CONTRACTS FOR USE
- 271. Definition of lease contract
By a lease contract, one person (the lessor) undertakes to grant the use of a thing to another person (the lessee) and the lessee undertakes to pay a fee (rent) therefor to the lessor.
- 272. Application of provisions upon lease of dwellings and business premises
(1) A dwelling is a residential building or apartment which is used for permanent habitation. Business premises are premises used in economic or professional activities.
(2) The provisions concerning the lease of immovables also apply to the lease of dwellings and business premises unless otherwise provided by law.
(3) The provisions concerning residential lease contracts and lease contracts of business premises also apply to the lease of things granted for use together with the dwelling or business premises by a lessor to a lessee.
(4) The provisions concerning residential lease contracts and lease contracts of business premises do not apply to the following:
1) lease contracts, with a term not exceeding three months, of premises of accommodation establishments and premises intended for holidays, and lease contracts entered into for the temporary use of other premises;
2) lease contracts the purpose of which is to sublease rooms for profit;
3) lease contracts the object of which is a dwelling which is part of the dwellings used by the lessor and the greater part of which is furnished by the lessor;
4) lease contracts the object of which is a dwelling which the state, a local government or other legal person in public law leases, in order to perform its functions arising from law, to persons who urgently need a dwelling or persons acquiring education, if the lessee is informed of the intended use of the room upon entry into the contract.
- 273. Nullity of agreement related to residential lease contract
An agreement which makes entry into or continuation of a residential lease contract dependent on an obligation of a lessee in respect of a lessor or third party is void unless the obligation is directly related to the use of the leased dwelling.
- 274. Effect of format of residential lease contract on term of contract
If a residential lease contract with a term exceeding one year is not entered into in writing, the contract is deemed to have been entered into for an unspecified term, but the contract shall not be cancelled such that it terminates earlier than one year after the transfer of the dwelling to the lessee.
- 275. Mandatory nature of provisions
An agreement which derogates from the provisions of law regarding the rights, obligations and liability of the parties to a residential lease contract to the detriment of the lessee is void.
Rights and Obligations of Parties
- 276. General obligations of parties
(1) A lessor is required to deliver a thing, together with its accessories, to a lessee by the agreed time and in a suitable condition for contractual use and to ensure that the thing is maintained in such condition during the validity of the contract.
(2) A lessee shall use a thing with prudence and according to the intended purpose which is the basis for the lease.
(3) The lessee of a dwelling or business premises shall take the interests of other residents and neighbours into account.
- 277. Failure to transfer leased thing on time and transfer of thing not conforming to contract
(1) If a lessor does not deliver a thing at an agreed time or transfers a thing the defects of which preclude the use of the thing for its intended purpose or restrict the use thereof to a significant extent, the lessee may withdraw from the contract.
(2) If, upon transfer of a thing, the lessee knows or ought to know that the thing does not conform to the contract but accepts the thing irrespective thereof, the lessee loses the right to withdraw from the contract and may exercise the rights provided for in § 278 of this Act only if the lessee reserves this right upon accepting the thing.
- 278. Defects in leased thing which arise during term of contract and obstacle to use of thing
If a leased thing is, during the term of a contract, affected with a defect for which the lessee is not responsible and which the lessee need not remove at the expense thereof, or if there is an obstacle to the contractual use of the thing, the lessee may:
1) demand that the lessor remove the defect or obstacle pursuant to the provisions of § 279 of this Act;
2) demand that the lessor take over a legal dispute with a third party;
3) demand compensation for the damage from the lessor;
4) reduce rent pursuant to the provisions of § 296 of this Act;
5) deposit rent pursuant to the provisions of § 298 of this Act.
- 279. Removal of defect or obstacle
(1) If a lessor knows or ought to know about a defect or obstacle specified in § 278 of this Act but does not remove it within a reasonable period of time after the lessor becomes or ought to have become aware thereof, the lessee may cancel the contract without advance notice if the defect or obstacle precludes the use of the thing for the intended purpose or restricts such use to a significant extent.
(2) A lessee does not have the right to demand the removal of a defect if the lessor substitutes the defective thing with a thing not affected by defects within a reasonable period of time.
(3) A lessee may remove a defect or obstacle and demand reimbursement of the necessary expenses incurred therefor if the lessor delays removal of the defect or obstacle or if the defect or obstacle only restricts the possibility of using the thing for the intended purpose to an insignificant extent.
(4) Agreements which derogate from the provisions of subsections (1) and (3) of this section to the detriment of the lessee are void.
- 280. Removal of minor defects
A lessee shall remove the defects of a leased thing at the expense of the lessee if these defects can be removed by light cleaning or maintenance which is in any case necessary for the ordinary preservation of the thing.
- 281. Prohibition on restriction of rights of lessee
An agreement concerning preclusion or restriction of the rights of a lessee in connection with the non-conformity of a leased thing to the contract is void if the lessor knows or ought to know, upon entry into the contract, that the thing does not conform to the contract and fails to notify the lessee thereof.
- 282. Notification obligation of lessee
(1) A lessee shall promptly notify the lessor of the following:
1) the lack of conformity of the thing to the contract unless the lessee is required to correct the instance of non-conformity;
2) danger to the thing if it is necessary to take measures in order to avert the danger;
3) the right of a third party to the thing which becomes known to the lessee.
(2) If a lessee violates an obligation specified in subsection (1) of this section, the lessee shall compensate the lessor for loss caused by violation of the obligation.
(3) If a lessor cannot remove the defect of a leased thing or an obstacle to use of the thing for the reason that the lessee has violated an obligation specified in subsection (1) of this section, the lessee shall not exercise the rights provided for in § 278 of this Act in respect of the lessor or exercise the right of extraordinary cancellation of lease contract in the case provided for in subsection 314 (1) of this Act without granting the lessor a reasonable term to re-enable use of the leased thing.
- 283. Obligation of lessee to tolerate
(1) A lessee shall tolerate work performed in respect of a thing and also other effects on the thing which are necessary in order to preserve the thing, remove defects, prevent damage or eliminate the consequences thereof. The obligation to tolerate work performed in respect of a thing and other effects on the thing does not preclude or restrict the right of a lessee to reduce rent or demand compensation for damage due to the work or other effects.
(2) A lessee shall allow the lessor to examine a thing if this is necessary to preserve the thing or to transfer or lease the thing to another person.
(3) A lessor shall notify a lessee of work performed and examination of a thing in good time and take the interests of the lessee into account upon performance of the work.
- 284. Improvements and alterations made to thing by lessor
(1) A lessor may make improvements and alterations to a thing and the lessee shall tolerate the works and other effects on the thing related to the improvements and alterations, unless the work and effects are unfairly burdensome to the lessee.
(2) At least two months before commencement of the making of improvements and alterations, the lessor shall notify the lessee in a format which can be reproduced in writing of the nature, extent, time of commencement and expected duration of the measures planned for making the improvements and alterations, and of any potential increase in the rent which may arise therefrom.
(3) A lessee may cancel a contract within 14 days as of receipt of a notice specified in subsection (2) of this section by giving at least 30 days’ notice. If a lessee cancels a contract, the making of improvements and alterations shall not commence before termination of the contract.
(4) The provisions of subsections (2) and (3) of this section do not apply if the improvements and alterations are insignificant and do not bring about an increase in the rent.
(5) Upon making improvements and alterations, the lessor shall take the interests of the lessee into account. The obligation to take the interests of the lessee into account does not preclude or restrict the right of the lessee to reduce the rent or demand compensation for damage. The lessor shall, to a reasonable extent, reimburse the expenses incurred by the lessee as a result of the improvements and alterations and, at the request of the lessee, pay such expenses to the lessee in advance.
[RT I 2002, 53, 336 – entry into force 01.07.2002]
- 285. Improvements and alterations made to thing by lessee
(1) A lessee may make improvements and alterations to a leased thing only with the lessor’s consent which is submitted in a format which can be reproduced in writing. The lessor shall not refuse to grant consent if the improvements and alterations are necessary in order to use the thing or manage the thing reasonably.
(2) If the lessor consents to improvements and alterations, the lessor may demand that the original condition be restored only if this has been agreed in a format which can be reproduced in writing.
(3) Upon expiry of a lease contract, the lessee may remove an improvement or alteration made to a thing if this is possible without damaging the thing. The lessee does not have the right to remove an improvement or alteration if the lessor pays a reasonable compensation therefor, unless the lessee has a legitimate interest in removing the improvement or alteration.
[RT I 2002, 53, 336 – entry into force 01.07.2002]
- 286. Compensating lessee for expenses
(1) If, upon expiry of a lease contract, it becomes evident that the value of the thing has increased considerably due to the improvements or alterations made with the consent of the lessor, the lessee may demand reasonable compensation therefor.
(2) A lessee may demand that the lessor compensate for expenses other than those specified in subsection (1) of this section pursuant to the provisions regarding negotiorum gestio.
[RT I 2003, 78, 523 – entry into force 27.12.2003]
- 287. Prohibition on agreement on contractual penalty upon lease of dwellings
Any agreement which requires the lessee of a dwelling to pay a contractual penalty upon violation of a contract is void.
- 288. Sublease of thing
(1) A lessee may, with the consent of the lessor, transfer the use of a thing fully or partially to a third party (sublease), particularly to sublet the thing.
(2) A lessor may refuse to grant consent for the sublease of a thing only if the lessor has good reason therefor, particularly if:
1) the lessee does not disclose the conditions for the sublease to the lessor;
2) the sublease would cause significant loss to the lessor;
3) the sublease would be unreasonably burdensome on the leased premises;
4) the lessor has good reason therefor arising from the identity of the sublessee.
(3) If a lessor refuses to grant consent for the sublease of a thing without good reason, the lessee may cancel the contract taking into account the terms provided for in § 312 of this Act.
(4) If the sublease of a thing may be expected only in conjunction with a reasonable increase in the rent, the consent may be made subject to the condition that the lessee agrees to the increase in the rent.
(5) If a lessee transfers the use of a thing to a sublessee, the lessee shall be equally responsible for the activities of the sublessee and for the activities of the lessee.
(6) A sublessee shall not use a thing after expiry of the lease contract or in any other manner than that permitted to the lessee. The lessor may demand this directly from the sublessee.
- 289. Accommodation of family members of lessee of dwelling
The lessee of a dwelling has the right to accommodate in the leased dwelling his or her spouse, minor children and parents who are incapacitated for work without the consent of the lessor unless it is agreed in the lease contract that the lessee may do so only with the consent of the lessor.
- 290. Transfer of lease contract
(1) A lessee may transfer the rights and obligations arising from a lease contract to a third party with the lessor’s consent in a format which can be reproduced in writing.
(2) Upon transfer of the rights and obligations arising from a lease contract, the initial lessee and the person to whom the rights and obligations of the lessee are transferred shall be jointly and severally liable for performance of the obligations to the lessor which arise from the contract. The liability of the initial lessee expires as of the time when the lessor could cancel the lease contract for the first time or as of the time when the lease contract is terminated, but not later than two years after the transfer of the rights and obligations.
[RT I 2002, 53, 336 – entry into force 01.07.2002]
- 291. Transfer of lease contract upon change of ownership of leased immovable
(1) If a lessor transfers an immovable after transfer of the immovable into the possession of a lessee, or if the owner of a leased thing changes after transfer of the thing into the possession of the lessee in the event of the transfer of the thing upon compulsory execution or in bankruptcy proceedings, the rights and obligations of the lessor arising from the lease contract are transferred to the acquirer of the thing.
(2) Upon constitution of a right of superficies or establishment of a usufruct on a leased thing after transfer of the thing into the possession of the lessee, the rights and obligations arising from the lease contract are transferred from the owner of the thing to the person with the limited real right.
(3) Upon establishment of a real servitude or personal right of use on a thing and if the exercise of the servitude restricts the rights of the lessee arising from the lease contract, the rights and obligations of the lessor are transferred to the person who is entitled according to the real servitude or personal right of use.
(4) If the new lessor violates an obligation arising from the lease contract, the previous lessor shall be liable as a surety for three years as of the transfer of the rights and obligations of the lessor for damage caused to the lessee due to violation of the obligation.