Fatima Alsayed – Associate ([email protected])
It is of great importance for legislators to enact specific regulations requiring both landlords and tenants to comply to ensure the protection of both parties. This article introduces the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants under the regulations of Bahrain Law No. 27/2014 on the Issuance of the Real Estate Rent Law (the “Rent Law”).
Following the Execution of the Lease Agreement
After the execution of a lease agreement, a landlord shall handover the leased property and all its attachments to the tenant in a state that is intended to benefit with what is agreed upon or nature of the property, as provided under Article 8 of the Rent Law.However, if the leased property at the time of the handover was not fit to fulfil such benefit, the tenant, after informing the landlord by way of a registered letter to correct or repair the damage, may request the High Civil Court to reduce the rent equivalent to the lack of benefit or terminate the contract with compensation if required.
A landlord shall perform all necessary works of maintenance for the leased property. If he refuses to do so or delays the work, after being notified by the tenant via registered mail, the tenant himself may at their own expense perform the necessary maintenance and deduct the costs from their rent. This circumstance is an exemption, and pursuant to Article 23 of the Rent Law, tenants are obliged to keep paying the rent agreed in accordance with the lease agreement even when a dispute arises with the landlord regarding the rent price or any deduction or reduction of such.
According to Article 11 of the Rent Law, the tenant may request termination of the lease, forfeiture of rent for the concerned period or compensation, if necessary, if such maintenance results in a breach that prevents him from using the leased property. If the leased property remains vacant for a period not less than one month from the date of notification without the landlord resorting to the High Civil Court, the tenant’s right shall be waived in all situations.
The landlord shall be bound to hand over the leased property upon concluding the agreement unless it states another time for delivery, and the landlord shall pay the delivery expenses unless the agreement or custom otherwise requires. He may also charge an advance cash payment not exceeding three months of the property leased for accommodation and other purposes.
The landlord may also increase the number of units in the leased property, either by adding or uplifting, provided that he obtains a license from the competent authority. If the landlord fails to carry out the work, the tenant will have the right to return to the property or claim for compensation equivalent to the damage inflicted upon him, provided it does not exceed one year’s rent.
A landlord shall refrain from any act that prevents the tenant from benefiting one of his rights or privilege as indicated in the lease agreement or in accordance with the leased property. The tenant may, after his notification by a registered letter, request the High Civil Court to authorize him to return the right or advantage to its previous state at the expense of the landlord, by reducing the rent. If the landlord’s obligations become a burdensome to the proceeds of the property lease, the court may divide the cost or return between both parties, as provided under Article 20 of the Rent Law.
Furthermore, the landlord shall not be permitted to conclude more than one agreement for the same leased property and in the case of having more than on tenant available, the first person shall be preferred, as a bona fide, to obtain the property.
When a lease agreement has not explicitly mentioned otherwise, the landlord may periodically increase the rent of a property. Article 27(a) of the Rent Law has limited such increase to:
- 5% on properties being leased for habitational purposes, and
- 7% on properties being leased for commercial/industrial purposes.
Rents can only be increased:
- every two years, and
- for a maximum of five times during the tenancy period
The tenant is obliged to pay the rent indicated in the lease agreement to the landlord within a period not exceeding one week from its due date. If the landlord refuses to receive the rent, the tenant shall offer the rent to the landlord by a registered letter within a week.
The tenant shall use the leased property in accordance with what has been agreed upon and subject to the prevailing custom in such region. He/she shall take reasonable care to maintain the leased property and may not carry on any alterations without written approval from the landlord unless doing so would cause damage. If he made any plantation or improvements in the leased property, he shall be obliged to leave them at the expiration date of the leased agreement unless otherwise agreed upon.
Pursuant to Article 26 of the Rent Law, the tenant is bound to carry on the leased maintenance on the leased property along with paying the water, electricity, telephone and joint services fees together with any other fees unless otherwise agreed upon.
A tenant shall immediately return the leased property to its original state at the expiry date of the leased agreement. If his handing over was not completed as agreed upon, he shall pay all the obligations provided for under Article 26, as described above.
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