New rent law gives landlords more power over bad tenants

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Cyprus’ Parliament on Friday approved an amendment to the rent control law making it easier for landlords to evict tenants who fall into arrears or deliberately don’t pay their dues.

A majority of MPs backed the bill with 31 votes in favour, 15 against and two abstentions.

The House voted in the bill which will reform the law regulating out-of-court settlements in disputes over property rental agreements.

The law proposal was tabled by three ruling DISY MPs to fast track cases in which tenants do not keep to their side of the agreement.

Now the process could take weeks rather than years to secure eviction of a bad tenant.

The law is not retrospective or has any effect over cases which are currently disputed in a court of law.

According to the head of the House Legal Committee George Georgiou, “tenants who deliberately do not pay their rents will no longer be able to remain on the property indefinitely without facing legal consequences”.

AKEL MP Aristos Damianou said under the law, landlords have the right to begin the eviction process even if the tenant has just one rent payment delayed for more than 21 days.

“After the landlord files his case, tenants will have 14 days to pay their debts in order to terminate the eviction process.

Otherwise, the judge will rule to issue an eviction order within 24 hours. Once the decree is issued the tenant will then have 90 days to deliver the property to the landlord,” said Damianou.

DIKO MP Christiana Erotokritou said the current state of affairs allows people to live on someone else’s property without paying their dues.

“The new law will compel tenants to ask for receipts, thus contributing to the fight against tax evasion,” she said.

Erotokritou said that MPs voted in a clause proposed by DIKO to help tenants who for some reason are unable to pay their rent before the law came into force.

The amendment gives them the right, instead of being evicted within three months, to be able, if they wish, to repay their due rents within a period of 12 months and continue to pay on time.