The definition of the term ‘rent’ or 'lease'; according to legislation in Cyprus, must involve a situation where a contract is signed for an amount is payable for a fixed period of time, in exchange for the premises and the furniture if the property is furnished, however does not extend to communal charges for the upkeep of the building.
According to statutory tenancy, Cyprus law provides that unless there is an agreement stating otherwise, the tenant is obliged to pay the communal charges corresponding to the premises, including:
- Minor expenses for the maintenance of the communal areas internally such as cleaning.
- Minor expenses for the maintenance of the facilities externally such as rubbish collection.
However, the tenant has no obligation to pay serious expenses for the maintenance, alteration or replacement of the communal areas and facilities.
Case Law in a Cyprus Court
The issue concerning the payment of communal charges for a statutory tenancy was dealt with by the court, whereby it was decided that the claim was one of special damages and the burden of proof did in fact fall on the landlord. A term was included in the tenancy agreement imposing an obligation upon the tenant to arrange bills for water and electricity and the payment of the relevant. Furthermore, the tenant had to register the utility bills in his name for the following:
- The payment of the refuse.
- Communal charges.
- Drain-cleaning charges.
The Cyprus High Court decided that the tenant had accepted to pay the landlord the communal charges for the rented premises. Furthermore, it inspected the expression “cleaning of drains” and decided that in no event the aforementioned words imposed a duty to the tenant to pay the sewerage charges. Therefore, the landlord failed to prove the claim for the payment of the sewerage charges of the premises, so a term in tenancy agreements referring to who will to pay sewerage charges is advisable to avoid any future disputes.
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