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Clearance of the apartment – when it is possible and how to do it correctly

Did you buy your dream apartment at auction with an unwanted occupant in the form of a former owner who refuses to move out? Or maybe you are renting an apartment and despite the end of the lease, the former tenant’s belongings still remain in the apartment? These situations are not uncommon. In this article we will therefore look at how to deal with them.

9 minutes of reading

Chapters of the article

What is involved in evicting an apartment

Evicting an apartment varies from case to case. However, it usually involves the following steps:

  1. Furniture removal – this involves taking out and disposing of all the furniture in the house, including sofas, chairs, tables, beds and wardrobes.
  2. Appliance disposal – kitchen and other appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, ovens and microwaves must be removed and properly disposed of or recycled.
  3. Disposal of personal items – former residents often leave behind many personal items such as clothing, toiletries, etc., which also need to be removed from the home.
  4. Disposal of electronics – such as televisions, computers or audio equipment.
  5. Garbage removal – the apartment may also be clogged with trash that needs to be disposed of.
  6. Removal of carpets and floors – in extreme cases (such as a late detected death of an occupant), carpets and floors that pose a health risk to future occupants also need to be removed.
  7. Cleaning – if the vacating of the flat is carried out by a cleaning service, a final cleaning is often included.
  8. Recycling – some cleaning services also provide recycling or donation of cleared items.

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Clearance of the deceased’s apartment

You may encounter eviction in the first instance if the occupant of the flat has died. Only the heirs have the right to evict the apartment, and only after the conclusion of the inheritance proceedings. Vacating the apartment before the succession proceedings are possible only if the heirs agree on it. However, certain perishable items (such as food in the fridge) can be vacated immediately.

You can usually manage the clearance of such a flat yourself. An exception is the case of vacating an apartment after a death, where the deceased person was discovered after a long time and the apartment became contaminated. In this case, not only all contaminated equipment must be disposed of, but also, depending on the intensity of the infestation, the floors and upper layers of the walls must be removed. Such an apartment often also needs thorough disinfection and disinsection, for which a professional cleaning company should be called in.

Cleaning an apartment in insolvency

You may also encounter apartment clearance when buying an apartment in insolvency. This can occur if the owner of the apartment is unable to pay his debts. The insolvency trustee is then in charge of selling such a flat. The insolvency practitioner may offer the property for sale directly, but more often by public auction. The purchase of such an apartment carries the risk of not being vacated. In order to vacate the auctioned property, you then need to file a lawsuit in court to have the property vacated. You can read how to do this below in this article.

Clearing the apartment after the tenant

Although the above situations are not uncommon, there is another situation that occurs very often and can also be very problematic. That situation is vacating the apartment after the tenancy has ended. Ideally, the termination of the lease will take place in such a way that the tenant will completely vacate the apartment himself and then hand over the vacated apartment to the landlord on the day of termination of the lease, expiry of the notice period or on a pre-agreed date. This is done by handing over the keys and the landlord can freely enter the apartment again at that time.

Tip: We will draft or review a lease agreement tailored to your case. Thanks to our services, even after the end of the lease, no disputes will arise between landlord and tenant regarding unclear rights or obligations.

However, the ideal situation may not always arise and it may happen that the tenant hands over the apartment uncleared, the tenant dies without heirs or, in an even worse case, the tenant stops paying rent and disappears before the end of the tenancy, leaving behind an uncleared apartment. How does it work in these cases?

  • Thetenant hands over the apartment uncleared: if the apartment has been officially handed over (handing over the keys), then the landlord can freely enter the apartment, even if it is uncleared.
  • Tenant dies without heirs: If the tenant dies without heirs, the tenancy is terminated after 6 months. The landlord then has the option to evict the apartment at his/her own expense and sell off the belongings. If the heirs eventually appear, the landlord can claim the costs of eviction from them.
  • Thetenant does not pay and disappears before the end of the tenancy: In this case, you need to wait until the presumption that the tenancy is terminated is met. This is satisfied if the tenant leaves the flat in such a way that the tenancy can be deemed to have ended without any doubt. This is therefore, in the case of non-payment of rent, after four months from the time of the first unpaid rent. Failure to pay the rent for three months shall be deemed to be a breach of the tenant’s obligation. At this point, the landlord can therefore give notice to the tenant and thereafter the one-month period for handing over the flat still runs.

Request for eviction

In both cases, it is a good idea to contact the former tenant in the first instance and ask them to vacate the flat, or send them a formal notice to vacate or a pre-action notice to hand over the flat.

Tip: You can find many different designs of eviction notices on the internet. However, they often do not contain all the essential information, are not up-to-date or contain serious errors. It is therefore better to consult professionals. Our attorneys can draft a pre-eviction notice quickly, without errors and from the comfort of your own home.

If the former tenant still does not respond, it is a good idea to carefully document the condition of the apartment with photos and video in case of subsequent disputes with the former tenant. You can then start cleaning the apartment yourself and file an eviction lawsuit against the former tenant.

Action for eviction

We have already mentioned the eviction action in several situations. One of the most common reasons for filing this lawsuit will be an uncooperative tenant or former owner of the auctioned property. The New Civil Code (NCC) regulates the eviction of a tenant so that the handing over of the keys is sufficient to officially hand over the apartment and therefore the eviction of the apartment is possible. At the same time, however, the NCC does not oblige the tenant to vacate the apartment. Therefore, if the former tenant leaves the apartment full of his belongings after the end of the lease, an action for eviction must be brought.

In this case, the landlord must prove to the court that the lease has been terminated. The tenant is obliged to pay rent until the court makes a decision and, after the decision, is given a period of time (usually 15 days) to vacate the flat. If the former tenant still fails to vacate the apartment, the next possible step is eviction by vacating the property.

Tip: You can read more about foreclosure by eviction in our article.

Similar rules apply to former owners of property lost in insolvency. In the event that the ownership rights are reassigned (most often after the property is auctioned) but the former owners refuse to move out, the eviction action comes up again.

The cost of evicting the apartment

As you already know, the cost of eviction can be borne by various parties and often has to be claimed in court. However, the question remains how much such an eviction actually costs if a special cleaning company is put in charge of it.

Tip: Don’t rely on a free sample eviction lawsuit downloaded from the internet. It may not pay off. Instead, contact us. We will do a careful analysis of your case and take care of preparing a pre-suit notice, a lawsuit, an appeal, or straight to representing you in court where we will vigorously enforce your rights.

Prices for clearing out an apartment vary widely. For example, basements can be cleaned out for a few hundred crowns, small flats for several thousand, and cleaning out the flat of a deceased person whose body has been in the flat for a long time can cost up to tens of thousands. The main factor in determining the price is:

  • Size of the property: the size of the property and the number of items that need to be taken away and cleaned will affect the cost most significantly.
  • Volume and type of items: The quantity and type of items to be cleared also affects the cost. If there are many bulky or heavy items in the home, it may require more manpower and special equipment may need to be involved.
  • Accessibility: easy access to the property is essential. If the property is difficult to access or if there are restrictions on removal vehicles, this may require additional effort and time, contributing to higher costs.
  • Condition of items: the condition of items to be removed or cleaned is another important factor. If there are items that require special handling or disposal due to hazardous materials (e.g., clearing out an apartment after a dead body), this will increase costs significantly.
  • Local market rates: market rates for property clearance services in a particular area also affect prices. Prices will vary depending on demand, competition and local economic factors.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

Education
  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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