Real Estate Law
Rent Disputes in Greece
Rent disputes in Greece between tenants and a landlord usually concern the terms of the lease, property management issues or, one of the most common cases, non-payment of rent.
In Greece, rent disputes are primarily governed by the Greek Civil Code, along with certain specific laws and presidential decrees that have amended it over time.
Rent Disputes in Greece, What the Law Says
Articles 574-618 of the Greek Civil Code lay down the general rules and regulations of property law, including matters related to the renting and leasing of real estate and, consequently, rent disputes.
In addition, specific laws (3853/2010 and 4242/2014) and presidential decrees (34/1995) have further refined and supplemented these general rules in order to cover all the main issues related to leases and lease disputes.
Among other things, Greek property law regulates the minimum duration of residential leases, rent adjustments and the legal responsibilities of both landlords and tenants.
What are the rights of the landlord?
In Greece, landlords have several rights in rent disputes, particularly in situations involving non-payment of rent or breach of contract. Of course, the law covers not only these two cases, but also all the most common reasons for a rent dispute, including rent increases, eviction, property management, or the payment of a security deposit.
Landlords are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the rented property and for ensuring compliance with agreed rent increases and other terms of the lease.
Landlords also have the right to collect security deposits, usually one or two months’ rent, to cover potential damage or unpaid rent.
Rent increases are usually specified in the lease and are often tied to inflation. However, if there is no explicit agreement on rent increases, landlords can seek adjustments through the courts or the Regional Committees for the Settlement & Re-Adjustment of Rent.
If tenants fail to pay rent, landlords have the right to initiate eviction proceedings. This can be expedited by a court order, which is usually issued within twenty days and does not require a court hearing. However, the landlord must first serve the tenant with an out-of-court notice giving the tenant at least fifteen days to pay the overdue rent.
In addition to rent, landlords can also claim unpaid utility bills as part of the court order, provided they have written proof of payment.
If the requirements for a court order are not met, for example, if the lease cannot be proven by a written agreement, the landlord can file a lawsuit against the tenant. This process is more time-consuming and requires a court hearing.
What are the rights of the tenants?
As far as the landlord is concerned, Greek property law establishes the rights and obligations of tenants in relation to leases and sets the ground rules for the effective management of rental disputes.
Greek property law covers both ordinary cases relating to the basic rules of tenancy and extraordinary situations that may arise as a result of negligence on the part of one of the parties.
Let us look at some common cases involving tenants’ rights:
- Minimum lease term: Residential leases have a statutory minimum term of three years. Even if the contract is negotiated for a shorter period, this three-year term applies to the landlord, but not to the tenant. This means that the tenant can leave before the three-year period expires without being in breach of the contract, but the landlord cannot terminate the lease early without good cause.
- Security deposit rules: The security deposit cannot exceed two months’ rent and is usually returned at the end of the lease if the unit is returned in good condition.
- Renovations and repairs: While tenants are generally responsible for paying their own utilities and common charges (Kinokrista), they are not responsible for major renovations or repairs that are the landlord’s responsibility.
- Rent adjustments based on market conditions: If there is a significant change in financial conditions that affects rents, tenants can ask the courts to adjust rents to reflect current market conditions.
- Protection Against Unjust Eviction: In cases where a landlord wants to evict a tenant, the tenant is protected against unjust eviction. The landlord must have a valid reason for eviction, such as breach of contract or non-payment of rent. Even in these cases, the eviction process can be lengthy and requires a court case.
- Appealing a court order: If a landlord issues a court order for nonpayment of rent and eviction, the tenant has the right to appeal the order within fifteen business days of service. This appeal may be based on procedural issues related to the issuance of the order or on the validity of the claim itself, such as proving that no rent was due. It’s important to note that filing an appeal does not automatically suspend the execution of the court order. For a stay, the tenant must request a stay hearing and a temporary restraining order.
Rent Disputes in Greece, our Legal Service
At Leptokaridou Law Firm we provide comprehensive services in the context of rental disputes for both tenants and landlords.
The first step is usually a legal consultation with a real estate lawyer in Greece, where we advise on the rights and obligations of both tenants and landlords under Greek law, helping you to better understand your legal position and options.
On your behalf, we will negotiate or mediate between landlords and tenants to resolve disputes out of court, with the aim of reaching a mutually agreeable solution. However, should a rental dispute escalate to court proceedings, we are of course prepared to represent you in court and handle all aspects of the litigation process.
Other services include:
- Lease drafting and review: We assist in drafting and reviewing lease agreements to ensure they are legally compliant and protect your interests.
- Handling rental arrears and damage claims: We assist in resolving issues related to rental arrears and damage claims to rented property.
- Eviction proceedings: In cases of non-payment of rent or breach of lease terms, we assist landlords in the legal process of eviction, including preparing and filing the necessary documents and representing the landlord at court hearings.
- Appeals and Legal Challenges: For tenants facing eviction or other adverse actions, we can file appeals or challenge the legality of the landlord’s actions.
- Compliance and Regulatory Advice: We ensure that both landlords and tenants comply with relevant regulations, including tax obligations and property laws.
- Property Management Legal Support: In some cases, particularly in situations where the landlord is not resident in Greece, we provide property management services, acting as an intermediary between the landlord and the tenant.
* The information on this site is provided for the sole purpose of illustrating the subject matter. It in no way constitutes legal advice nor a substitute for individual legal advice provided by counsel. Each case is unique, presents unique circumstances, and should be evaluated in detail by an attorney who will verify its specific circumstances.
Contact Leptokaridou Law Firm
Solve Your Rent Dispute in Greece
As a real estate lawyer in Greece, our expertise in rent disputes has been gained over 20 years of professional experience in the field and is at your disposal to resolve and get the most out of any claim. Contact us today to discuss your case in more detail.
We Help You Deal With Rent Disputes in Greece
Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, our law firm will assist you in resolving rental disputes in Greece in a favorable manner.
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