Courts overwhelmed with landlord-tenant dispute cases

Courts overwhelmed with landlord-tenant dispute cases

Özge Eğrikar - ISTANBUL
Courts overwhelmed with landlord-tenant dispute cases

Following the extension of a 25 percent cap on rent hikes to another year, courts are struggling to handle the huge influx of lawsuits arising from disputes between landlords and tenants over rent increases and eviction.

Landlords and tenants are at loggerheads following the recent rent cap, as landlords who cannot get their tenants to accept the rent hike considering the current inflation apply to the civil courts and file “eviction” and “determination of the rental price” cases.

“Almost 60 percent of the cases filed to the courts are ‘eviction’ or ‘rent determination’ cases. Our staff also have difficulty in catching up the workload,” the court officials said.

Civil servants working in the courthouses also stated that there is so much influx of cases that the hearing dates are given a year later, with some eviction cases even taking up to two years to reach a conclusion.

Speaking about her assessments to local media, lawyer Dilek Yüksel remarked that due to the rapid increase in inflation, the rents paid by tenants remain far below the fair value.

“For instance, while a tenant who has just rented a similar flat with the same facilities has to pay about 20,000 liras, the old tenant pays 4,000 liras with only a 25 percent increase each year. Landlords who are not satisfied with this situation have taken the way of the courts to evict tenants. If everything seems in order, the tenant pays the rent regularly, the house does not need renovation… etc., that is, if the eviction demand cannot be based on reasons determined by the Turkish Code of Obligations, the case is opened as an ‘eviction case for necessity.’ Today, the most frequently applied eviction case is this type.”

According to Yüksel, considering the criteria determined by the Supreme Court and the current conditions, the courts may decide to evict the tenants if they are convinced that the landlord sincerely needs to evacuate the property.

“After this decision, the eviction of the tenant may take three to four years, depending on the situation, together with the appeal process,” Yüksel added.