Unforeseen national and global developments can significantly impact the conditions of a contract compared to the time it was drafted. Factors such as inflation, price fluctuations, and political and legal developments can play a role in this. In such situations, strictly adhering to the contract can contradict fairness and may necessitate filing a rent adjustment lawsuit unless the parties came to an agreement. This article will examine rent adjustment lawsuits, conditions for rent adjustment lawsuits and provide answers to frequently asked questions.
What is a Rent Adjustment Lawsuit?
A rent adjustment lawsuit is a legal action that allows for the adaptation of the rent to changing conditions due to extraordinary circumstances. It can be filed for both movable and immovable property rentals and is based on Article 138 of the Turkish Code of Obligations. According to the article, an extraordinary circumstance that was neither foreseen nor expected at the time of the contract signing must arise. Additionally, this circumstance should significantly alter the debtor's obligations to the extent that demanding performance of the debt would be against fairness.
Although freedom of contract and contractual commitment are fundamental principles, when the foundation of the contract collapses, it must be adapted to the changing conditions. Otherwise, it would create unfair conditions that contradict equity. The rent adjustment lawsuit, which involves the adjustment of the rent amount specified in the lease, aims to reinforce the basis of the transaction and adapt it to changing conditions.
What are the Conditions for a Rent Adjustment Lawsuit?
The conditions for a rent adjustment lawsuit are not as strict as a rent determination lawsuit. Unlike it, the rent adjustment lawsuit is not subject to a 5-year requirement. This is because the basis of the rent adjustment lawsuit lies in the emergence of unforeseen extraordinary circumstances. In this case, the lease would create an unfair situation that is contrary to fairness, and not adjusting the contract would be against the principle of good faith. The main conditions for a rent adjustment lawsuit are as follows:
1- Emergence of unforeseen extraordinary circumstances
One of the most important conditions for a rent adjustment lawsuit is the emergence of unforeseen extraordinary circumstances that require the adaptation of the contract, and these circumstances should not have been foreseeable at the establishment stage of the contract. For example, towards the end of 2021 in Turkey, the interest rate decrease had begun, and it was mentioned that the cuts would continue. In this case, in a lease made in the last quarter of 2021, requesting an adjustment of the rent fee based on the fact that the rent determined by the parties is not fair would be declined by the court.
2- The Situation must not be created by the plaintiff
The principle that no one can benefit from their own fault is among the fundamental principles of law. This principle also applies to rent adjustment lawsuits, and it aims to protect the balance of interests between the parties. This regulation, among the conditions of a rent adjustment lawsuit, prevents the malicious party from knowingly and intentionally creating a situation in their favor and abusing their rights. For example, a tenant who intentionally fails to comply with the mask requirement in enclosed spaces during the COVID-19 period and causes the closure of the business cannot file a rent adjustment lawsuit, claiming that the extraordinary circumstance emerged due to the closure of the business.
3- The continuation of the contract under current conditions must be very difficult
Due to the extraordinary circumstances that have arisen, the balance between the parties may be so disrupted that it is not expected to continue the contract from the other party's perspective. As a result, a rent adjustment lawsuit can be filed as a way to adapt an agreement that has become unbearable due to the conditions.
4- The debt must not have been performed yet
Leases are continuous contracts. Therefore, the landlord must maintain the property with the characteristics specified in the contract throughout the term of the contract, and the tenant must pay the rent. When the contract ends, the obligations of the parties also end. In such a case, requesting an adjustment of the rent would be an invalid request because a standing contract no longer exists. On the other hand, if the landlord or the tenant has not yet fulfilled or reserved their rights due to the fact that fulfilling their obligation has become extremely difficult, they can request an adjustment of the rent.
Frequently Asked Questions
As stated in a precedent, "The principle of commitment to the contract constitutes the basic principle of contract law as a requirement of legal security, accuracy, and fairness." However, unforeseen circumstances can make strict adherence to the contract unbearable for the parties. One of the methods used to resolve this issue is the rent adjustment lawsuit, which can be filed in case of extraordinary circumstances caused by reasons that were not anticipated by the parties. In this case, the continuation of the contract with present conditions would create an unfair situation, and the adjustment of the contract is necessary to comply with the principle of good faith. If you think that the rent adjustment lawsuit will not resolve your problems, another option might be tenant eviction in Turkey. For resolving problems, such as evicting the tenant or filing a rent determination or rent adjustment lawsuit in cases where the rent fee is lower than the market value, consulting a real estate attorney can ensure that your problems are solved promptly.