Aug 122014
 

Most foreigners who temporarily live in Lithuania do so in rental apartments. To be a tenant is easier than to be a lessor. However, apartment rent is rather unpopular among Lithuanians themselves and therefore less regulated by state than in many Western countries. Here are the legal issues you need to know when renting an apartment in Lithuania.

How to ensure you are not evicted?

An apartment rent contract must be written when it has a fixed term (e.g. „Rent for 1 year“) or you rent an apartment from a company. Otherwise, it may be unwritten. If there is no fixed term it means that the lessor may cancel the agreement any time by informing the tenant 6 months in advance.

It is common that the lessors do not want to sign any written agreement as they avoid taxes. Tenants in such apartments risk being evicted even if it was agreed otherwise. It may happen that the lessor will deny altogether that he/she rented an apartment. Of course, such scams are rare, but a written contract largely prevents them. Therefore signing a contract is good even when it is not necessary (but it may mean a slightly more expensive rent).

However, even if the apartment rent contract is signed it may be so that the tenant will be evicted. This can happen if the lessor will transfer (sell or gift) the apartment to somebody else. The new owner may then evict the tenant and tenant‘s rights would be limited to demanding compensation from the previous owner if the contract was breached.

However, if the apartment rent contract is registered in the Real Estate Registry of Lithuania then it will be impossible for the new owner to evict the tenant so easily. The contract registration costs money however and a tenant will likely have to pay for it.

Eviction is also possible when the tenant breaches the contract and/or harms the apartment.

What should be written in an apartment rent contract?

Lithuanian apartment rent contract is required by law to have at least the following things mentioned: address, the number of rooms, the rights to shared rooms, rental price and terms to pay it, additional price to be paid for utilities (usually dependent on true usage).
In Lithuania many apartment buildings have their own Community established and the articles of incorporation of such Community should be given to a tenant (they will be Lithuanian-only however).

Some clauses are not required to be specified in the contract but if they are not specified then clauses described in law will hold. For example, if the contract does not specify when to pay for apartment rent the tenant has to pay until the 20th day of every month.

Illegal clauses in apartment rent contract

It is assumed that tenant is „the weaker part“ of the contract and the following clauses are banned:

a)Tenant‘s responsibility without guilt (e.g. that the tenant has to compensate damage if the apartment will burn in a fire started by neighbors) or a responsibility larger than true damage (e.g. „ the tenant clogs the toilet he would not only have to unclog it but also pay a fine“).
b)Lessor‘s right to unilaterally change the terms of the contract (e.g. „the lessor has a right to raise the rental price at any time“) or a lessor‘s right to unilaterally decide that the apartment is liveable (e.g. after a fire).
c)Altering tenant‘s rights based on his family size if the apartment is large enough (e.g. „the contract ends in case the tenant has another child“).
d)Removing tenant‘s ability to choose where to buy things/services (e.g. „tenant must use only IKEA furniture“).
e)Requiring the tenant to pay for entire rent after being late once.

Moreover, while it is permitted to rent rooms of the same apartment separately it is not permitted to rent a room that must be passed to reach another tenant‘s room or to rent a non-residential room (WC, kitchen) separately.

Responsibility

The tenant (and his/her family members) are responsible for the damage they do (or the people they let inside do) but are not responsible for the damages from elsewhere (e.g. done by neighbors).

Who could live in a rented apartment?

The tenant may invite other temporary residents to the rental flat only when the lessor agrees.

The leased apartment may be subleased only with a permission as well.

When the rental contract ends all the people who lived there loses their right to do that.

When the contract ends

If the ending date of the contract has been agreed upon the contract ends up on that date if either tenant or lessor wishes so. If nobody wishes that the contract continues to be in power the same way as if it would be signed without specifying the term.

The rental conditions may be changed by lessor when the term ends. However, the new conditions must be first offered to the existing tenant and only if he/she refuses could they be offered to someone else.

If the contract end term has not been specified the contract ends after the lessor writes a termination letter to the tenant. However, this letter must be written not earlier than 6 months before the termination date.

The tenant is always able to cancel the rental agreement by informing the lessor 1 months in advance (regardless of whether the ending term has been specified). He/she may also retract the termination letter if he/she changes his/her mind however if the lessor would have already agreed to rent the apartment to someone else such retraction would not work.

It is harder for the lessor to cancel the apartment rent contract. He/she may only do so if the tenant fails to pay the rental fee for 3 months, fails to pay for utilities, damages the apartment or misuses it (e.g. uses it for business).

The tenant must return the apartment as he received it.

If he made something worse (e.g. damaged the walls) then the tenant must repair or compensate the damage.

If the tenant improved the apartment he could take back the improvements after the apartment rent contract ends if these improvements can be taken away. Otherwise, the improvements become a property of lessor and only if the lessor agreed to make such improvements he/she would be obliged to compensate the tenant. For example, the tenant may easily remove a new lamp he bought (and place back the old lessor‘s lamp) but he may not be able to get any compensation for the wall paint.

Augustinas Žemaitis

Apartment rent contracts drafting and legal checking.
Prices start at 100 EUR

E-mail: augustinas.zemaitis@gmail.com

  25 Responses to “Apartment rent contracts in Lithuania”

  1. Hello, do you know if it’s légal to put in the contract , interest fees for late in the payment for the month rent?

    And if Yes, in which condition we can apply it?

    Thank you

    • Definitely, this is possible and legal. It can be applied in case the lesee fails to pay the rent on time (from the very next day of such lateness).

      • Hi, can I find rent apartment one or two room EUR 100 month include all bills in Vilnius or in Kaunas for long time,thanks.

  2. Hi, is it possible for a tenant that wants to break the contract to pay for the last 2 months he will be in the apartment, by using the deposit? The lessor would use the deposit and the tenant would just pay for the bills until the end, in this case.

  3. Is it possible for tenant to break the contract and use the deposit for repairs of damages instead of actually have to repair themselves?

    • If you mean damages to the apartment – they can be usually compensated either by a repair work or by money that could pay for such a repair work. If the damages cost more to repair than the deposit, however, then you’d have to pay additionally so that the total sum of the money you paid in addition to the regular rental and other fees would cover the cost of damage repairs (including the cost of hiring a person to do those repairs, if you won’t do them yourself).

      This is assuming we speak of a typical apartment rent contract. There may be many different rental contracts, and the exact outcome depends on the contract.

  4. Hi, if my flatmate brings friends over, is it possible for me, a legal tenant, to call the police and ask them to leave as it’s a small flat. Thanks in advance.

  5. Hello Augustinas

    What is agreement for living space in Lithuania, a requirement by migration department to register EU and non EU nationals as Lithuanian residents.
    Is it a separate document to a rental agreement? What a tenant has to do and moreover what does an owner need to do. Many thanks Indre

    • The owner has to go to the Department and give his/her consent that a person who seeks a Lithuanian residence permit would declare his site of living at the apartment in question. You should also bring the rental agreement just in case, but it is not enough if there is no possibility to declare the person’s site of living at the apartment, and this declaration needs a separate consent of the owner.

      • Thank you Augustinas, you are correct. And, I found out it can be done in three ways: –
        1. The owner can go to the migration department and sign a form there.
        2. Owner can go to the notary and sign the declaration of living space form and give original copy to the tenant which along with the original rent agreement needs submission at migration centre.
        3. If the property is registered at the Lithuanian Register Centre than take the original rent agreement to the migration centre for submission.

        Most of the owners chose the first option unless they have their property registered than the third option.

        Imp. You only need the above if you are applying for a temporary or permanent residence permit in Lithuania.

  6. Hello Augustinas, I’m considering renting a property but the owners are only willing to register my own residency there (for residence permit), but not that of my small children who will live with me (they are asking me to register them as if they lived with family members elsewhere). I’m not willing to do this but I don’t understand their “angle” for this (they say safety reasons). Any idea why they might be asking this? What advantage would they obtain?

    • In Lithuanian law, it is very difficult to evict families with children, even if they don’t pay the rent, for example (the process is more difficult than for families without children). So I think this is the reason.

  7. HI HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE FOR THE LEASE AGREEMENT TO BE READY

  8. is it legal to rent an apartment in lithuania, with a contract without having a residence permit or visa to lithuania?

    • It is legal. However, you must be in Lithuania legally: that is, in order to be in Lithuania without a visa, you need to have a citizenship of a country whose citizens are allowed to be in Lithuania without a visa. And you must not stay in Lithuania (in a rental apartment or not) longer than you are allowed to stay without a visa.

  9. Hi, where can I find a list of countries from which the tenant is required to register in the apartment? As far as I understood, the EU citizents are exempt from this obligation. However, what concerns tenants from Israel, for instance, remains unclear.

    • European Union citizens are exempt because there is so-called free movement of people within the EU, so EU citizens can move into Lithuania without a Lithuanian residence permit. Whoever needs a residence permit in Lithuania (and this includes citizens of Israel) needs to register in an apartment in Lithuania in order to get such a permit.

  10. Hi there, I’m sure this has been covered somehwere but I’m hoping for some clarification. What are the responsibilities of the landlord concerning maintenance e.g. lift services, gardening etc..? Thanks for you time.

    • The landlord is responsible for the general maintenance of the building (e.g. floor, roof), but not maintenance such as cleaning, unless otherwise specified.

      If you rent a house with a garden, then you are responsible for the gardening.

      If you rent an apartment in an apartment block, in that case most of the responsibilities for the building itself will actually fall not on the landlord (who will likely just have a single apartment himself) but rather the apartment house community (an organization established just for that and allowed to tax those who own the apartments for its services). In case the apartments are rented out, typically, it is the tenants who pay such taxes unless agreed otherwise.

  11. Hi, I have a question: is it legal for the lessor to decide not to return the whole deposit if the tenant leaves before a certain amount of time (let’s say one year)?

  12. Hello I have rented an apartment for almost a month now and the dishwasher did not work from the beginning. The dishwasher is now away and being repaired and is suppose to be reinstalled in a week from now. I have signed a 1 year lease and this is a brand new unit along with brand new appliances. Is there any obligation from the lessor? The dishwasher is listed in the lease.

    TIA

    • If it is listed in the lease, it should work indeed. You are responsible if it would be broken because of your damage, however, if it was broken initially, then it is lessor’s responsibility.

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