Published date 13.09.2023
This article might be outdated!
[object Object]

Triin has 3 years of experience as a landlord.

With a deposit, Triinu's financial loss would have been 4300 euros.

Triin, an experienced landlord, has several apartments in Tallinn that she rents long-term. Alongside several positive experiences, she also had a tenant whose actions resulted in a major renovation of the rental property.

What exactly happened is the story that follows:

  1. A tenant's disturbing behaviour towards other residents.

  2. Damage to the rental apartment's interior decoration and finishings.

  3. A comparison table on using deposit versus Rendin protection.

Additionally, we explaing how to deal with different situations:

  • What to do if a tenant is disturbing neighbours?

  • How the rental agreement termination works?

  • What to do in case of damage to property?

  • What to do if the tenant does not pay rent and utilities?

My experience with Rendin was human, easy and comfortable. – Triin, the landlord


Becoming a problematic tenant after a break-up

Triin's tenants were young couple. The rental agreement was signed in the name of the woman, who had previously passed a background check with Rendin. Unexpectedly, the relationship ended after a while. The male party stayed in the rented apartment and took over the contract.

A real bachelor life started, which, of course, made the neighbours complain. The constant partying, loud music and noise became very irritading for the surrounding residents. When Triin heard about this, she wanted to see what was happening at the rental property. When meeting a tenant, she didn't find nothing wrong with the apartment. Although, she still decided to terminate the agreement.

When renting out your property, you have to take into account the risk that people's lives can change and take unexpected turns (like the break-up of a relationship in the case of this story), which also affect the landlord.

The constant partying became very disturbing for the surrounding residents.

What to do if the tenant's behaviour is disturbing the neighbours?

In the case of disturbances by a tenant, we recommend that the landlord address the problem to the tenant and explain how the behaviour affects the surrounding neighbours.

  • What qualifies under that kind of behaviour? For example, the tenant's constant (nightly) fighting with family members, noisy parties, smoking, misuse of common areas, aggressive behaviour towards others living in the house, etc. These are all examples.

After communication with the tenant, we recommend that a formal warning is drawn up, clearly describing the tenant's misconduct. It should also include information that if the situation doesn't improve, i.e. the landlord becomes aware of new complaints, the tenant has again breached the agreement and legal obligations. It will be grounds for terminating the rental agreement.

  • The law allows the landlord to give 30 days' notice to terminate the rental agreement on an exceptional basis if the tenant continues to disturb the well-being of the residents despite the prior written warning.

  • To confirm the grounds for termination, the landlord should have evidence of the tenant's breaches, for example, police summonses, written statements from neighbours and the housing association, photos and videos.

What is the procedure for terminating a rental agreement?

The conditions for terminating an agreement vary according to the type of it, whether it's a termless or fixed-term agreement.

A termless agreement can be terminated ordninarily by either of sides with 3 months' notice. The notice must be in writing, and the recipient must acknowledge it. If the parties can reach to an arrangement, they can finish the contract earlier.

  • Extraordinary termination is permitted under the Law of Obligations Act (§ 314-319) if the reason for termination is sufficiently valid and it is no longer in the interest of both parties to continue the contract.

A fixed-term agreement expires on the date agreed in the agreement. It cannot be terminated by notice, i.e. without significant cause (e.g. a desire to move because of an unexpected job offer in another city or country is not considered good cause).

  • Such a rigidly defined contract could lead to a situation where the tenant abandons the property and arbitrarily terminates the lease, causing all kinds of inconvenience. The landlord will have to find a new tenant and deal with the debts of the previous tenant.


Lots of damage in a rental apartment

As the tenant had paid rent in advance, the landlord didn't terminate the contract immediately, and the tenant remained in the rented property. In retrospect, the landlord says it was a mistake. When Triin went to take back possession of the apartment, she saw a shocking situation. The stunning and beautifully designed apartment had been vandalised. Among other things:

  • A broken bed

  • A pile of unwashed dishes with mouldy food on them

  • A broken TV

  • Cigarette burns on various worktops.

  • Used condom

  • Damage to paintwork (including ceilings)

  • Traces of air gun use

When Triin entered the apartment, what she saw was shocking.

What to do if you discover a property damage?

To prevent bad surprises – property damage – Rendin experts recommend that landlords visit the rental home a month (or a week, at the latest) before the end of the agreement to inspect the place with the tenant and, if necessary, address any shortcomings. In this case, the tenant will have time to fix the issues.

If, on returning the rental home, the landlord discovers any outstanding deficiencies for which the tenant is legally responsible, we ask the landlord to proceed as follows:

  1. The rental home needs to be overviewed at the time of return, and the Handover Act must be completed in the Rendin app. If, for any reason, the landlord act can't do it, please send an e-mail to both the tenant and the Rendin customer support with a brief description/summary of the property after the inspection and relevant photos.

  2. In the event of any defects, it is the landlord's role to assess the extent of the damage, taking into account the aspect of natural wear and tear. If necessary, the landlord should involve an expert in the field to help determine the damage claim amount. If the value of the damage can't be evaluated: the landlord has to ask for a quotation for repairs or look for similar items/necessary building materials within a reasonable price range.

  3. Once the final amount of the damage is precise, the landlord must submit the claim directly to the tenant and set an additional deadline for payment (at least 14 days).

  4. Suppose, despite the additional deadline, the tenant fails to pay the debt. In that case, Rendin initiates a claim: the landlord will be reimbursed, and recourse proceedings will be opened against the tenant. Rendin determines the compensation based on the evidence provided by the landlord. The following evidence is considered: pictures taken for the handover act at the return of the rental home, quotations for repairs, invoices, and other documents.

How to deal with tenant in debt?

One month's rent and/or utility arrears

Send a written reminder to the tenant that their bill(s) are unpaid and give a warning that if the debt becomes two months long, there are grounds for terminating the rental agreement.

Two months rent and/or utility arrears outstanding

In this case, the landlord must send a written notice to the tenant informing them that the arrears must be paid within the following two weeks, or the rental agreement will be terminated.

  • Find semi-automated draft on the Rendin website that reflects necessary legal requirements. See Rendin documents -> Extraordinary termination of rental agreement

Tenant fails to pay unpaid bills

If the landlord has covered the previous two steps described above and the tenant still doesn't pay the debts, then the agreement is terminated by extraordinary notice.

On the Rendin platform, the landlord must initiate the termination of the rental agreement and be sure to finish it on the correct date, i.e. when the rental relationship actually ends. Necessary to know: the rental agreement cannot be terminated retroactively.

Termination of the agreement doesn't negate the financial loss caused by the tenant to the landlord during the validity of the rental agreement.

Once the final amount of the loss has been established, the landlord must submit a claim directly to the tenant and set an additional deadline for payment (at least 14 days).

If, despite the additional deadline, the tenant fails to pay the debt, Rendin will initiate a claim for it: the landlord will be reimbursed and recourse proceedings will be opened against the tenant.

Rendin compensates for claim on the basis of evidence provided by the landlord:

  1. An extract of the correspondence with the tenant. It must indicate the landlord informing tenant about the claim for the debt with additional deadline for payment.

  2. The amount of the claim with a precise calculation.

  3. The invoices on which the claim is based, e.g. apartment association's and electricity bills, quotations for repairs, purchase receipts.

  4. Other relevant additional information.


Rent loss amounted to thousands of euros

Luckily, Triin signed the agreement via Rendin and contacted the company's customer support when the problem arose. After analysing the necessary evidence, the landlord estimated the damage at 5000 euros. As the tenant didn't take responsibility for his actions, Rendin's legal team took over the case and compensated the landlord.

Triin herself appreciated the human approach and simplicity of the claim process, when thinking back to the Rendin experience. Handing over the case to Rendin was also very convenient. Everything got resolved in just two weeks which even included the renovation of the apartment.

In any case, she recommends choosing Rendin if the owner is planning to rent out the property. Triin has had another problematic experience with a tenant in the past, but at that time, she didn't have Rendin protection. She ended up with a tenant who didn't pay the rent and refused to move out, so the debt kept growing. After such a situation, she decided to stop renting for a while. With Rendin, everything is safer now, and there is no need to take such drastic steps to recover from a bad experience.

Example based on Triin's case: Rendin vs deposit

Rendin

Deposit

Rendin's maximum financial protection in case of problems

9100 €*

700 €

Landlord's personal monetary loss due to the tenant's actions

0 €

4300 €

*plus utilities

Secure rental agreement by Rendin includes extensive protection for the landlord: a rent and utility payments guarantee (up to 3 months), property damage protection (up to 10x the rent) and free legal advisory.


Header image: Canva

More stories from landlords

07.06.2024

A tenant who delays moving out – large debt and property damage

Money saved: 4100 €

Rental experience: 4 years

07.09.2023

Rental damages 35x the amount of the security deposit

Money saved: 10 000 €

Rental experience: 4 years