We often encounter the stereotype of the evil landlord harassing his tenants with a high rent and refusing to take care of his property. However, the truth is that common in the practice of the lawyer and the trader is the opposite scenario – unscrupulous use of real estate by the tenant. The most common actions in violation of the contract are:
- non-payment of rent;
- non-payment of the rent within the specified term – a clause may be entered in the contract in case of delay of the rent.
- endangering the rented property with their actions (significant damage or destruction);
- significant change in the purpose of the property (eg rented office property is used as a bar);
- breach of material obligations – the court decides which violations are material in a given case.
In this case, the landlord has two options – to ask the tenant for unpaid rent without terminating the contract or to terminate the contract with notice and receive the required amounts without the assistance of the tenant in court.
The contract may be terminated both by mutual consent and unilaterally in the presence of violations of the conditions of use established therein. Many discourteous tenants believe that they can benefit from the judicial system, namely that if eviction proceedings are initiated against them, it will take years to enforce when the obligations have been time-barred. That is why the law provides for some specific procedures to help the landlords .
Voluntary performance of duties
Firstly, the most preferable way for the landlord claim back the the property and its obligations is to send an invitation/letter of demand for voluntary performance. It describes the obligations and other grounds for termination of the contract unilaterally, as well as the term in which the tenant is obliged to fulfill the set conditions (usually the terms vary in 3-7 days). This is the least conflicting, fast and relatively cheap way for the relationship between tenant and landlord to be settled, but it often turns out to be insufficient for a more persistent defendant. The protection of the landlord’s rights, already provided by law, intervenes here.
Fast proceedings for eviction of a tenant
The Code of Civil Procedure (CPA) provides for a special procedure to facilitate the process and at the same time to protect the interests of the plaintiff. One of these cases when this procedure can be used is the release of real estate in case of breach of contract. Moreover, the Supreme Court of Cassation in its constant practice accepts that a claim has been filed for eviction of a Tenant with legal grounds Art. 233, sentence one of the CPA (that the lessee is obliged to return the property) has the character of notice, regardless of whether an invitation/letter of demand for voluntary execution has been sent, and the term begins to run from the moment of acceptance of the claim by the lessee for a period of one month or if the contract provides for a daily payment of the rent – a one day notice is sufficient.
The procedure is further accelerated by the above-mentioned invitation for voluntary performance, which may include a clause for termination of the contract in case of non-performance, which period begins to run with the acceptance of the invitation by the defendant.
Under both conditions, the forced eviction procedure is relatively quick, without unnecessary complications. After the court accepts the claim, examines it, and finds that there are no circumstances available to impede the proceedings, the date of the hearing is scheduled for three weeks.
Filing claims for rent collection
As the outstanding rent collection and compensation claim is not included in the cases for fast-track proceedings provided for in the CPA, it is to be filed separately from the one for eviction. In this claim, the lessor may request not only the payment of the due obligations but also a penalty for the delay and legal interest. The penalty for the delay is not general, it is determined by the contract, while the legal interest rate is constant, as it is determined by the Council of Ministers for different periods, and information about them can be found on the BNB website: http: // www .bnb.bg / (for example, the interest for delay from 03.05.2019 and from 03.05.2020 will be different).
Statute of limitations for obligations
As with all liabilities, the required rent also has a statute of limitations. In this case, the Law on Obligations and Contracts provides for a three-year prescription period, which begins with the issuance of the relevant document for payment or on the date provided for in the contract for payment of obligations. Along with the obligations agreed, the statute of limitations for the penalty and the legal interest provided as a limit of the obligations also expires. Therefore, it is necessary to take action to demand the obligations promptly so as not to lose the landlord’s rights over the outstanding rent and related payments.