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Lawyers in Turkey warn tenants from accepting illegal raises

Updated: Aug 2, 2022

Lawyers in Turkey have been warning tenants not to fall for landlord's demands of temporary raises, even though they are entitled to the one-year increase.

The warnings came amid a rapid increase in rental prices in Turkey, due to limited supply and excessive market demand, putting tenants in a difficult position against landlords.

Some landlords have refused the previously agreed price paid by tenants and have begun to claim a new, higher rate even though they can legally raise the rent only once a year.

One example of this illegal request was observed in a closed compound in Istanbul, where the owner of a property with more than 100 apartments on-site asked all tenants for a temporary increase.

"We demand an additional 18% due to the increase in the real estate market and the fact that our rents are low compared to their peers," he said in a text message.

When tenants, who had already paid an increase during the renewal period, objected to the second increase as it is illegal, the landlord threatened to sue them in a second message.

The second message stated that the rent determination suit would be brought for tenants who had completed five years.

Hikmat Cunkur, an Istanbul-based lawyer, called on tenants not to accept such requests nor sign any additional items.

He explained that the rate of increase to be made cannot exceed the 12-month average of the CPI (Consumer Price Index), adding, "The owner cannot ask for a 30-40 percent increase."

Moreover, Ali Güvenç Kiraz, president of the Real Estate Law Association, said landlords who want to file a rent-setting lawsuit because they find the current rent low may not get what they expected.

“It must be taken into account that these cases have been going on for two or two and a half years with the appeal,” Kiraz said.

House rents increased by 80% in Istanbul and 52% in Ankara last year alone, according to data from the real estate valuation platform Endeksa.

Rents increased to a maximum of 121% in Istanbul and 76% in Ankara in some areas in these provinces.

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