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How to End a Flat Lease in Czechia

Are you planning to move out of a rented flat and need to end your lease as soon as possible? Or are you seeking to evict a troublesome tenant? Proceed with caution, as ending a lease may easily lead to a dispute.

Krabice v bytě po ukončení nájmu bytu
6 minutes of reading
4. 5. 2022

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Not always do both parties reach an agreement about ending their lease, in which case a unilateral notice will usually follow. Fortunately, the law sets clear rules for such situations.

What legal requirements must a notice meet?

First, it must come in writing; it’s not possible to terminate a lease by word of mouth or a phone call. To ascertain that it has indeed been delivered, we recommend to send the notice as a registered letter. Furthermore, it must contain information on both parties and the flat and/or house number.

Whether or not the reason for the notice must be stated and the tenant advised depends on whether or not the lease is being terminated:

  • for a reason defined by law or the lease contract,
  • or whether it may be ended without a reason.

As with the former, the reason for the notice must be clearly formulated. The conditions of ending the lease, whether by the landlord or tenant, depend mostly on its type: indeterminate or fixed-term.

Tip: Are you unsure about your notice during the pandemic? We’ve written an article about the prohibition of a unilateral notice.

Notice to terminate a fixed-term lease

A fixed-term lease naturally ends upon its expiry. However, it may be terminated prior, as long as such an option is stipulated within it equally for either of the parties, not only for the landlord. Unless stated in the lease agreement, the parties may not end a fixed-term lease without giving a lawful reason.

Tip: A lease termination agreement represents the best solution by far.

What have we encountered in our practice?

Our client, Pavel, entered into a 5-year fixed-term lease without the option to terminate early. After 2 years, however, he got a new job and moved from Brno to Prague, a distance too far to commute. Subsequently, his landlord refused to end the lease and insisted on him paying nearly 3 years of rent.

“The law is clear in such situations. The tenant may terminate a fixed-term lease with a 3-month period of notice, provided that the circumstances that led to entering into the agreement have changed. In this particular case, it is unlawful to insist on the continued lease. A change in state of health represents another sound reason.”

Marek Svobodný, a real estate law specialist

Do you find yourself in a precarious situation regarding ending a lease?

Whether you’re dealing with your landlord’s refusal to accept a notice, or with a wrongful eviction, we’ll counsel you. We’re ready to provide a particular solution to your matter within 48 hours.

Resolve the situation with the problematic termination of a new apartment

What rights does the landlord have regarding ending a fixed-term lease?

The lessor may only terminate a fixed-term lease for one of the lawful reasons, namely:

  • the tenant has violated an obligation stemming from the lease (e.g., they cease to pay the rent),
  • the tenant has been convicted of an offence against the landlord, a member of their household, a person occupying the house where the rented flat is situated, or against property in that house,
  • the flat or house is to be emptied for public interest (for instance, the house has to be demolished to make room for a new bypass).

By specifying these particular reasons, the law seeks to protect the tenant as the weaker of the parties.

Your Attorneys Online advise: Beware of long “fixed-term” leases; any lease with an expiry exceeding 50 years will in fact be considered indeterminate with the clause that during the first 50 years, it may only be ended as if it was fixed-term.

That being said, landlords will usually benefit from shorter fixed-term leases – they represent an efficient way to protect themselves from irresponsible tenants without the need to prove breach of contract. Moreover, they allow for convenient rent raises when the lease is extended.

Tip: Read about of what to beware if you’re a tenant renting a flat.

Notice to terminate an indeterminate lease

The tenant is allowed to give notice on an indeterminate lease at any time without stating the reason. They only need to respect the 3-month period of notice, unless they agreed otherwise in the contract.

Tip: Although you needn’t give any reasons, you’re free to state them if you so choose.

When may the landlord give notice of an indeterminate lease?

If it’s the landlord who wishes to end an indeterminate lease, they are only allowed to do so upon one of the lawful grounds; these are the same as with a fixed-term lease (we’ve mentioned them previously). In addition, they may do so if they themselves or their spouse are planning to move into the flat during a divorce, or if they need the flat for their relatives, for example for children who started attending a university. The relatives really ought to move in, as a fake “need” may easily lead to claiming damages and to questioning the validity of the notice as such.

How to defend yourself against a wrongful notice?

The law deems the tenant as the weaker of the contract parties. However, to defend themselves, the tenants need to accept the notice and get acquainted with its contents.

To illustrate: Mrs. Karla avoided her landlord’s letters. Thus, she only found out about her notice 3 months after her landlord had sent it. For that reason, she couldn’t do anything about the matter despite completely irrelevant grounds presented by the lessor. If she had accepted the letter, she would have certainly won in court. Therefore, the failure to accept letters from the landlord is usually detrimental to the tenant. The law deems any such notice delivered on the third day from its posting.

Once the notice has been delivered, the tenant may raise objections or file a complaint within 2 months. This represents a major change in the lease law, as it transfers the responsibility to tenants and relieves landlords, who previously had to apply for an eviction permit at the court. Now they only need to wait and see if the tenant starts defending themselves in time. If they fail to do so, even an otherwise-void notice comes into force.

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Author of the article

medailonek-preuss

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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