The owner of a shop who wishes to extend his business to the joining shop owned by him and rented to a statutory tenant may claim the tenant’s eviction due to essential lack of space in his shop. He must prove there is a genuine and objective need for the re-possession of the adjoined shop.
The requirements provided in the Rent Control Law are: (a) the shop to be situated in a rent control area, (b) the shop to have been completed prior to 31.12.1999, (c) the tenant to be statutory, (d) the landlord to have served the tenant with a written notice at least one month prior to the filing of the eviction application, (e) the landlord’s claim for re-possession to be reasonable, who is not able to secure another similar shop and with reasonable rent for his business, (f) the court to be satisfied that the issue of the eviction order is reasonable and that it will cause less inconvenience than its non-issue. Reasons such as lack of space, extension of the landlord’s business, increase of the turnover and operations of the landlord are considered to satisfy the landlord’s reasonable need for the use of the shop.
The requirements set out in the law and analysed in case-law are: (a) the existence of the landlord’s reasonable need to use the shop. The need must be subjectively genuine and objectively reasonable, but not necessarily imperative. It is up to the landlord to establish the reasonableness of his claim. (b) The landlord’s inability to find another suitable shop with reasonable rent. The legislator imposes another two relevant but independent requirements: (i) lack of similar shop which can be rented with (ii) reasonable rent. The reasonableness of the rent of the new shop is related mainly with the business the landlord intends to establish and what constitutes reasonable rent for this type of business. It was decided in case-law that a similar shop can only be the adjoined shop and therefore, the requirement which must be satisfied is the landlord’s need to extend his existing business therein. As long as the landlord needs the shop due to its location, it suffices and therefore, under the circumstances, any other similar shop cannot be found. (c) The issue of the eviction order to be considered by the court reasonable after taking into consideration all the circumstances of the parties in connection with the purposes of the law, in order to establish whether the issue of the order is objectively reasonable. Even though the issue of the order is considered reasonable, the court does not issue it if (d) the tenant satisfies the court that the inconvenience caused to him will be greater than that to the landlord.
The President of the Rent Control Court in a judgment issued on 22.9.2017 examined the aforesaid law in an application by a landlord who claimed re-possession of the adjoined shop. The court considered the issue of the eviction order reasonable since it would cause less inconvenience than its non-issue. The removal of the tenant from the demised shop would cause him less inconvenience having stated to the court his willingness to move opposite to another shop the landlord was renting. The court issued the eviction order and suspended its execution for six months, giving the tenant time to remove his merchandise to another shop and rewarded him with damages equal to the current rent of 18 months payable simultaneously with the delivery of the possession of the shop to the landlord.