The right to housing is a fundamental right and as such is enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Cape Verde, which provides that all citizens have the right to adequate housing.
The housing deficit is undoubtedly one of the biggest problems facing Cape Verdean society in the face of its demographic growth.
To get an idea, according to a study published in December 2019, on the profile of the housing sector in Cape Verde, it was predicted that by the year 2030, more than 26 thousand new homes will be needed in cities with an annual average between 1,700 to 2,000 units.
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons that cannot be analyzed now, the majority of the Cape Verdean population is unable to obtain their own housing. It is in this contest that the figure of urban leasing, for housing purposes, comes in, as a crucial way to overcome this incapacity on the part of the population to obtain their own housing and, to a certain extent, to enforce the fundamental constitutional right of adequate housing.
Housing is the key element for a better country, with greater security and greater economic development and, therefore, leasing plays an important role in the economic, social and environmental aspects of the country, mainly due to the phenomenon of strong migration between the islands of young people and adults looking to complete their university studies or because of the need for work and better conditions of employability that other islands offer.
Urban leasing in Cape Verde is regulated by Law No. 101 / VIII / 2016 of 6 January (General Regime for Urban Leasing – RGAU), and also by the provisions of the Civil Code.
As stipulated in article 1 of the RGAU, urban lease is the contract by which one of the parties (landlord) grants the other (tenant) temporary enjoyment of an urban building, in whole or in part, through retribution.
This retribution consists of the rent that is owed by the tenant to the landlord as consideration for the enjoyment of the leased.
In this article we propose to present a service that has not been much explored in relation to the urban lease regime, which relates to the forms of termination of the lease contract operated by the landlord.
What are the forms of termination of the lease?
The urban lease agreement may terminate by agreement between the parties, resolution, forfeiture, termination, and other causes provided for by law.
It is almost consensual that our RGAU is more protectionist for the tenant than the landlord, however, taking into account that urban leasing constitutes a strong component of the housing real estate market, it appears necessary to ensure the landlord a clear and secure regime to resort to this area of legal business.
As regards the termination of the contract, that is, termination of the contract for just cause, the landlord can avail himself of this prerogative when:
- The tenant does not proceed with the payment of the rent for a period exceeding 2 (two) months;
- The tenant uses or consents to others using the leased building for a purpose other than that for which it is intended;
- The tenant uses the building for illicit, immoral and dishonest practices;
- The tenant carries out works that alter the external structure or the internal provisions of the divisions without the landlord’s consent or perform acts that cause considerable deterioration in it;
- The tenant provides accommodation to more than three people, when this is not the end of the lease, provided that these people are not considered to be living in the economy common to the renter;
- The tenant, without the landlord’s consent, sublet or lend the leased, even if it is partially, or cede its contractual position; if there is consent for the sublease, the lessee cannot charge rents higher than what is due by his contract, increased by twenty percent;
- The tenant keeps the building uninhabited for more than one year, or the building is intended for housing, does not have permanent residence there except in cases considered exceptional;
In the case of an urban lease for commercial purposes, the landlord may also terminate the lease if the tenant remains closed for more than one year consecutively, provided that the closure is not due to force majeure or forced absence.
If there are no grounds for terminating the contract for just cause, the landlord may denounce it, provided that he needs the building for his dwelling or to build his residence or even when he proposes to carry out works to expand the building…
If there are no reasons to proceed with the termination or termination of the contract, the law also gives the landlord the possibility of preventing its renewal by opposing the renewal by proceeding with written notice to the tenant or with judicial notice at least six months in advance of the expiry of the contract or its renewal.
Finally, the lease agreement expires after the term stipulated in the contract or established by law.
In any of the options for terminating the lease agreement that we have just listed, it is essential, for its effectiveness, the tenant’s questioning within the period legally provided for this purpose, otherwise the tenant may prevent the building from being vacated.
When the legal deadlines for communicating the termination of the lease have been met and the tenant illegally obstructs the vacancy of the property, the landlord must bring the respective eviction request asking for the delivery of the property.
The eviction action has an urgent character and it can also be applied for arrears.