Clearing the property after the end of the lease

Is your lease with your tenant ending? How long after the end of the lease does the tenant have to vacate the apartment? When can you enter the apartment yourself and what can be done if the tenant refuses to vacate?

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8 minutes of reading

Chapters of the article

Voluntary eviction and surrender of the property

The ideal, and it has to be said the most common, scenario is that the tenant vacates and surrenders the property on time and voluntarily. By law, the tenant is obliged to surrender the apartment, house or other rented property to the landlord on the day the tenancy ends. If the tenancy ends by notice (whether for a fixed-term or an open-ended contract), this date is after the expiry of the notice period. Should the tenant breach his/her obligations in a particularly gross manner, the landlord has the right to terminate the tenancy without notice, in which case the tenant must surrender the apartment within one month of the end of the tenancy. However, the landlord may also agree with the tenant on a different date for handing over the apartment. This is typically done at the end of the lease by agreement or expiry of the term.

The termination and handover of the apartment can take place in a number of different ways, but from the point of view of the Civil Code, it is quite sufficient if you, as the landlord, get back your keys to the apartment and nothing prevents you from using it. This includes, for example, dropping the keys in a mailbox or, by agreement, leaving them in the apartment for which you have spare keys. After you have handed over the keys, you (as the landlord) no longer have to worry about entering the apartment, even if it has not been cleaned. There is no violation of your freedom of the home. The handover has taken place and it is therefore again your full right.

The handover protocol

It is practical to draw up a handover protocol (similar to the one you sign at the start of a tenancy) when you end your tenancy. If you are planning to do this, it is practical to have it written into your tenancy agreement. The protocol can serve both as evidence of the termination of the tenancy and as a basis for any compensation to the landlord. The protocol will also provide the tenant with proof of the utility balances as of the date of handover, which is important for the final billing that the landlord will make, sometimes months after handover, depending on the billing dates from the utility and water suppliers.

Tip: We have discussed the handover protocol, all its elements and its important role in proving compensation in our separate article.

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Clearing out an abandoned flat

Unfortunately, not all tenants are problem-free and from time to time we are contacted by clueless landlords who say that the tenant has disappeared to an unknown destination, has not paid rent for a few months and is not staying in the apartment. What can be done in this situation? The solution is twofold:

  • Consider non-payment of rent for at least three months as a serious breach of the tenant’s obligation, for which the lease can be terminated without notice. In this case, the apartment can be required to be handed over within one month at the latest.
  • According to the Civil Code, the tenancy is terminated if the tenant leaves the apartment in such a way that the tenancy can be considered to have ended without any doubt. This provision could also be applied to the above example.

On the other hand, of course, an apartment cannot be considered abandoned if the tenant leaves for a few months for an internship or holiday.

In the event that circumstances have arisen which can be considered as abandonment, you can proceed to evict the apartment. It is undoubtedly advisable to try to contact the tenant beforehand to notify them of such a move or to coordinate with them directly. If for some reason this is not possible, you can enter the apartment quite legally. It’s not a bad idea to document the whole thing with a camera or camera in case there is a dispute with the (former) tenant in the future. If there are things in the apartment that belong to him, you should again ask him to move them out. If he fails to do so, you can sell them on his account.

Tip: Do you know what to do as a landlord if a tenant doesn’t pay and doesn’t want to move out? How do you do a lease termination agreement for non-residential premises? We have answered these and other questions in our article on ending a lease.

Action for eviction of the property

We have described above the situation where the apartment is handed over voluntarily or can be considered abandoned. Realistically, however, there may be a situation where the tenant should have vacated the apartment and handed it over, but failed to do so. At the same time, however, there is no situation where the tenant has abandoned the apartment and the landlord could legally go there.

In this stalemate, the law provides that the tenant is in unauthorised occupation of the property and that there is no alternative but to bring an action for the eviction of the flat (house or land). It is then necessary to prove in court that there has been a valid termination of the lease and the tenant has breached his obligation to vacate the apartment. If the court decides along these lines, it will then order the tenant to vacate the apartment within 15 days of the decision to vacate, or a longer period depending on the circumstances. However, until the court makes its decision, the tenant is obliged to pay the rent. The landlord must then actually wait to continue renting and evicting.

A similar situation can also arise if the property is auctioned off in an involuntary foreclosure auction and the original owner refuses to move out.

Eviction by eviction

Without a doubt, the most extreme way to say goodbye to a tenant is to evict the property. This is a form of non-monetary execution that you can resort to if you have a court order requiring the tenant to vacate the apartment, house or other property. It is therefore a so-called writ of execution.

According to the opinion of the Supreme Administrative Court, it is a form of enforcement of a decision that very sensitively interferes with the privacy and property of the obligors. These rights may be restricted only in the cases and in the manner provided for by law. Even here, the severity of such a procedure is mitigated by law.

The bailiff first sends the debtor (i.e. the tenant who is occupying the apartment illegally) a summons to voluntarily comply with the obligation, setting a deadline of 30 days to vacate the property and its possessions and to pay the deposit for the costs of the execution.

It then sets a date for the eviction, of which it notifies the debtor, the authorised person (i.e. the owner of the immovable property) and the competent authority of the municipality in whose district the immovable property to be evicted is located. The date must be set at least 15 days before the actual eviction. During this period, the bailiff should carry out a local inquiry to ensure that the execution continues to run smoothly. In particular, he should ascertain:

whether the debtor is staying in the property and is therefore likely to be present at the eviction (e.g. by asking neighbours, serving documents),

  • the extent of the property of the persons liable (for the purposes of providing removal services and storage facilities),
  • whether there are other persons in the property and who they may be (e.g. by asking neighbours, asking the person entitled). Very often, eviction by eviction is also carried out in the presence of the Police of the Czech Republic, especially if it can be assumed that the obliged persons will not be willing to voluntarily fulfil the obligation, will cause conflicts or make other difficulties,
  • whether there are animals in the property (e.g. by asking neighbours). If so, a trapping service should be provided,
  • whether access to the property will be provided, or whether a locksmith service will be arranged in advance.

The progress of the foreclosure should be documented by video recording and an eviction report should also be taken at the conclusion.

If the debtor does not take possession of the goods on the spot, they are subsequently placed in safekeeping and the bailiff notifies the owner of their whereabouts. If the stored items are not collected by the debtor within six months of the date on which they were stored, they shall be sold. The proceeds of the sale shall be paid by the bailiff to the debtor after deducting the costs of safekeeping and the costs of sale.

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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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