With the European elections taking place this week, we thought it would be a good time to take stock of the renting situation in the EU. But don’t worry: we won’t bore you with the dry and dusty stuff on tenant rights and eviction procedures that fill the law books from Lisbon to Ljubljana. Instead, here are some of Europe’s barmiest renting laws!
1.) UK: Being able to laugh at yourself gives you carte blanche to laugh at other countries, right?! Anyway, did you know it’s illegal to prevent tenants from keeping hens and rabbits? Keep it quiet but even the most stringent pet clauses won’t cover you here! Under the ‘Abolition of contractual restrictions on keeping hens and rabbits’ clause of the Allotments Act 1950, all tenants are allowed to keep hens and rabbits on ‘any land’ available, even if a clause in the tenancy agreement states otherwise. So now you know!
2.) France: If a landlord wishes to increase the rent they must provide 9 examples of comparable local residences to show that the current rate is clearly below the average for the area. Those 9 examples have to be incredibly detailed, including square footage, how long they have been rented for and even the state of decoration!
3.) Denmark: The Danish system is bonkers! There are 5 different systems for rent control (except for properties built after 1991, which are exempt) based on the idea that no landlord can profit from a tenancy – they can only pass on costs. These include a capital charge, but one based on the value of the house in 1973, with no allowance for inflation! This all creates an incredibly complex system. In the words of a European University Institute report: ‘it is not possible for lay people to properly calculate the maximum rent applicable to a particular tenancy…This is the cause of many legal disputes’
4.) Portugal: If a property is in poor condition the tenant can demand repairs. If the landlord fails to do them, the tenant can acquire the property at an officially-estimated value. However, if the tenant then fails to do the repairs within a certain time-frame, the property is returned to the landlord!
5.) Italy: A landlord can terminate a tenancy (after four years) on the grounds that the property is to be used for ‘religious purposes’. As for precisely what constitutes a religious purpose, we’re not sure. An exorcism perhaps? A case of possession for possession…
There you have it. And who knows, depending on who gets into the European Parliament this time round, we might be seeing some of these in EU law soon!“PE (1)” by Anca Pandrea is licenced under CC BY 2.0