“The tenant owns a thousand houses” is a popular Turkish expression. This must have been made only to make tenants feel better, I would say. I received an e-mail about an unscrupulous landlord and his house, plagued by a humidity problem. I will comment at the end of each paragraph to make it easier for you to follow this long e-mail.
The letter reads as follows: “Dear Mr. Çektir, I just read your article re rental agreement law and I’m hoping that you can give me some guidance. My husband and I currently rent our house and have done so since January 2009. When viewing the property, our landlord insisted there was no humidity in the house, and it appeared that there wasn’t any. The house was painted white in color in every room. We redecorated the house and within two months the paint had crumbled and peeled off the walls in every room. I was in England at the time and when I moved here permanently in March 2009 we redecorated again. Within a month, the same thing was happening. We informed the landlord, who completely ignored the fact that the house has severe humidity problems.”
Let me interrupt and make a few comments here. You did the correct thing by informing the landlord, but you went about it the wrong way. You should have sent the notification to the landlord via a notary to have proof of delivery. The notification should have said you spent money to fix the poor condition of the house and that this was not due to your use of the premises or normal wear and tear. You should have attached the invoices for the expenses you made or at least mentioned that you made these expenses due to leaking walls and that it is the responsibility of the landlord to deliver a proper house.
“We continued to live here and decided to let the house dry out over the summer months and then redecorate yet again. We did this in mid November, but the same thing happened again. We have spent our own time and money trying to fix this problem while the landlord has done nothing. The landlord has always insisted that we pay cash and not through a bank account.”
Why did you not ignore him and transfer the money to his bank account? How can someone force you to pay in cash? I am afraid his intention was to give you no proof of payment. You will not be able to prove you made any payment if the landlord comes to ask you for the entire rent.
Let me also remind you that the law obliges the parties to pay and collect rent through a bank account.
“We pay TL 600, but our contract states the rent is TL 500. My husband, who pays the rent, paid six months up front when we moved in and then continued monthly. He has yet to obtain a receipt for any of this.”
You could have simply paid TL 500 to the bank every month and the landlord would have to accept this because this seems to be the agreement between you and the landlord.
“The problem we now have is that we are finally moving and the landlord is saying that we need to repaint the house — but we have done this three times. We did not pay a deposit and at the moment we have not paid January’s rent, upon advice given at the local belediye [municipality] not to pay any rent.”
The local belediye is not authorized to give you any advice or make any decision regarding this matter. Therefore, the fact that you have been advised by the local belediye bears no effect on this dispute.
“My husband and I are both concerned about this advice. They also said someone can actually come and look at the property to see if it is habitable due to the humidity, but when my husband inquired about someone doing this, belediye employees just say we should have moved out sooner and then continue to play solitaire on their computers. Humidity is dangerous and I would hate for a young family to move into this house and fall ill, which is very possible. We really don’t know what the best advice is or what to do next. I’m not sure if you can help us, but if you can give me any information that could help, I would be very grateful. Regards.”
If you are concerned about the next tenants who will be moving into this place, you may try to convince the landlord to fix this problem, but any modifications will cost money.
Otherwise, considering how you do not have any proof of payment for your rent and expenses, I recommend you move out of this property as soon as possible after settling any outstanding expenses with the landlord. Berk Cektir by Todays Zaman