How to oppose a rent increase?

12. 4. 2023

Rising inflation has also had a significant impact on housing prices, and some landlords have already increased rents. This is usually done on the basis of an agreement between the parties in the tenancy agreement, the so-called inflation clause, or in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code.

Therefore, if the tenant receives a proposal from the landlord to increase the rent, they should first check the lease agreement to see whether indexation has been agreed between the parties. This contractual arrangement between the parties has priority over the statutory provisions. However, higher legal protection for the tenant also applies here and there are certain formal requirements for the inflation clause that must be followed. For example, it must be specified to which types of inflation the clause applies or at which date the increase is to take place. The landlord can, notwithstanding the above, increase the rent no more than once a year and does not have to give the tenant advance notice, although it is recommended in view of possible future misunderstandings.

If the contract does not provide for indexation, the landlord may unilaterally increase the rent unless the parties have previously excluded this in the contract, provided that the rules prescribed by law are complied with, i.e., the written form of such a proposal must be respected, the new rent must be set at a level comparable to the local rent, and the increased amount, including any increases in the previous three years, may not exceed 20%.  Exceptions to this rule are cases where the increase is caused due to structural changes that improve the quality of the flat or have resulted in energy or water savings.

As the Supreme Court has held in its ruling, consent to the increase can be expressed within a period of 2 months in two ways, either by written consent to the landlord from the date of the delivery of the proposal, or implied if the tenant pays the increased rent starting from the third calendar month from the delivery date.

If the tenant had not agreed in writing or by payment in 2 months, after the expiration of this period the landlord has the right to file a motion for the court to determine the amount of the new rent according to the usual local and temporal rates, which can be filed within a new period of 3 months.

Thus, in the event of a rent increase based on the law, the tenant is not in default if he pays the rent at the previous level. The tenant is also not obliged to file a lawsuit if he does not agree with the rent increase. If he does not want to agree to the higher rent, he should not start paying the higher rent - by doing so he would consent to the increase. On the other hand, it must also be taken into account that if the landlord succeeds, the rent may ultimately be increased even more than originally proposed.

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