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Rental of dwelling premises

Important information
See a template of tenancy agreement

Poland has a developed market of renting flats. The advertisements of renting apartments available in the press and on the Internet are published either by the owners of apartments, or by the real estate agencies that act as agents in arranging the rental of apartments. In the latter case, the person who wants to rent an apartment has to reckon with the need to pay a commission to the agency, usually in an amount equal to one-month rent for the use of the dwelling. It should be noted that, despite having to pay such commission, the agency does not act in the interests of the person wishing to rent an apartment, but in the interest of the owner, who ordered the agency to find tenants.

It is true that tenancy agreement does not need to be made in writing (unless the contract is concluded for a longer period than one year), yet in practice, contracts are concluded in this very form, i.e., in writing (see a template of tenancy agreement). Under the tenancy contract, the party that provides the dwelling is called the landlord (this is usually the owner of the dwelling) and the party that will use the apartment – is called the tenant.

At the conclusion of the tenancy agreement, the owner of the dwelling (landlord) may require a security deposit from the tenant. This is a certain amount of money (usually the equivalent of a monthly rental payment) retained by the owner to secure future debts of the owner under the rental of the premises. The owner is obliged to refund the deposit within a month after the tenant has vacated the apartment and he may deduct from this amount outstanding fees for an apartment or the cost of repairs (if the apartment is in a worse condition than when the agreement was concluded). The tenancy agreement must specify the amount of fees for using the apartment (the so-called rent) and other payments to be borne by the tenant (for electricity, gas, water, garbage disposal, cable TV, telephone, internet, etc.) and it should also indicate the dates when these payment are due.

It is advisable that before the tenant moves into the apartment, the parties should draw up a protocol describing the conditions of the dwelling (walls, windows, doors) and the equipment which can be found there (e.g. washing machine, cooker, refrigerator), furniture, etc. This protocol will serve to establish the degree of wear and tear of the apartment when the tenant moves out.

During the tenancy, the tenant is responsible for the condition of the dwelling, on the other hand, the owner (landlord) is responsible for the condition of the building outside the premises and for the condition of the installations in the walls. The tenant has the obligation to repair, in particular: the floors, walls, windows, doors, furniture, stoves, ovens, taps, sockets, etc. On the other hand, the owner is required in particular to take care to maintain cleanliness and order in the common parts of the building (staircases, corridors, gates) and to repair water supply systems, gas, sewerage, central heating, electric systems, a community aerial. The owner is also required to replace the stove, window frames, door frames, floors, and plaster, if it is not possible to repair them.

After the expiry of the tenancy, the tenant is required to renew the apartment, bringing it to the state before the tenancy (which is determined on the basis of the written protocol before the tenant moves into the apartment), including ordinary wear and tear of the housing equipment.

In the course of the tenancy, the owner may increase the fee for an apartment (rent). For this purpose, he must inform the tenant about the increase in writing at least three months before the increase (the parties may stipulate a longer period in the contract). The increase of the rent cannot be arbitrary – it must be within the limits described by law: it should ensure to the owner of the real property the reimbursement of maintenance expenses and a decent (but not usurious) profit. At the request of the tenant, the owner must provide written reasons for the increase, and its calculation. The tenant who does not agree to an increase, may, within 2 months after being notified about the increase, turn to court for a settlement. The increase in fees cannot be undertaken more frequently than every 6 months.

Tenancy agreement of an apartment may be concluded for a fixed period (e.g., up to a designated date or for a specified number of months or years) or for an indefinite period. In both cases, the agreement may be terminated by either party. In order to terminate the contract concluded for an indefinite period, the tenant must comply with an appropriate notice period (the period between the notice of his desire to terminate the contract and completion of tenancy). This period is generally three months, unless the parties agree otherwise in the contract.
In turn, if the agreement was concluded for a fixed period, the tenant may terminate it only if the parties have agreed to such a possibility in the contract. Otherwise, the contract expires only with the expiry of the period for which it was concluded.

The owner of an apartment (landlord) may terminate the agreement, both the one concluded for a fixed as well as for an indefinite period, but only in certain cases. The landlord may terminate the tenancy in particular when:

  • the tenant uses the apartment in a manner contrary to its purpose (for example, he destroys the apartment, disturbs peaceful enjoyment of other residents of the building),
  • he is more than three months in arrears in the payment of fees for the apartment,
  • he rented the apartment to another person without the consent of the owner (landlord)
  • there is a need to repair or demolish the building in which the dwelling is located.

In all these cases, the owner (landlord) must comply with a monthly notice period. The notice of termination of the tenancy shall be made in writing under the pain of nullity and it shall specify the reason for termination.