Triin, an experienced landlord, owns multiple apartments in Tallinn that she rents out on a long-term basis. While most of her rental relationships have been positive, she encountered a tenant whose actions resulted in significant damage to the rental property. The following story outlines the details of what occurred.
Initially, Triin rented her apartment to a young couple, and the rental agreement was signed in the name of the woman. She had successfully passed a background check through the Rendin platform. Unexpectedly, their relationship ended, and the male party continued residing in the rental apartment, taking over the agreement.
Subsequently, the apartment transformed into a hub of constant parties, loud music, and noise, which greatly disturbed the neighboring residents. Upon learning of this situation, Triin decided to investigate the matter herself. While she found nothing physically wrong with the apartment, she concluded that the contract needed to be terminated.
When renting out a property, it is crucial to consider the unpredictable nature of people's lives, which can lead to unexpected turns, such as the breakup of a cohabiting relationship in this case. These situations can also impact the landlord.
The options for terminating a rental agreement vary depending on the type of contract.
Termless agreement: a termless agreement can be unilaterally terminated by providing three months' notice in writing, with acknowledgment of receipt by the recipient. If both parties agree to terminate the contract earlier, they must formalize the agreement in writing.
Extraordinary termination: according to the Estonian Law of Obligations Act (§ 314-319), extraordinary termination is permitted if there is a valid reason and it is no longer in the interests of both parties to continue the contract.
Fixed-term agreement: a fixed-term contract expires on the agreed-upon date specified in the contract. It cannot be regularly terminated without a valid cause. For instance, moving due to an unexpected job offer in another city or country is not considered a valid cause. Such rigidly defined contracts can lead to situations where tenants abandon the property and terminate the lease arbitrarily, causing inconvenience to the landlord, who must then find a new tenant and handle the debts of the previous tenant.
Since the rent had been paid in advance, Triin did not immediately terminate the contract, allowing the tenant to remain in the property. However, in hindsight, she acknowledges this was a mistake. When Triin eventually visited the apartment to regain control, she was met with a shocking scene. The once stunning and beautifully designed apartment had been vandalized, with the following damages:
A broken bed
A pile of unwashed dishes with mouldy food
A broken TV set
Cigarette burns on various worktops
A used condom
Damage to the paintwork, including ceilings
Traces of air rifle use
Fortunately, Triin had secured the rental agreement through the Rendin platform. Upon discovering the extent of the damage, she contacted Rendin's customer support and provided the necessary evidence. After analyzing the situation, the landlord estimated the loss at €5,000. As the tenant refused to take responsibility, Rendin's legal team intervened and compensated the landlord.
Read the guide in Rendin Help Centre: steps to take in case of a property damage
Rendin's maximum financial protection in case of problems
Landlord's personal monetary loss due to the tenant's actions
Triin highly appreciated Rendin's humane approach and straightforward claim process. Transferring the debt to Rendin was also convenient. The entire issue, including the apartment renovation, was resolved within two weeks.
Triin recommends to use Rendin without a doubt. She reflects on another experience (prior to Rendin) where the tenant failed to pay rent and vacate the rental property, so the debt kept growing. After the situation she quit renting out for a while. Now with Rendin, everything is safer, and such drastic measures like she did to recover from a horrbile experience aren't needed anymore.
One of the major risks of renting a property is a tenant's failure to pay rent and utility bills and – worse – disappearing while leaving behind outstanding debts.
In cases where the landlord is not a Rendin user, consider these options:
Turning to Tallinn Rental Committee: the first and most common option is to ask for the money owed through a rent committee. A great advantage is that addressing a rent committee is free, and the landlord isn't required to pay state fees. But, at the same time, it is worth knowing before applying that the limit for claims processed by the committee is 3,200 euros.
Implementation of the Payment Order: another way of dealing with an indebted tenant is to make an application for processing a payment order in the form of an expedited procedure. In such a case, the court will resolve the matter within ten days of receiving the payment order application. Maximum debt claim is 6,400 euros.
Addressing the Court: the third option is to go to court, but this should only be done once other options are already tested. Or, in case the financial loss is so significant, it exceeds the specified damage limit for alternatives.
To learn about it more, check our another blog article.