Legal assistance housing

Do you rent privately and have problems in your rental? Then maybe SiA can help you.

SiA offers legal assistance to students who experience significant problems with the tenancy of private homeowners. SiA has an agreement with a private practice lawyer, who assesses whether there is a legal basis for action. SiA pays attorney fees.

Email us with a brief description about the case and attach:

• Copy of valid student ID and paid semester fees
• Signed lease for the property in question

We will then contact our lawyer.

Generally

Property rentals are regulated by the Tenancy Act of 1999. Adherence to the Tenancy Act is mandatory, meaning that no conditions can be set that are less favorable to you as a tenant than what is required by law.
The provisions of the Tenancy Act apply even if no written lease has been entered into, but we will always recommend that a written agreement is required.

Before entering into a lease

Check the rental property thoroughly when viewing.

General standard
Review the rental property and check whether the standard is acceptable. If you discover conditions that are not acceptable, or anything that is broken, note this and inquire if the landlord has any plans for improvement.

Indoor environment
Check if the bathroom and kitchen have good ventilation and that there is no mold. Check that the window frames and windows are in order, paying special attention to rot.
Moisture and the like often occur in corners of the floor, especially in basement apartments, remove any furniture etc. if necessary for an inspection.

Public approval
There are quite a few rental properties that are not approved for rental. Such rental properties can be a fire trap, if, for example, there is no escape route. Therefore, inquire if the property is approved for rental. If there are several housing units in [occupying?] the same dwelling, this may be an indication that the dwelling is not approved for rent, and you should therefore be careful.

In addition to the danger it may represent to live in an unapproved bedsit / apartment, you are also at risk that the building authorities, if the situation is revealed, impose a cessation of tenancy in the middle of a lease.This may require the rental premises being vacated immediately.

When entering into the lease

The contract

A lease agreement can be concluded both orally and in writing. However, an agreement entered into orally must be drafted in writing if one of the parties so requests. As mentioned, it is strongly recommended that the lease be drafted in writing. The agreement will govern you and your landlord's rights and obligations. In the event of a conflict, it will be clearer what has been agreed, and your case will be far stronger.

If defects or damage to the property were discovered at the time of the rental, you should have the landlord note this in the lease. You will then avoid being held responsible for the damage afterwards.

If the landlord undertakes to rectify any faults or deficiencies, one should note in the lease when this is to be done. Read the lease carefully. If anything is unclear, you should investigate the significance more closely.

Timed leases

There are two types of leases, timed and indefinite.Timed leases run from the commencement of the contract until a pre-agreed date. It is not necessary to terminate a fixed-term lease, as this usually does not require notice of termination from either party.  

In principle, the Tenancy Act places restrictions on the right to enter into temporary leases with durationsof less than three years. Some landlords, however, offer temporary leases in the period from mid-August to mid-June.

This is especially true of landlords who have apartments or similar with multiple housing units. These often rent out the apartments on so-called summer rentals.

Such leases can provide an advantage for those who do not have to stay at the campus during the summer months, since they do not have to pay rent for this period. However, please note that in many cases, timed leases do not have termination access during the lease term. This is not always as favorable. You will be legally obliged to pay rent until the end of the lease, although for various reasons you might want to move. Therefore, require the contract to have a termination clause of one or two months.

Indefinite termed leases

Indefinite termed leases run until one of the parties terminates it. Unless otherwise agreed, a notice period of three months is required.

For those who live in a shared accommodation

When several people agree to rent an apartment or house, it is not uncommon for the landlord to want only one person to be the responsible tenant. This is something to be very cautious about, because one will be responsible for the total rent if, for example, others choose to move out without settling up. The safest thing is for each resident to enter into a separate agreement with the landlord.

If the landlord is only willing to deal with one person, a separate agreement should be entered into with each other in the shared dwelling, which guarantees the person responsible to the landlord. For example, you can create a separate bank account with a common advance rent of one or two months, possibly for the same period as the notice period.

Furthermore, one should have clear criteria for those who choose to move out before the rental period expires.

Deposit

When entering into the lease, it is normal to create a deposit account. This covers the landlord in the event of the tenant's inability or unwillingness to pay rent, or to pay costs for repairing something that the tenant has damaged.

Deposit must be agreed upon in advance, and consequently cannot be required by the landlord after the lease has been signed. The deposit amount must be deposited into an account created in the tenant's name. The deposit cannot…

Lease conditions during the contract period

Access

When you rent a home, the landlord is basically deprived of access to the rental property.

This essentially means that the landlord does not have access to the property without your consent. However, you cannot refuse to give consent if the landlord has an objective reason for inspecting the property, but this must be agreed upon in advance.

Although the landlord is, in principle, deprived of access during the rental period, it does not mean that you will receive a corresponding access. For example, you cannot make changes, renovations or anything of the kind without the consent of the landlord.

Deficiencies detected / occurring during the rental period

Not all issues can be identified during an inspection. Upon moving in, deviations may be detected.  

Whether any nonconformity constitutes a defect must be judged on the basis of what has been agreed upon and what should have been discovered during the initial inspection.

The accommodation must be contractual throughout the rental period. This means that if something is broken and it is not due to you as a tenant, this can constitute a defect if it is not corrected.

If damage is discovered that must be repaired without delay, such as a water leak, you as a renter are obliged to notify the landlord immediately.

Complaints

When errors are detected, it is important to note that you have a duty to advise within a reasonable time from the time you discovered or should have detected the error. Complaints should be made in writing and include specific information as to the nature and extent of the deficiency in question.

Sanctions

If there is a defect, you may require that it be corrected. If the defect is not rectified, you can withhold rent, demand a price reduction or compensation for your financial loss.
However, you cannot withhold more rent than required to ensure that the deficiency is covered. In any case, one should be careful about withholding rent, as the landlord can hold you liable for breach of contract, if the conditions still do not represent a defect.

If the issue is considered significant, you can terminate the lease.Upon termination, the agreement will void immediately and you may move out without regard to cancellation deadlines.