Frequently asked questions

With a lease for a definite period, you don’t have to give notice of termination: the lease runs from the starting date and ends on the final date. When a lease is for an indefinite period, there is a starting date, but non final date is decided, so notice of termination must be given.

See further here

A lease for a definite period will end on a predetermined date. It is therefore not necessary to give notice of termination. It is possible to give notice in certain circumstances, however: for more about this, see here

Six months’ notice must be given when terminating a lease for an indefinite period. This applies to both parties (landlord and tenant).

Three months’ notice must be given when terminating a lease for an indefinite period in the case of single rooms. This applies to both parties (landlord and tenant).

One month’s notice must be given when terminating a lease for an indefinite period in the case of storage sheds and similar premises. This applies to both parties (landlord and tenant).

Send a complaint, in writing, to your landlord. Under the Rent Act, tenants are to contact their landlords if other occupants of the building cause a disturbance or violate the provisions of the Multi-Owner Dwellings Act. This is the natural course of action, since it is the owner/landlord and not the tenant who is a member of the residents’ association in the building and it is therefore easier for the landlord to voice a complaint and press for steps to be taken to end the violation. If the landlord fails to act, this may entitle the tenant to rescind the lease.

On rescission of leases, see here  It is important to bear in mind, however, that rescission is the most drastic measure that can be taken under the Rent Act, and it is vital to observe the proper procedure if it is applied. Tenants are therefore recommended to contact the Renters’ Help Line.

If your landlord demands a deposit, then you must comply with this. Landlords may choose between various types of deposit, but you are free to refuse to put down a monetary deposit if you can offer another type of deposit that your landlord will accept.

Landlords are free to sell premises without the approval of their tenants. However, the new owner will take over the lease, with all the rights and obligations towards you as a tenant. Generally, therefore, there will be no change in your position if the property is sold, but a different situation may arise if the property is sold following bankruptcy of the landlord or in a sale in execution (ordered by a court).

According to law, premises are supposed to be inspected before being handed over to the tenant, and again when they are returned at the end of the rental period. Inspection reports are to contain a detailed description of the premises, their condition and the appurtenances (fixtures) they include, such as stoves, furniture, etc.

The purpose of an inspection is to demonstrate the condition that the premises are in when they are let out and returned. A landlord who claims that the tenant has damaged the premises can demonstrate this by reference to an inspection report. In the same way, an inspection report can show whether damage that the tenant is accused of having caused had already occurred before the beginning of the rental period.

No definition of assessors is given in the Rent Act, and consequently, anyone that the landlord and tenant agree on can be an assessor. If, as a tenant, you need to call in an assessor according to instructions in the Rent Act, it is recommended that you choose someone who is a specialist in the field where the inspection is to be made. For example, if a radiator in the heating system does not heat up, you would call in a qualified plumber.  

NB that the party who requests an inspection is to pay the cost of it, except in the case of the inspections at the beginning and end of the rental period, for which the cost is to be divided equally between landlord and tenant.

The landlord himself cannot effect the eviction of the tenant, even though notice of rescission of the lease has demonstrably been sent to the tenant and the tenant has not vacated the premises. A landlord who intends, personally, to evict the tenant could be guilty of illegal entry of the tenant’s home under Article 231 of the General Penal Code.

If a landlord decides to resort to eviction, he must submit a request for an eviction order to a district court. When the court has approved such a request, it is sent to the district commissioner, who authorises the eviction. Only then is the landlord able to carry out the eviction, under the supervision of the district commissioner.

No, generally not. The landlord has 4 weeks in which to present a written claim against the deposit.

See further on this here

If there is a provision in the lease stating that the rent is to be raised during the lease period, e.g. due to linking with the consumer price index, then the rent may be raised by that amount. If, on the other hand, there is nothing in the lease about rent increases, then the tenant must approve any increase for it to come into effect during the rent period. If the tenant refuses to accept an increase in the rent, then the landlord must give notice of termination and then make a new lease when the old one expires, with a higher rent figure stated in it.

In this connection it is worth pointing out the tenant’s priority right to rent the property again; see here  

Termination is the mechanism by which landlord and tenant are required to give a period of notice for ending the lease; this is set out in the Rent Act. The notice period varies according to whether an apartment, a single room or a storeroom is rented. Under the Rent Act, the notice period for termination of a rented apartment is 6 months.

Rescission, on the other hand, is a unilateral action taken either by the landlord or the tenant. For rescission to be considered lawful, it is necessary to comply with the provisions of the Rent Act. In the event of rescission, no notice period is given and the tenant has to vacate the premises in a very short time. Alternatively, if it is the tenant who rescinds the lease, he or she is able to leave the premises at very short notice.

Rescission is the most drastic measure provided for under the Rent Act and it is vital that the correct procedure be observed. Consequently, both tenants and landlords are urged to contact the Renters’ Help Line for guidance and advice before resorting to rescission.

All repair and maintenance work by the landlord should be carried out as quickly as possible. The landlord is under an obligation to have it carried out in a way that results in minimum disturbance and inconvenience for the tenant. If repair and maintenance work carried out at the landlord’s instigation results in substantially reduced use by the tenant, then the tenant is entitled to a proportional reduction of the rent to take account of the reduced possibility of use. If the parties fail to agree on a reduction of the rent, they may seek the opinion of an assessor, who will then determine a suitable discount. The assessor’s opinion will then be valid, but if either party disagrees with it, he or she may refer it to the Housing Complaints Committee.

No, a tenant may not stop paying rent if, for example, the landlord does not carry out maintenance. If the tenant stops paying rent, the landlord will be entitled to revoke the lease after calling upon the tenant to pay the rent. 

The tenant must comply with the provisions of the Rent Act that cover requests for remedial actions. See here

No, the landlord does not have access to the rented premises at any time at all. Landlords have the right of access to rented premises with suitable notice and in consultation with the tenant, in order to carry out remedial work or to inspect the condition of the premises and how they are being treated.

If, as a tenant, you have made a written demand to have remedial action taken and the landlord fails to attend to this within four weeks, you have the right to take remedial measures yourself and to deduct the resultant cost from the rent. However, you must first obtain the approval of an assessor.

If the landlord has not put defects to rights within eight weeks of being asked to do so, in writing, by the tenant, and you, as a tenant, have not exercised your right to have the defects put to rights yourself, then you may rescind the lease, providing that the defects are of a serious nature.

Under the Rent Act, tenants are supposed to carry out maintenance of various small items, such as locks, taps and electrical sockets. It is possible, however, to enter into an agreement by which you, as the tenant, are to undertake maintenance of more things, but it must then be stated clearly in the lease what you are expected to do. If the premises are then damaged by your actions, those of members of your household or your visits, it will be up to you to see to repairs.

Premises are supposed to be in a satisfactory condition when they are made over to you: clean, with unbroken window-panes, the locks and electrical sockets in working order, kitchen equipment and plumbing in good order, etc. If rented premises become unfit for human habitation for some reason before they are made over to the tenant, then the lease will become invalid – i.e., because the property is not fit for habitation right at the beginning, the parties are released from their commitments under the lease. If the tenant is not happy with the condition of the premises at the time they are made over, he or she then has one month in which to send the landlord a complaint, in writing, saying what remedial measures are demanded. If defects were not apparent at the time of making the premises over to the tenant, but become evident later, the tenant has fourteen days from the time of becoming aware of them in which to complain about them.

The general rule is that only one individual, i.e. either spouse or member of a cohabiting couple, is registered as being a party to the lease. In the case of married couples, however, both spouses are generally responsible for the lease under the Marriage Act. If a tenant dies during the lease period, his or her surviving spouse (this will also apply to cohabiting partners, providing certain conditions are met) will generally be permitted to take over the lease. The same applies when a tenant moves out of the premises but his or her spouse remains there. In the event of separation or divorce, the provisions of the Marriage Act apply; where spouses fail to agree, the district commissioner shall resolve the question of which of them is to retain the lease.

Under the Rent Act, complaints are to be made in writing. A complaint sent by e-mail meets this requirement.

No, paying rent “under the table” has no effect on a tenant’s legal position. All the provisions of the Rent Act still apply regarding your lease. 

If there is no written lease, then the parties are regarded as having made a lease for an indefinite period and all the provisions of the Rent Act apply to the legal relationship between them. 

Leigjendaaðstoðin notar vafrakökur til að bæta upplifun og greina umferð um vefinn.

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