In this article George Coucounis gives some advice to shop landlords on the re-possession of the premises from the tenant.
A claim by the landlord for the issue of an order by the Rent Control Court to have the tenant evicted from his premises such as a shop situated in a rent control area can only be successful if he satisfies all the requirements provided in the law. In particular, the landlord is obliged to serve a written notice to the tenant stating the reason he requires the re-possession of the premises prior to the filing of the application before the Court. Moreover, the landlord thereafter must convince the Court for the reasonableness of his claim and that he was unable to find another analogous and with reasonable rent accommodation.
There must be a real, definite and immediate need for the re-possession of the premises by the landlord and not a simple wish. The landlord has to prove that he couldn't find another analogous accommodation with reasonable rent for his business. The term 'reasonable rent' does not refer to the rent paid by the tenant for the demised premises but the landlord has to give evidence of any endeavours made by him to find another shop with rent in relation with his business activities.
The requirements provided in article 11(1) (z) of the Rent Control Law and adopted by the Court for the re-possession of a shop for use by the landlord are the following:
The reasonableness of the landlord's claim can only be established when there is a need subjectively real and objectively reasonable but not necessarily imperative. The phrase 'reasonably claimed' was interpreted as a need which must be real, existing, more than a simple wish but little less than an absolute need. With regard to the requirement of the landlord's ability to find another analogous and with reasonable rent accommodation for his business, the Court interpreted the phrase 'analogous accommodation' to mean a shop which when compared to the location, marketability, general condition and situation, size, age and other characteristics, is similar to the demised premises. Therefore, the burden of proof is upon the landlord to give evidence to the Court that he was not able to find another analogous shop with reasonable rent.
With regard to the meaning of the word 'comparison', it is interpreted to imply adducing evidence regarding other shops, their physical and other characteristics, in order to identify whether they are analogous to the shop, re-possession of which is claimed. The meaning of reasonable rent is not connected with the rent payable for the shop being the object of the statutory tenancy. Reasonableness of the rent of a new shop is mainly connected with the business the landlord will establish and what constitutes reasonable rent is related to his business activities. Consequently, the landlord has to give evidence that he has made serious personal efforts to find another business accommodation but without success, otherwise this requirement is not satisfied.
When all the requirements provided in the law are met, the Court will decide whether it is just and reasonable to exercise its discretion for the issue of an eviction order or not and whether the issue of the order will cause less inconvenience than its non issue. It is evident that it is not so easy for a landlord to have his tenant evicted from his business premises in order to re-possess them for his own use.
The Rent Control Law protects the statutory tenant and only if all the requirements are satisfied will the landlord be entitled to retain possession of the premises.
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.