- Hans Weber
- December 1, 2023
Invalid Provisions in Rental Agreements: Tenants Not Bound by Unlawful Clauses
Date – Many landlords include provisions in rental agreements that go beyond what the law permits. However, legal experts assert that these additional clauses are invalid, and tenants are not bound by them. Several common clauses, such as shorter notice periods, restrictions on visitors, bans on pets, and prohibitions on subleasing or registering permanent residence, are unenforceable.
Tenants may unwittingly sign such agreements, but they are not legally obliged to adhere to these invalid clauses. Even seemingly minor restrictions, like banning tenants from nailing nails into walls, hold no legal weight.
A prevalent clause often encountered in rental agreements is the “no pets” rule, particularly concerning dogs and cats. While understandable from the landlord’s perspective, this clause can create issues for pet owners seeking rental accommodations. However, some landlords have found a middle ground by allowing pets with a higher deposit and regular inspections to monitor the property’s condition.
Landlords do retain the right to request tenants to remove minor changes, such as nails and screws, before returning the property. For non-residential spaces, the same principle applies, and landlords may seek compensation if tenant modifications diminish the property’s value. The handover protocol serves as the document for assessing such claims.
In some instances, landlords prefer tenants to handle utility payments to avoid disputes. However, if tenants fail to pay, some landlords resort to removing electricity meters, which can be costly to reinstall. As an alternative, some landlords keep utility accounts in their name to protect themselves in case tenants refuse to vacate the property.
It is essential for landlords to be aware that disconnecting utilities to force a tenant to leave is unlawful and can lead to charges of unauthorized intervention in the tenant’s rights. Similarly, landlords must refrain from taking self-help measures, such as changing locks, to regain possession of a rental property, as it constitutes a criminal offense.
In conclusion, tenants should be vigilant when reviewing rental agreements and be aware of provisions that may be invalid. Landlords, too, should familiarize themselves with their rights and responsibilities under the law to ensure a fair and lawful tenancy arrangement. In case of disputes, seeking legal advice can help clarify the rights and obligations of both parties involved in the rental agreement. Transparency and adherence to legal provisions are essential for maintaining harmonious landlord-tenant relationships and upholding the integrity of the rental market.
Article by Prague Forum