Renting in Europe
From time to time Tessa and I, along with several commentators on this site and others have made reference to renting laws and practices in European Countries.
Most of these comments have been snatched from magazine articles and personal anecdotes from people who either rented themselves or know someone who rented in say Germany or Sweden.
A new report out
I’m always interested in these stories as comparisons but being anecdotal they don’t provide the rigour that proper in-depth research would, so I was pleased to see the recent publication of the Tenlaw Report conducted by the Centre for European Law and Politics at the University of Bremen, conducted between 2012 and 2015.
It’s a massive tome, running to 850 pages so don’t expect me to provide a detailed report here over a bacon sandwich and a cuppa. I just wanted to flag up for readers that there is at last something out there that can be relied upon.
European renting model
Publication of the report sparked a wave of conferences across Europe on comparative rights of renters and looking at what can be gleaned for a European wide renting model, which of course we shall most probably be locked out of now as a result of Brexit.
The 27 different research facilities across Europe who helped provide the data for the report were all asked the same questions, breaking things down into 3 main headings:-
- Looking for a place to live – in other words the comparison laws on finding property.
- During the tenancy – looking at both tenants and landlord’s legal rights, and
- Ending the tenancy – where termination by tenant and landlord was examined along with return of deposits and adjudication in disputes.
More detail in the subsections
That short list is merely the framework within which to conduct the study. The subsections are a lot more comprehensive, covering not only issues with mould and damp but also, as you would expect, rent controls and whether or not the landlord has to get a possession order before evicting.
Also, the rental market in each of the countries is explained at the start of each chapter, which is helpful, as each of them has different demographic densities and even landscapes, think Switzerland as opposed to Holland.
A record across Europe
There are no conclusions at the end of the report, the aim being to simply record what is happening across Europe. Such debates being reserved for a range of conferences that have been held in Estonia, Brussels and Amsterdam. You can read it here.
It has highlighted some very interesting facts
I was surprised to read that in Romania 98% of landlords are resident ones, the trend being in marked difference to Britain where a surprisingly high figure of 65% of landlords are resident although I have reservations about that, given the number of rogue landlords I deal with who claim to be resident but actually aren’t.
I suppose it depends on where the partner researchers were getting their figures from.
Germany, a country often promoted as renter heaven has the downside that tenants are responsible for a lot of internal repairs.
However, I was surprised to read that rent capping exists in Ireland, France, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Poland, Norway and the Netherlands and that tenants in Romania can be evicted without grounds with no minimum period of occupation first and no rental limits.
It’s certainly a patchwork quilt of rights and regulations and for every point of agreement there will also be a vocal contingent against it but at least there is a single document we can all refer to.