Lawyer in Turkey: The position of the tenant

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The position of the tenant

In this article I would like to bring the right of tenant to your attention. Tenants are no owners of the property, but with the rent contract as a base they have the right of usage and usufruct of the house. Except what about the obligations of the tenant? For example what is the role of the tenant in relation to the Homeowners Association? Till what extension does tenants have voting rights? Can a tenant attend the meeting? Can the tenant be denied access to the swimming pool if he did not pay his service fees? Is a dept collecting procedure against the tenant legal? What to do if a tenant is reckless or unpleasant as a neighbour.

The apartment regulations stipulate that all obligations arising from the regulations apply not only to the property owner (in this case the landlord), but also to the tenant. This means that like the landlord, the tenant is accountable and jointly responsible for satisfying all of the obligations arising from occupying the apartment or villa in a complex. For example, to prevent damage to the appearance of the building, to communal areas and facilities of the complex, to obey the house rules, to follow the decisions of the General Homeowners Meeting, to pay the service fee, to be no nuisance to anyone etc.

At the General Homeowners meeting the tenant has no voting right. Voting rights are strictly reserved for the landlord or property owner. The tenant is an interested party and can therefore attend the meeting, but in theory they are unable to influence its decisions. However the landlord may authorize the tenant to play an active role in the decision making process of the General Homeowners meeting. On the other hand the tenant can be appointed as a manager of the complex, but not as a financial auditor.

Next to the landlord, the tenant is also responsible jointly responsible for paying the specified annual/monthly service fee, insofar that this does not exceed the monthly rent. Even if there is nothing mentioned in the rent contract regarding the service fees, the tenant can be approached with a debt recovery procedure for the payment. The installment payments can not be higher than the monthly rent. The tenant cannot be barred from the complex or from using its facilities simply on the grounds that the contribution has not been paid. In these cases the management has to right and even the obligation to start a debt collecting procedure against the not paying owner and/or tenant.

The tenant is required to behave as any good neighbor would do and has to abide by the general house rules laid down by the Homeowners Association. An owner who is subject of damage due to the acts or omissions of a tenant can refer the matter to the local cantonal court. One some cases it is even possible to claim damages from the landlord. For example, an apartment is rented furnished. The tables and chairs on the balcony are blown away in a high wind and falls onto a car nearby. In this case the landlord, as well as the tenant, would be liable for the damage caused to the car. My advice: Make sure as a landlord to get a complete insurance when you rent a furnished apartment.

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