The statutory tenancy allows the tenant to remain in the premises as long as he complies with his contractual obligations and pays the rent regularly. The law protects his possession of the premises for an unlimited time and he can only be evicted if he violates the terms of the tenancy or when any of the provisions set out in the law apply.
The demolition of the premises is one of the reasons giving the right to the landlord to apply for an eviction order, provided he secures the relevant town planning and building permits and meets the other requirements of the law.
Moreover, he must convince the Court that he has the financial means to demolish and re-build the premises and that he intends to do so subject to the issue of an eviction order against the tenant for the delivery of the possession to him. The landlord, through his application, makes representations to the Court and the tenant that he seeks recovery of possession in order to demolish the premises and build new ones within reasonable time after the issue of the order.
The landlord, when claiming re-possession, must show the outmost good faith and avoid obtaining the eviction order against the statutory tenant through false pretences, concealing his real intention not to build the new premises or that he does not have the financial ability to proceed with the development.
The issuing of an eviction order is a serious matter, affecting the status of the statutory tenant, who loses the possession of the demised premises and his business. Such an action by the landlord will have consequences upon him as it happened in a recent case before the Rent Control Court of Nicosia, whereby an eviction order against a tenant who rented a shop in the centre of Nicosia was issued as a result of false pretences made by the landlord. Although he did not have the financial means or the intention to demolish the premises and build new ones, he pretended that he was in a position to do so, secured the order, demolished the premises and used the plot as a parking area instead of building new premises therein. His real intention was to evict the statutory tenant and use the premises for other purposes.
The tenant, having realised what happened, applied to the Court claiming damages for losses and damages suffered due to the landlord obtaining the eviction order with false pretences. His claim was to be placed into as good a position as if no representation had been made and to recover damages for all the expenses caused by and gains forgone because of the misrepresentation.
According to case law, the damage recoverable must naturally arise and be attributable to the ill-founded dispossession. In such a case, the damage naturally arising would be the difference in value between the rental of the premises in the open market and rental actually paid. That appears to be the principal loss that may be recovered in such a claim.
The tenant adduced expert evidence regarding his losses and damages and consequently, the Court awarded him the total amount of €645.675,35 being
Additionally, he was awarded legal interest on the aforesaid total amount from 31.07.2007 when the application was filed until payment, all legal costs and interest, plus VAT. The right of the tenant to claim a new shop to rent remains and in the event the landlord builds the new premises, the tenant was ordered to refund to the landlord the sum of €299.005,25 with the interest accrued.
George Coucounis is an experienced lawyer practicing in Larnaca, Cyprus.
Educated at University College (London) and Thessaloniki University (Greece), George is fluent in English and has been practicing law in Cyprus since 1982.