Cyprus Tenants Right to Peaceful Enjoyment: a Case Study in Court
As per the relevant Contract Law in Cyprus, a tenant leasing a premises under a rental agreement or similar has the right to “peaceful enjoyment and unobstructed use of the property” without any interference by the landlord.
The matter was dealt with by the Cyprus Supreme Court in a ruling from earlier this year in March, whereby the decision of the Court of first instance was questioned, regarding the granting of rights to the tenant of a rented personal premises to issue a perpetual prohibition order against the landlord in order to prevent him from disturbing the peaceful enjoyment and use of the property, which extends to:
- The landlord’s representatives or any other persons who take authority from him.
- Anyone acting on the landlord’s authorisation or at his orders.
- Anyone acting on behalf of the landlord himself.
This particular case involved a tenant who was unable to walk, and therefore required use of a fitted ramp instead of stairs to enter and exit through the front door. Over the course of the contract, the landlord’s son on more than one occasion had blocked the ramp with several building materials. The Cyprus Court of first instance held that landlord authorised his son’s actions, violating the tenant’s right for peaceful enjoyment and use of the premises; it also considered that persons who are close relatives of the landlord act on his behalf or with his consent and knowledge.
The Cyprus Supreme Court observed that the right to peaceful enjoyment and use of the premises consists not only of the uninterrupted ownership for the duration of the contract, but also of the enjoyment of the premises for all ordinary, lawful purposes, without any disturbance.
The Extent of Protection
Generally speaking, a temporary disturbance of enjoyment, which does not directly interfere with the possession of the premises by the tenant, does not constitute a violation of his right. Interference which is not substantial does not constitute a breach. An action may be considered an interference even when it is executed outside the premises, without requiring direct or natural intervention. Where there is a substantial interference in the normal and every day use of the premises is subjective according to the extent and degree of severity.
Limitations of the Right to Peaceful Enjoyment
- A Cyprus tenants right to peaceful enjoyment does not extend to illegal actions by third parties who have no ownership right over the premises.
- This right does not ensure the protection of the tenant from the interference of persons who are beyond the control of the landlord.
- A parent-child relationship does not require the parent to prevent his or her adult child from causing any loss or damage to another person. Furthermore, the close relationship between two persons does not create itself a relationship between a representative and a principal.
In this instance, the Cyprus Supreme Court set aside the order of the Court of first instance and its judgment for damages and costs.