Cyprus Rent Control Act 1983 amendments introducing a “fast track” eviction process for non-paying tenants

1. Introduction

The Republic of Cyprus on the 31st of January 2020 has passed a much needed amendment in the Cyprus Rent Control Act 1983 (Amendment 3(1)/2020) providing landlords the necessary tools to recover any unpaid rents but most importantly evict a non-paying tenant using a fast track method.

2. In which cases does the Rent Control Act apply?

• Properties located within the “Controlled area” as defined by the act; and
• Properties that have been erected on or before the 31st of December 1999; and
• Tenants is a statutory tenant as defined by the act, meaning a tenant which at the expiration or determination of his tenancy continues to be in possession of the premises.

3. Amendments

In the event that the above requirements have been met and the landlord is facing a non-paying tenant, the landlord must serve the tenant a written notice requesting the tenant to fully settle all outstanding payments of rent and the tenant will be obliged to pay all the rent arrears within the twenty one (21) days. Failing to do so, the Landlord will launch the eviction process by filing an Eviction Application to the Court.

Upon the filing of the Eviction Application, the tenant will have the right to fully settle all rent arrears within 14 days from the date that the Eviction Application has been served to him, in which case the eviction process will cease unless the Tenant has throughout the tenancy systematically failed to pay the rent.

The Tenant shall further have the right to file with the Court Registrar a defense in the form of a reply within fourteen (14) days from the date of being served with the Eviction Application. The Court Registrar will only accept to file the Tenant’s reply if it is accompanied by one of the following:

• Proof of the Court Accounting Department that the rent arrears has been fully deposited to the court; or
• Receipt of the collection of the rent arrears issued by the Landlord and/or the Landlord’s agent; or
• Receipt by a banking/financial institution that the rent arrears has been duly deposited in the account of the Landlord and/or the Landlord’s agent

The Courts Registrar must accept or reject the application, which of course is always subject to final approval by a judge which will be heard within three (3) days from the submission of the reply. The final approval/decision of the judge is not subject to appeal.
In the event the eviction order is granted, the court will issue an order demanding eviction of the property and payment of the rent arrears; however, the eviction notice cannot be less than ninety (90) days.

The amendments have surely brought a power shift in dynamics, as the tenant now has to prove payment of the rent arrears. This fast track process is expected to result in the eviction of a non-paying tenant within 5-7 months rather than 3-4 years as previously.

The amendments that came into force on the 31/01/2020 do not apply to the following:
• Eviction Applications filed in court before the 31/01/2020; or
• To rent due before the 31/01/2020 provided that the due rent is settled within 12 months from that date.

Furthermore, due to the impact of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and the different measures taken by the Cyprus Government and the Supreme Court of Cyprus, a further amendment to the Cyprus Rent Control Act 1983 has been proposed to the House of Representatives, effectively suspending performance of any Eviction Processes until the 31st of May 2020 or to a later date. The bill is still subject to approval.

Contributed by: Marinos Miltiadous │Associate │[email protected]