Landlords, tenants end up in courts over rent hikes

Landlords, tenants end up in courts over rent hikes

Gülistan Alagöz-ISTANBUL
Landlords, tenants end up in courts over rent hikes

More and more landlords and tenants engage in legal battles to settle disputes over rent hikes, keeping the country’s courts busy.

Rent prices and huge rent hikes demanded by landlords have been some of the hotly debated issues over the past months, which prompted the government to introduce a regulation restricting rent increases to 25 percent.

In the past, when tenants renewed their lease contracts, rents would be increased in line with the 12-month average consumer price inflation. However, in the past months, landlords started to demand huge rents. After the government introduced the cap on rents, some property owners who rejected the 25 percent or even higher increase offers made by their tenants chose to resort to legal means to evict their house occupants.

Landlords argue that the rent their tenants - who have been in the apartments for more than five years - pay is below the average in the respective residential area, asking authorities for an assessment.

Landlords made such requests in the past but back then they would demand a hike between 50 to 100 percent. But nowadays, in such lawsuits, property owners ask for huge increases, in some cases up to 300 percent.

In their petition to the courts, landlords cite the current economic situation, foreign exchange rates, cost of living and inflation as well as “socio-economic development” as the reason for their request for exorbitant rent hikes.

Some demand their tenants to increase the rent from 4,000 Turkish Liras to 14,000 liras or from 1,500 liras to 6,000 liras.

Legally, there are no upper limits, but it does not mean courts will accept landlords’ excessive demands. Once the parties go to court, an expert is assigned to assess the rent prices in the respective area. In most cases, it turns out that the average price in the region is below what the landlords claim it to be.

In certain cases, things do not go in favor of landlords. For instance, a landlord demanded that rent be increased from 5,000 liras to 15,000 liras. But the expert determined that the average price in this location was 10,000 liras, and the court ruled that in that case, the new rent should be 8,000 liras.

Legal experts say that settling such court cases, involving the assessment of rent prices in locations, is a lengthy process, taking up to two and a half to three years. But they also note that due to the deep disagreements between landlords and tenants on what the new rent should be, finding a mid-way solution is often very difficult.

Türkiye, Economy,