Legally speaking, parties are not obliged to execute a written contract when renting a flat. However, a written form is strongly recommended in terms of specifying parties' rights and obligations and for ease of proof in the event of a dispute.
When you find a place you like, you should make sure to agree on a rental contract with the landlord. Do this by carefully reviewing and reading its terms and conditions before signing.
Q: Which points should we pay attention to most in a rental agreement?
-- Rental agreements are generally made as a printed form in Turkish, consisting of two sections, “General Conditions” and “Special Conditions.” The tenant should first check the address written in the contract as the “rented place.” It must be the same address as the one you are renting.
-- The person signing the rental contract as the landlord must be the owner or must have the right to use (usufruct) of the property. To be sure, you should check the title deed record of the property at the relevant Title Deed Office. Since all the records will be in Turkish, I advise you to contact a lawyer since professional help will also be required for the review of the terms of the agreement. -- Furniture and fixtures placed in the flat are generally written into the agreement. You should check their current condition and make sure that the written inventory matches what is present in the rented flat.
-- It is common for landlords to request a deposit amounting approximately to one to two months' rent before renting the house. When giving the deposit, it is advised to sign a separate document with the landlord stating why the deposit is given and under what conditions it will be returned.
-- Monthly rental fees and an annual rate of increase should be clearly stated. It is best to stipulate in the agreement that rent increase rates set by the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) will be applied. Also, confirm that the rental rates won't increase monthly within the term of the one-year agreement.
-- Tenant and landlord may freely determine the terms of the rental agreement. Upon its expiry, the agreement is automatically renewed with the same conditions for a period of one year, provided that it has not been terminated by the tenant 15 days prior to expiration. This provision of the law is mandatory, and parties cannot agree to the contrary.
-- Landlord shall pay all taxes on the rental, except for environmental tax (çevre temizlik vergisi), which is included in the water bills to be paid by the tenant. Bank transfer costs related to the payment of rentals are also borne by the tenant.
-- If a flat is rented, the tenant will pay monthly apartment fees, which vary according to the location of the building and services provided to the residents.
-- Sometimes tenants encounter accrued bills such as electricity, gas, etc., after renting the place. To avoid this, there should be a provision in the agreement stating that the tenant shall not be responsible for the past debts of previous tenants.
NOTE: Berk Çektir is a licensed attorney at law and available to answer questions on the legal aspects of living and doing business in Turkey. Please kindly send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. If a sender's letter is published, names may be disclosed the sender expresses the wish to remain anonymous.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is intended to give basic legal information. You should seek legal assistance from a licensed attorney at law while conducting legal transactions and not rely solely on the information in this column.