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In Which Circumstances the Lessor May Request the Eviction of The Lessee?


Ece Ergün

Ege Aymelek

The rapid increase in lease amount in recent years coupled with stringent restrictions on increasing dwelling lease rates, has sparked disputes between lessors and lessees. Besides, the acceleration and expansion of urban transformation process plays a major role in the increase of these disputes. Overall, lessors are increasingly seeking eviction of lessees.


This article elucidates the circumstances and conditions under which the lessor may terminate residential and enclosed business premises contracts and thus requesting the eviction of the lessee.


How Does the Lease Agreement Expire?

The Turkish Code of Obligations No. 6098 (“Code”) divides the termination of lease agreements for residential and enclosed business premises leases into two main headings as notification and litigation.


By Notification

The lessor is unable to exercise the right to terminate the lease agreement through notification until the lapse of a 10-year period from the formation of the lease agreement, except in specific circumstances explained below.


Upon completion of the 10-year term of the lease agreement, the lessor may terminate the lease agreement by issuing written notice to the lessee 3 months prior to the conclusion of the extension year. It’s important to note that the calculation of the 10-year commences from the expiration of the initial lease year, not from the lease agreement’s commencement date. Regarding the three-month period, the crucial aspect is ensuring that the notice reaches the lessee before the specified timeframe ends.


Upon the conclusion of the 10-year extension period, if the lessor notifies the lessee within the stipulated timeframe, the lease agreement will terminate automatically without the need for any further action. In the event of the tenant’s failure to vacate the premises, the lessor can initiate legal proceedings as detailed below to enforce the property’s eviction.


By Litigation

The Code governs cases involving the termination of residential and enclosed business premises leases through litigation. Termination through litigation is clearly stated in the Code, and any attempt to evading the Code by contractual amendment against the lessee is explicitly prohibited. The issues regarding the eviction of the leased property through legal proceedings are regulated under two headings in the Code as the cases arising from the lessor and the lessee.


What are the Cases of Termination Arising from the Lessor?


Arising from the Lessor’s Needs

This lawsuit encountered frequently and known as “eviction due to necessity” in practice, is filed when the lessor, their spouse, their descendants, their ascendants, or individuals they are legally obliged to support require the residence or workplace. The lessor can terminate the contract by initiating legal proceedings within 1 month from the conclusion of this period, if the contract between the parties is fixed-term, or from the date determined according to the legal termination period accompanied by the legal termination notice if it is an indefinite-term contract. However, it’s crucial to note that the requirement perceived by the lessor must be sincere, obligatory and of a continual nature.


Although the Code does not clearly indicate what the cases of necessities are, this legal void is filled by the legal precedents in practice. A person with children needing a larger house, an adult requiring a separate residence from their family, the lessor themselves residing in the leased property, and the emergence of the need to move to one’s own house due to economic reasons, can be given as examples of necessity. Finally, the burden of proof in the lawsuit lies with the lessor.


Due to Reconstruction or Redevelopment of the Leased Property

If reconstruction, redevelopment, or substantial renovation of leased property become necessary, rendering the leased property unusable during this period, the lessor may evict the lessee. This situation has increasingly affected lessees, particularly in buildings undergoing urban transformation as part of the urban renewal process.


Due to the Necessity of the New Owner or Relatives of the New Owner

The lessor has the right to sell a property with a lessee to a third party. In the event of a such circumstance, the purchaser, i.e., the new owner, assumes the role of the lessor in the lease agreement, continuing the existing lease with the lessee as previously established.


However, the new owner may initiate legal proceedings against the lessee, seeking eviction based on the necessity of themselves, their spouse, their descendants, their ascendants, or individuals they are legally obliged to support. In this eviction case, as previously outlined, the necessity must be sincere, obligatory and of a continual nature.


In the event of such a circumstance, the new owner has the right to file an eviction lawsuit, provided that a written notice has been given to lessee within 1 month after purchase (after acquiring ownership of the property).


What Are the Cases of Termination Arising from the Lessee?


Eviction Case Due to the Presence of Eviction Commitment

If the lessee fails to vacate the leased property on the specified date despite a valid eviction commitment, the lessor has the right to file a lawsuit for eviction. The lessor must exercise this right within 1 month from the date specified in the commitment.


A commitment signed by the lessee after the date of signing the lease agreement and the date of property delivery to the lessee is considered a valid commitment to vacate. Additionally, within relevant commitment letter, the lessee must have explicitly declared that he undertakes to vacate the leased premises on a certain date.


Eviction Case Due to the Presence of Two Justified Notices

If the lessee fails to fulfill their payment obligations completely and/or punctually on two occasions within a lease period, the lessor has the right to initiate eviction proceedings against the lessee. To exercise this right, the lessee must have received a notice for each delayed and/or insufficiently deposited payment. The notice must clearly indicate the month to which the delay or incomplete payment pertains, and the specific amount requested.


Ultimately, the lessor must file a lawsuit based on two valid notices within 1 month following the conclusion of the respective lease period.


In practice, in case of the incomplete and/or no payment, lessors may also initiate enforcement proceedings known as “7/30” instead of issuing a notice. If the lessee fails to remedy the deficient payment within the given 30-day period, this enforcement procedure initiated is considered a justified notice for the relevant year.


Eviction Case Due to the Presence of the Lessee of Their Spouse’s Residence Within the Municipal Boundaries of the District or Town Where the Leased Property is Located

If the dwelling is found suitable for habitation and the lessor was unaware of its existence when entering into a lease agreement with the lessee, the lessor may evict the lessee by filing a lawsuit within 1 month from the expiration date of the contract. However, this right is specifically granted to the lessor only for residential leases and does not apply to business premises leases.


Is It Necessary to Apply to Mediator Before Initiating Eviction Case?


The recent legal regulations mandate that the lessor must engage in a mediation process before commencing an eviction case. If the mediation process does not result in an agreement within a maximum period of 4 weeks, the lessor will have the right to file eviction case.


Conclusion

According to the above explanations, it is situated that regulations in favor of the lessee in the process regarding the evacuation of the lease. The lessor’s ability to request eviction is limited by specific terms and stringent time constraints. The prevalence of lessee-friendly regulations in lease laws, especially considering post-COVID-19 circumstances in our country, has strained relations between lessors and lessees, resulting in an uptick in disputes governed by lease laws. Consequently, the compulsory mediation process has been implemented to ease the burden on the courts. For lessors to achieve success in eviction cases, meticulous attention to timelines, procedural guidelines, and adherence to the prescribed conditions outlined in the Code is paramount.


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