Renters' Rights in Turkey

Did you know that only half of the households in Turkey live in their own house and do not pay rent? Moreover, a quarter of them resides as tenants. Although the number of renters is around 6 million at the moment, the numbers are increasing due to the real estate market. Still, most people need to be made aware of their rights as renters. For this reason, we would like to give information about renters’ rights in our article.

How Much Your Landlord Can Raise the Rent?

One of the most frequently asked questions about renters' rights is how much landlords can raise their current rent. Under normal circumstances, the rate of increase in Turkey is determined over the 12-month average inflation rate. Landlords must keep their rent at this rate. But, this situation has changed with a temporary law passed on 8 June 2022.

Precisely because of this recent legal change, the importance of renters' rights should be well understood. Many tenants pay more rent than they should because of their lack of information about the renters' rights. In particular, regulations on this subject should be strictly followed by both renters and landlords. Thus, both parties can make a contract without any loss of rights. 

New Temporary Rent Cap

As mentioned above, the rent increase rates have changed according to a temporary new Property Rental Law in Turkey. According to this new law, landlords won’t be able to increase the rent by more than 25% until July 1, 2023. At this point, a legal question arises; What if you signed the lease agreement before the law passed?

To answer this question, looking at the Official Gazette is necessary. Since the Official Gazette published the law on June 11, this date should be taken as a basis. Thus, an increase can be made over the CPI average of the last 12 months as in the past for contracts terminated before June 10 and renewed before June 11.

Can Your Landlord File a Lawsuit to Adjust the Rent?

This issue is not included within the scope of renters' rights, yet it is helpful to know for tenants. The short answer to this question is "yes". Still, this answer raises issues related to renter’s rights and eviction. Landlords can file a rent determination lawsuit. Thus, the court will assist the tenant and landlord in determining the appropriate rent. However, here is an essential point regarding when the rent determination case can be opened.

Normally, a rent determination case can be opened at any time with no time limit. Yet, in case your landlord wishes to redetermine the rental fee according to the current real estate market, a lawsuit can be opened after five years following the beginning of the rental contract. Rental increases can only be made according to the 12-month CPI average for lease agreements that are subject to a duration of fewer than five years or that have not been completed for five years.

Obligations Between Landlord and Tenant

Regarding rental houses, there are some obligations for the tenant and the landlord. You can consider these obligations as a part of the renters' rights. So, we can list some of the obligations of the renter as follows:

  • The first obligation of the renters is naturally to pay their rent on the specified date. If there is no specified date, you can consider the payment date as the end of the month.
  • Renters are obliged to deliver the house as it was on the first day specified in the contract. But they are not responsible for obsolescence caused by wear and tear over time. 
  • The landlord bears home-related expenses such as insurance and taxes. This situation may also be stated differently by the parties in the lease agreement.
  • Side expenses that the renters are not responsible for must be borne by the landlord at the end of each month until the rental period at the latest.
  • The landlord can only evict the renter once the rent contract falls in unless there are unlawful circumstances and justified termination conditions.

Renters and landlords can make contracts according to these obligations determined by Turkish Real Estate Law. Thus, it becomes possible to conclude a contract that will protect the rights of both parties.

Legal Rights of the Renter

All rights mentioned so far are also valid as apartment renters' rights. Yet, the most curious issue about this is whether landlords can evict renters before the discharge of the contract. Landlords cannot evict renters any sooner than the contract termination unless they have a valid reason.

As a different matter, renters can also arrange a different renter for the house or rent out a room of the house. But for this, they must first obtain written permission from the landlord. Other than these, renters' rights can be determined through the contract and become by the term of the contract.

Terminate the Contract Unilaterally

Since the subject of discussion is renters' rights, we will respond to this issue from the renters’ point of view. If there is no legacy apartment debt, the renters can leave the house with prior notice.

It is also essential not to aggrieve the landlord at this point. Therefore, you may have to continue paying rent if the landlord cannot find a new renter by the contract termination date. If the landlord finds a new renter, there is no need for such a thing. You can contact our Turkish property rental lawyers regarding the subject.

Process Between Landlord and Tenant

Tenants and landlords can seek their rights by applying to competent courts in dispute matters. The authorised court to apply for this is the civil court of peace. The place of jurisdiction refers to the court where the rented house locates.

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