Coronavirus and apartment rental
The coronavirus pandemic has significantly complicated the lives of many people. Apartment owners and tenants are also in a difficult situation. There are many questions and doubts about the rental during this period. Does the coronavirus entitle either party to terminate the contract on the basis of so-called “force majeure”? Is it possible to reduce the rent due to the coronavirus? We answer these and other questions in the article. Coronavirus and the termination of the rental contract A rented flat, house or single room for a specified, long-term period secures basic needs – housing needs. Therefore, the coronavirus is not able to change anything in terms of existential needs or affect the possibility of satisfying them. It is worth noting clearly that the coronavirus is not a reason why the landlord or tenant is entitled to terminate a fixed-term contract. For some tenants, the loss of a job or the opportunity to study is associated with the loss of the aforementioned need for housing, because, for example, due to a pandemic, universities were closed and they rented a room only for the purposes of attending daily activities. Unfortunately, relying on “force majeure” or closed universities in such situations will not convince the owner of the apartment to resign from complying with the provisions of the contract or withdraw from it without bearing the financial consequences specified in the contract. Coronavirus and lowering the rent Due to the coronavirus, students or employees of many companies have lost the need to stay in a rented apartment, most often going to their homeland. However, does not using the lease entitle us to apply for an exemption or reduction in the rent? The coronavirus has made this issue often difficult for both sides. The landlord, referring to the provisions contained in the contract, does not want to lose money that is rightfully owed to him, he also has his obligations. In turn, tenants perceive charging fees in a situation of non-use of a rental for reasons beyond the tenant’s control as a manifestation of selfishness and lack of understanding. What can be done in this situation? Coronavirus – Rent may be cheaper If there are no relevant provisions in the contract that we could refer to, remember that it is always worth trying to refer to the principles of social coexistence when talking to the landlord. What can we propose to get along with the landlord?
- Declaration of contract extension – for the owner of the apartment, it will certainly be an added value to declare that you will extend the lease, e.g. for another year in exchange for a rent reduction during a pandemic. Many landlords appreciate the fact that they do not have to spend time looking for a new tenant and that there is no risk involved in renting a flat to a new, unknown person. You can make such a declaration orally or in writing.
- Request for deferment of part of the payment – If you have lost your job as a result of the pandemic and are unable to pay the rent, it is worth talking honestly with the landlord. If the cooperation between you so far has been very good and you can document the loss of your livelihood, it is very likely that you will receive a reduction or deferred payment. Remember, however, that the landlord also has obligations (often also a loan for the apartment you rent and other payments) and, despite your sincere willingness, may not be able to reduce your rent.
If you reach an agreement that goes beyond the provisions of the contract, write down a relevant document, e.g. an annex to the lease agreement. Coronavirus – support for tenants and landlords The tough situation related to the coronavirus can also be embarrassing and stressful for the landlords themselves. What to do when our tenant has stopped paying the rent on a regular basis because of financial problems, e.g. due to job loss? Often, independent negotiations with the tenant are ineffective. Then it is worth relying on the help of specialists who deal with the care of the lease on a daily basis and negotiations are common bread for them, when solving, inter alia, such problems. The unusual situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic causes a lot of confusion. Instead of nerves and stress, however, it is worth looking together for a solution that will not be too burdensome for either party, and in the event of problems with reaching a consensus, it is worth using the help for tenants and landlords, offered by intermediary companies.