BERK – Dishonest landlords

Dishonest landlordsThis week we deal with a question regarding landlord-tenant relations: andldquoHi, in the last week, I realized that I might have fallen victim to a typical Turkish rental scam, done by my landlord with the help of a notary. Six months ago, when my apartment rental contract was being renewed, the landlord informed us that the building might be demolished in a few months.

In order to sign the contract, she told us that she wanted us to sign a paper stating, andquotWe accept that we must leave in the case of the building being demolished, with four to five months notice from the ownerandquot We all went to the notary and one of the tenants signed a document which was not translated into English. Fast forward to two weeks ago, the annual rent increase of 12 percent is due, which is equal to TL 280.

My landlord requested TL 300, we explained to her that there is a contract and we already agreed on the increase of 12 percent according to the law. After this, we received a Notice of Expulsion, giving us only four days to move.

The reason given was that one of us signed a document in Turkish that stated that andquotWe accept that we must leave the premises on June 1andquot My questions are: 1) We are now facing eviction, we have been told by some people that she could expel us in one week. Is that true? 2) Two persons signed the lease but only one person signed the document in question, would it still be valid in court? 3) The tenants are both Americans but the document was never translated into English even if it was signed by the notary, would it still be valid in court? Thank you so much for your help.

The promise you made before the notary concerning your eviction from the building in case of a demolition order is irrelevant to this case. I must make the point that all tenants must leave the building in a reasonable time anyway if there is an order for the demoliton and rebuilding of the property.

If there is no order for construction or rebuilding, but the building owner(s) decided to rebuild it due to the risk of an earthquake, then this still constitutes a valid ground and you would be asked to leave the building anyway.It is not very clear what the document is that you mentioned, but I presume that this has nothing to do with the contract you signed before the notary (you signed quite a bit of documents I must say) this document however is only binding on the person who signed the documents.

I am not quite sure how many of you made a contract with the landlord, but I presume that this contract is a joint one. Therefore (unless you gave each other the power to act on each otherand#39s behalf) any termination or cancellation concerning this rental contract should be done with joint signatures.

Concerning the eviction process it is not physically possible to finalize an eviction process within one week. It is not that easy to finalize an eviction process.

There are several steps to be followed for it to be completed. In the worst case scenario, the landlord has to go to the Court of Peace to ask for the eviction and this is a process which takes a minimum of four to six months depending on the jurisdiction.

Some courts are busier than others, for example an Istanbul one will be busier and will take a longer time to have the eviction process to be completed, if it takes place at all. In your case I see no justified grounds for eviction, and it seems that your landlord is unlikely to succeed in this case.

NOTE: Berk ektir is a Turkish lawyer and available to answer questions on the legal aspects of living and doing business in Turkey. Please kindly send inquiries to bcektir@todayszaman.

com If a senderand#39s letter is published, names may be disclosed unless the sender expressly states otherwise.DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is intended to give basic legal information.

You should get legal assistance from a licensed attorney-at-law while conducting legal transactions and not rely solely on the information in this column.