Investing in residential property in a foreign country can run into disaster if you don't consider the system of landlord and tenant law and practice.

The Global Property Guide's landlord and tenant rating system

We use a five-point rating system to evaluate a country:

  • Strongly Pro-tenant
  • Pro-Tenant
  • Neutral
  • Pro-Landlord
  • Strongly Pro-landlord

The resulting rating is the Global Property Guide's view, and not necessarily that of the contributing law firm (in cases where we have asked law firms for contributions and input).

Landlord and tenant law: a regional comparison

Filter table by continent

* Click countries for in-depth coverage. Sort data by country name.

Country Strongly
Pro-tenant
Pro-Tenant Neutral Pro-Landlord Strongly
Pro-landlord
Anguilla
 
Argentina
 
Armenia
 
Aruba
 
Australia
 
Austria
 
Bahamas
 
Bahrain
 
Barbados
 
Belgium
 
Belize
 
Bermuda
 
Botswana
 
Brazil
 
Bulgaria
 
Cambodia
 
Canada
 
Cape Verde
 
Cayman Is.
 
Chile
 
China
 
Colombia
 
Cook Is.
 
Costa Rica
 
Croatia
 
Cyprus
 
Czech Rep.
 
Denmark
 
Dominica
 
Dom. Rep.
 
Ecuador
 
Egypt
 
El Salvador
 
Estonia
 
Ethiopia
 
Finland
 
France
 
Fr. Polynesia
 
Gambia
 
Georgia
 
Germany
 
Ghana
 
Greece
 
Grenada
 
Guadeloupe
 
Guam
 
Guatemala
 
Honduras
 
Hong Kong
 
Hungary
 
India
 
Indonesia
 
Iran
 
Ireland
 
Italy
 
Jamaica
 
Japan
 
Jordan
 
Kenya
 
Latvia
 
Lebanon
 
Liechtenstein
 
Lithuania
 
Luxembourg
 
Macedonia
 
Malaysia
 
Malta
 
Martinique
 
Mauritius
 
Mexico
 
Moldova
 
Monaco
 
Morocco
 
Namibia
 
Netherlands
 
Neth. Antilles
 
New Zealand
 
Nicaragua
 
Nigeria
 
Norway
 
Oman
 
Pakistan
 
Panama
 
Paraguay
 
Peru
 
Philippines
 
Poland
 
Portugal
 
Puerto Rico
 
Qatar
 
Romania
 
Russia
 
Senegal
 
Seychelles
 
Singapore
 
Slovak Rep.
 
Slovenia
 
South Africa
 
South Korea
 
Spain
 
Sri Lanka
 
St Kitts and Nevis
 
St Vincent & G
 
Sweden
 
Switzerland
 
Syria
 
Taiwan
 
Tanzania
 
Thailand
 
Trinidad & T.
 
Tunisia
 
Turkey
 
Turks & C. Is.
 
Uganda
 
Ukraine
 
UAE
 
UK
 
USA
 
Uruguay
 
US Virgin Is.
 
Venezuela
 
Vietnam
 
Zambia
 

LANDLORD AND TENANT Q & A


What is the Global Property Guide's standard for neutrality?

'Neutral' means that (in fact) that the laws are slightly asymmetric. Modern consensus opinion believes it to be 'normal' for the person who lives in a dwelling to get some security of tenure. That's what we call 'neutral' – when the law is slightly bent towards the tenant.

Can you give an example of what you define as neutral?

A situation where the tenant can leave at three months' notice, but the landlord must wait to the end of the contract, is considered neutral between landlord and tenant, assuming

  • there is freedom to negotiate rent levels; and
  • there is no right for the tenant to stay at the end of the contract.

What do you define as pro-tenant?

When the tenant gets a right to remain after the end of the contract against the landlord's wishes

What do you define as strongly pro-tenant?

When the tenant gets a permanent tenure with the rent strongly regulated to favour the tenant

Are there any other factors that you consider?

Yes. Factors unrelated to the letter of the law (slow courts, armed landlords, bribery and dilatory tactics) may mean taht a pro-landlord law can work, in practice, in favour of the tenant (or vice versa). Our rating reflect this.

How we judge landlord and tenant relationships?

We look at the following factors to arrive at a judgment about the overall relationship:

Rents

  • Can rents be set freely by agreement between landlord and tenant?
  • Can subsequent rent adjustments be freely negotiated?
  • Can the rent be indexed to the cost-of-living or some other index? If so, what mechanism can be written into the contract?
  • If there is rent control, what are the provisions? What are the criteria used to determine rents?

Deposits

  • Is the landlord allowed to collect security deposits? How about rental deposits (advance payment)?
  • Are there legal limits on the amount of deposits that can be collected? How much?
  • Should the landlord keep the deposit in an interest bearing account?
  • If there are no legal limits, what is the usual practice?

Duration of contract/Eviction

  • Are contracts required to be for any specified periods?
  • Is notice necessary for eviction at the end of a contract?
  • Is there a very big and basic different between time-delimited contracts and contracts for an indefinite period?
  • Can either landlord or tenant terminate before the end of a contract period?
  • What are the penalties for early termination of contracts?
  • What is the procedure for tenant eviction?

The effectiveness of the legal system

  • Does the court system work?
  • Is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) available for landlord-tenant disputes?
  • How long does it take to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent (assuming that the landlord is absolutely right)?

Legislation

  • What laws cover Landlord and Tenant issues?

Sources:

In most cases, our sources are leading law firms, who we have been asked to contribute articles for the Global Property Guide. In some cases, however, we have relied on our own précis of the reviews of European landlord and tenant laws published by the European University Institute of Florence.