The rental agreement is one of the most frequent contracts in law practice, almost as frequent as the sale and purchase agreement. Now in Romania we go through a period in which a lot of people from smaller towns go to look for work in bigger towns since there the wages are bigger and this movement entails a growth in rentals.
The rental agreement means that the owner of an asset - generally called lessor or owner - gives the use of that asset to a third party – generally called tenant or lesee – in exchange for an amount of money - generally called rent. In other words the owner gives the use of the asset to the tenant in exchange for the rent.
Since we are talking about assets it is very important that before concluding the rental agreement to check the ownership over the respective asset – just like in the case of the sale and purchase agreement, because the owner has the obligation to prove that the asset actually belongs to him.
Of course, following the negotiations between the parties, the term of the contract and the amount of the rent should be established.
In connection to the term of the rental agreement it should be specified that in order for the tenant to be better protected, the rental agreement should be registered in the real estate book of the asset (TABU), especially when we are talking about a longer rental term. This is a protection measure for the tenant because, in case the owner wants to sell the asset, the buyer should know that it is rented. Also, this is very important because when you buy a rented asset, you cannot cancel the rental agreement before it reaches its term, unless you agree with the tenant. This is why, especially in the case of long term rental agreements, it is indicated to register the contracts in the real estate book of the asset.
Another specific element of the rental agreement is the guarantee – the guarantee is an amount of money that the tenant gives to the owner in order for the latter to make sure that potential damages are being covered. Generally, the guarantee represents the value of one or two rents. In case, at the end of the contract, there are no damages – which is the preferable case – either the last rent is not paid and the owner keeps the guarantee or the rent is paid by the tenant and the owner returns the guarantee.
The owner of the asset has the obligation to register the rental agreement with the fiscal authorities and pay the due taxes – still, in certain cases, the tenant can do this procedure as well.
The main obligation of the owner/lessor is to hand over the asset to the tenant/lessee in good state and not to disturb the tenant in using the asset, whereas the obligation of the tenant is to behave as if he is the owner – meaning not to damage the asset and make all diligence to keep it safe – and pay the rent on time, according to the contract.
As in the case of the sale and purchase agreement, when concluding a rental agreement it is advisable to use the services of a law specialist who will make all necessary verifications on the ownership over the asset and will insert in the rental agreement all necessary legal stipulations in accordance to the specific case so that all parties should be protected in the best way possible.