Cyprus – New Law For Evictions and Non-Paying Tenants

It has been months since the first discussions started in the Cypriot Parliament surrounding expedited eviction and now, it has officially become part of the Rent Control Act 23/1983 as of the 31st of January 2020.

What was already part of the Law:

The Law provides that any tenant who delays to pay their rent for 21 days or more, from the date of service of a relevant notice by the landlord, will give the right to the owner to file an eviction application. From that moment, the tenant has 14 days to present the appropriate payment receipts, or the Rent Control Court shall proceed with the relevant eviction order in favor of the landlord.

What changed:

The recent amendments concern Articles 11 and 29 of the Law, and a new Article was introduced, namely Article 37.

Article 11 is meant to limit evictions under certain conditions. With the new amendment, the response to the application for eviction by the tenant is accepted for submission by the Court Registrar granted the response is provided with:

(1) a receipt issued by the Court’s accounting department that the amount due according to the application has been submitted to the Court by the day of submission or,

(2) a receipt issued by the owner regarding the amount of rent due, or

(3) proof that the amount that the landlord alleges is due in the application has been deposited to the financial institution in which the owner or his/her representative have an account.

Subsequently, the Court’s Registrar shall decide on whether to accept or reject the filing of the tenant’s response to the eviction application, which must be presented before the Rent Control Court within three (3) working days from the filing date and then it is up to the Court’s discretion to give the final approval or rejection. The Court’s decision is not subjected to appeal.

In case the eviction order is granted, the Rent Control Court determines the time during which the tenant must comply with the eviction order, which cannot be less than ninety (90) days.

Article 29 has to do with the appropriate serving documents and the way the recipient will be informed, while keeping into consideration the Civil Procedure Rules.

The Law provides the ability to privately serve any documents according to the Civil Procedure Rules, provided the Court Order has been granted, including electronic service and substitute service.

For serving documents out of jurisdiction, the process must take place according to the rules of the European Union, international Conventions, secondary legislation or judicial rules that apply in the Republic.

Article 37 makes clear that the new amendments do not apply to cases filed before the enforcement date, that is the 31st of January 2020, as well as instances in which rent became payable before the aforementioned date, on condition that these are paid within 12 months from the enforcement date.

Keeping in mind that this is an amendment to the Rent Control Act, this law will only apply to the buildings erected before 2000 and are within the specific areas that are under the Act’s jurisdiction.

What is the reason behind the amendments:

As with the previous amendments by the Parliament and the most recent ones, the law aims to simplify the process and unburden to some extent the already over-tasked Rent Control Court.

The President of the Rent Control Court also highlighted that the process will only apply to tenants that repeatedly fail to meet their obligations. It has also been emphasized that this new measure is meant to protect both the “proper” landlord and tenant and to save valuable time and money since expensive and time-consuming court appearances will be avoided. The recent amendments are believed to decongest the Rent Control Court, which are currently experiencing long delays in procedures. Additionally, now the burden of proof is on the tenant and not on the landlord, which is also believed to simplify the process