reside, not just a simple desire, the statutory tenant can be evicted without any compensation. The amendment which took place through Law 102(I)/2005 indicates the intention of the legislator to facilitate evictions from a house, so that the landlord who reasonably claims repossession to succeed in the eviction of the tenant if there is another similar house with reasonable rent for the tenant to reside. Reasonable rent means the market rent and not the one payable by the tenant to the landlord.

The requirements provided in article 11(1)(f) of the Rent Control Law for the recovery of possession of a dwelling house for residence purposes are the following:- (α) the house to be in an area controlled by the Rent Control Law, (b) the tenant to be statutory, (c) the house to be reasonably claimed by the landlord to reside, (d) the landlord to have sent at least one month’s notice to the tenant before filing the application, and (e) the inconvenience caused by the issue of the eviction order to be less than the one caused due its refusal. The Court must also consider the inconvenience, after taking into account all the circumstances of the case, including: (a) whether the tenant is a displaced or a suffering person, (b) if there is another house available with reasonable rent for the tenant to reside, (c) if the landlord purchased the property after 23.4.83 in order to acquire its possession, and (d) the Court considers reasonable the issue of the eviction order.

The provisions of the law and their interpretation through the judgments of the Supreme Court were examined by the Rent Control Court of Limassol in a recent judgment, where the landlord claimed repossession of his house to reside, since an eviction order was issued against him being a tenant. He did not own any other house and he served a notice to the tenant terminating the tenancy and claiming delivery of the house within one month, in accordance with the law. The tenant, even though he alleged that finding another house was difficult, finally admitted that there are similar houses, but the rent is high and that he did not look for another house. The Court found that all the provisions set out in the law were met, the disputed house is a listed building, it was rented in 1980 and is situated within an area under the Rent Control Law. The tenancy was contractual from month to month, since the rent was paid monthly. Therefore, in order for the tenant to become statutory, he had to remain in possession of the house after the expiration or the termination of the first tenancy or he had to be statutory before the enforcement of the law. However, given the fact that he was served with a notice terminating the tenancy but he remained in the house, he became statutory.

As regards the requirement that the house was reasonably claimed for residence, the Court stated that the phrase “reasonably claimed” was interpreted by the case-law to require the existence of a genuine need, something more than simple desire and something much less than absolute necessity and that such a need must be definite and immediate. The landlord’s need must be subjectively genuine and objectively reasonable, but not necessarily imperative. The Court decided to issue the order, since it was reasonable and no inconvenience would be caused to the tenant, since he did not live in the house any longer, having been separated. The term “tenant” includes also his wife even though they were separated, but the landlord did not claim her eviction.

George Coucounis is a lawyer and leading partner of George Coucounis LLC, a legal firm based in Larnaca -Cyprus
E-mail: coucounis.law@cytanet.com.cy  |  www.coucounislaw.com  | tel.:- 24818288.
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