Renewal of rent contract
Question: A year ago, I had rented my villa to someone and the lease contract expired in February 2022. Thereafter, the tenant did not seek renewal of the contract, on the pretext that he had carried out maintenance work on the villa and asked me to reimburse the maintenance cost. Only then he would renew the lease. The amount of reimbursement claimed is huge and I never told him to do any maintenance work during the rental period. My question is: Is the tenant legally entitled to make such a request for reimbursement? Can I file a lawsuit to terminate the lease contract and evict the tenant since he has not renewed the lease contract for more than two months now? Please advice
Answer: First of all, the tenant doesn’t have the right not to renew the contract merely on the ground that he has carried out maintenance work on the villa, because one of the tenant’s obligations is not to carry out a non-agreed upon maintenance work without the permission of the landlord. Article 19 of Law No 26 of 2007 states: Tenant must pay the rent value on due dates and preserve the property as his or her own. He or she also shall not make any changes, renovations or carry out any maintenance work without the landlord’s permission, after obtaining necessary approvals from competent authorities. This shall not violate the tenant’s obligation to execute agreed-upon maintenance or that which is ordinarily done by tenants.
So, based on these legal provisions, if the tenant requests for any amount for carrying out any maintenance or repair work on the premises, then he or she must file a case with the Rental Dispute Centre and the latter will then take a decision on that matter.
Secondly, you cannot file a case to evict the tenant because of non-renewal of the rent contract, unless you notify the tenant, through the notary public, to pay the pending rental amount for two months. In case if he doesn’t pay within 30 days, then you have the right to evict him according to Article (25) of the law, which states: 1) The landlord may seek eviction of the tenant from the property prior to the expiry of the term of the tenancy only in the following cases:
A) Where the tenant fails to pay the rent or any part thereof within 30 days after the date a notice to pay is given to the tenant by the landlord, unless otherwise agreed by the parties.
B) Where the tenant sub-lets the property or any part thereof without obtaining the landlord’s approval in writing.
c) Where the tenant uses the property or allows others to use it for any illegal purpose or for a purpose that breaches public order or morals.
D) Where the tenant of a commercial property leaves the property unoccupied for no valid reason.
E) Where the tenant makes a change to the property that renders it unsafe in a manner that makes it impossible to restore the property to its original state or damages the property.
F) Where the tenant uses the property for a purpose other than that for which the property was leased.
G) Where the property is condemned.
H) Where the tenant fails to observe any obligation imposed on him or her by this law or any of the terms of the Tenancy Contract within 30 days from the date a notice to perform such obligation or term is served upon him by the landlord.
I) Where competent government entities require demolition or reconstruction of the property.
For the purposes of paragraph (1) of this Article, the landlord will issue a notice to the tenant through a Notary Public or registered post.