Lease for an definite period. Rescission by the tenant. Deposit.
The parties entered into a lease for a definite period from 1 November 2019 to 31 January 2021. On 15 November 2020 the tenant rescinded the lease on the grounds that his normal use of the premises and domestic peace had been grossly disturbed due to repeated violations by the occupants on the lower floor. He announced that he would be returning the property on 1 December 2020. A lot of construction work had been going on in the unit below the leased premises and the tenant had repeatedly complained about this to the landlord and to the occupants. Unpleasantness had arisen between the occupants of the properties and the Property Owners’ Association (Húseigendafélagið) had, for example, sent a letter on behalf of the occupants of the building complaining to the landlord about the tenant’s conduct.
The Complaints Committee considered the rescission of the lease by the tenant to have been unlawful, as there was nothing to indicate that other persons in the building had committed any violations. It is natural that there will be noise when apartments are refurbished. The tenant did not return the property on the date that he stated in the notification of rescission: on the contrary, the landlord had to enter the property when it was clear that the tenant had left, clear it out and clean it.
Conclusion: The rescission of the lease by the tenant was unlawful. Consequently, the landlord was within his rights in retaining the deposit to cover outstanding rent for the month of December.