With the increasing demand for housing and rising inflation in today’s world, tenants and landlords often find themselves entangled in legal disputes. Despite recent legal reforms aimed at ensuring fairness between tenants, who are often in a weaker position in lease agreements, and property owners with ownership rights, these reforms have not fully resolved the issues, leading to continued legal disputes.
In light of these developments, the “Eviction Commitment Letter” outlined in Article 352 of the Turkish Code of Obligations No. 6098 under the section titled “Termination of Contract in Residential and Roofed Workplace Leases” has gained significant importance.
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What is an Eviction Commitment Letter?
An eviction commitment letter is a written commitment by a tenant to vacate a leased property on a specific date. According to Article 352 of Law No. 6098:
“Article 352 – Due to Reasons Arising from the Tenant
(1) If the tenant, after the delivery of the leased property, commits in writing to vacate the leased property on a specific date but fails to do so, the lessor may terminate the lease contract by applying to enforcement or filing a lawsuit within one month starting from that date.”
In practice, for an eviction commitment letter to be valid, several conditions must be met simultaneously. If any of these conditions are not met, the commitment letter cannot be considered valid.
Conditions for the Validity of an Eviction Commitment Letter
A. The eviction commitment letter must be in writing.
To speak of a valid eviction commitment letter, the commitment must be arranged in writing by the free will of the parties. The requirement of written form is essential, and it is enough for the commitment to be made in ordinary written form. The eviction commitment can be prepared upon the request of the parties or notarized.
B. The eviction commitment must be personally signed by the tenant.
Eviction commitments given by the tenant’s relatives, spouse, or children are considered invalid. If there are multiple tenants in a residential property, the commitment must be signed by all tenants. When a lease agreement and an eviction commitment are made through a representative, the power of attorney must contain specific authorization for this.
C. The eviction commitment must be given freely by the tenant after signing the lease agreement.
Eviction commitment letters must be signed by the tenant of their own free will a reasonable time after the lease agreement has been signed. An exception to this rule is eviction commitments given together with a renewed lease agreement. Eviction commitments signed by the tenant at the time of the lease agreement due to fear of not being able to rent the property are considered invalid. Additionally, the provisions of Turkish Code of Obligations Article 30 and subsequent articles, which regulate error, intimidation, and deception, can invalidate an eviction commitment.
D. The eviction commitment must contain complete details regarding when the leased property will be vacated, which property the commitment pertains to, details of the lease agreement, and the tenant’s commitment to vacate the property on a specific date.
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Filling in an Empty Eviction Commitment Letter Later by the Lessor
In practice, it is often seen that eviction commitment letters are signed with blank spaces, and these spaces are later filled in by the lessor. In case the signature under the commitment belongs to the tenant, even if the content is filled in later by the lessor, the commitment is considered valid. The invalidity of such eviction commitments can only be proven by written evidence.
In conclusion, eviction commitment letters play a significant role in Turkish lease agreements, especially in cases where tenants commit to vacating the property on a specific date. Tenants and landlords must be aware of the legal requirements for these commitment letters to be valid and understand their implications.
Eviction Commitment Letters for Family Homes
A family home can be defined as the residence used by spouses and, if any, their common children for the purpose of regular living. If the leased property is defined as a family home, an eviction commitment letter signed by only one of the spouses cannot be considered a valid commitment letter.
The concept of a family home is of special importance in our law, and the authority to dispose of it has been restricted by our laws. According to Article 194 of the Turkish Civil Code No. 4721:
“One of the spouses cannot terminate the lease contract concerning the family home, dispose of the family home, or limit the rights on the family home without the clear consent of the other spouse, except for valid reasons. If consent cannot be obtained or if the other spouse refuses to give consent without a valid reason, the tenant can request the judge’s intervention.”
Since an eviction commitment letter is a unilateral, obligating action by its nature, it will result in the same legal consequences as the termination of the lease contract. Therefore, giving an eviction commitment letter as a tenant for a family home must be a decision made jointly by the spouses. For tenants, if the leased property is a family home, it is crucial to be aware of this requirement and to obtain the consent of both spouses before signing an eviction commitment letter.
The concept of a family home, due to its importance, is not only regulated in the Turkish Civil Code but also in Law No. 6098. According to Article 349 of this law:
“In leased properties used as a family home, the tenant cannot terminate the lease contract without the clear consent of the other spouse. If obtaining consent is not possible or if the other spouse refuses to give consent without a valid reason, the tenant can request the judge to make a decision on this matter. If the spouse who is not the tenant declares by notification to the lessor that he/she has become a party to the lease agreement, the lessor must separately notify the tenant and the spouse about the payment period for the termination notice.”
Both legal provisions emphasize that the actions concerning family homes should be taken with the joint decision of the spouses. Consequently, if you are a landlord requesting an eviction commitment letter for a family home, you must ascertain whether the property is indeed a family home and ensure that both spouses give their consent. For tenants, particularly in cases where the leased property is a family home, it is essential to be aware of these legal requirements and seek the consent of both spouses before committing to eviction. This can help avoid legal complications in the future.
In conclusion, the eviction commitment letter is a legally binding document that can have significant consequences for both tenants and landlords. To ensure its validity and effectiveness, it’s crucial to meet all the legal requirements outlined in Turkish law. Tenants should also be aware of the implications of signing such a commitment, especially if the leased property is considered a family home, and obtain the necessary consent from all relevant parties.
As long as you encounter any problems or disputes related to eviction commitment letters or any other issues regarding rental contracts in Turkey, you can rely on Alfa Law Firm to provide top-tier legal services. Our Real Estate Lawyers in Turkey offer consultancy and representation services on all matters related to real estate law in Turkey.
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Whether you’re in need of guidance from multilingual lawyers in Antalya or elsewhere in Turkey, Alfa Law Firm is here to serve you in the best way possible. Contact Antalya attorney Ceren İncetaban and our team of expert lawyers in Antalya today for a free consultation. Your real estate legal journey begins with the right support, and Alfa Law is here to provide it.