Drawing from our experience as owners, estate agents and property managers, we can let you in on a little secret. Quite a number of problems can arise between owners and tenants. In order to avoid them we will offer a few suggestions as follows:
Suggestions to tenants:
.1. As renting is a serious decision, make sure the property fulfills your needs and is in good operational condition. Investigate whether the area does not have heavy traffic and noise if it bothers you. Also, be on the lookout for evidence of humidity problems, both externally and internally. All plumbing should also be checked. Also check drainages and A/C or central heating, if applicable.
.2. Agree to a rent you are sure you can pay. If this is your first-time as a tenant it would be good to do the math to ensure the rent does not affect your living standards.
.3. Go through, read and understand the rental agreement thoroughly before signing.
3.1 The tenancy period is very important. This period is usually 1 year and landlords expect you to honour this as they have a legal basis to claim rents for the whole year. If not sure if you will be staying for the whole year, it is best to introduce a special clause in the agreement dealing with this possibility.
3.2 It is also good to be clear who pays what. Clarify payments for trash collection, common expenses, repairs, immovable property tax, estate agent’s commission, electricity and water bills.
3.3 Also agree on the deposit of money, what this represents and if it is refundable or not.
3.4 Among others it would be good to know the possible ways of resolution of disputes with the owner. Is there a clause in the agreement to resort to an arbitrator? Which court will a possible lawsuit be filed at? A district court or a rent control court?
Suggestions to owners renting out:
.1. One of the main concerns of owners is whether they’ll be getting their rent on time and if the property would be kept in a good condition. If the owner doubts the tenant’s financial ability it would be good to take some measures before a rental agreement is signed. It is always good to ask for references from the employer and previous landlords. If not satisfied you should ask for guarantors to sign. You can also ask for a bank guarantee or a high deposit covering several months of rent. At the rate our courts work, it could be more than a year before you can secure the eviction of a bad payer.
.2. Before a rental materializes, quite a lot of money has to be spent on repairs and real estate agent’s fees, so it is important that the tenant stays for the whole period of the tenancy agreement. The agreement must include a clear clause that secures that if a tenant leaves before the termination date, rents for the remaining period are payable in full.
.3. It is important that a full inventory list of furniture and appliances is drawn up before the tenant takes occupancy. Arrange for a viewing before the signing of the contract. Make sure all furniture and appliances are inspected and shown to be in working condition. Have the tenant sign this list and support it with a few photographs making it easier to ask for reimbursement in case of damage.
Our aim is not to analyse every single tenancy agreement clause but merely to point out some issues, which usually cause friction between the two parties. Agreements which are not clear enough are usually the reason behind bad relations. Resorting to lengthy and costly court procedures is beneficial to none other than lawyers.
This is why it is sensible for both parties to invest in a friendly and professional relation throughout the term of the tenancy agreement. This will help resolve any problems which might come up.
By: George Mouskides
Director FOX Smart Estate Agency
Chairman Cyprus Association of Property Owners (ΚΣΙΑ)
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