Landlord's legal rights - what you need to know


Bulgaria provides landlords with a number of rights and protections under its legislation.

Landlord's legal rights - what you need to know

Bulgaria, as a popular destination for real estate investment, provides landlords with a number of rights and protections under its legislation. It is important for those who own or rent property in this country to be aware of the rights they are entitled to. This article focuses on the key rights of landlords in Bulgaria and provides an overview of what options and protections they have when renting out their properties.


Legal rights of a landlord - what you need to know
One of the basic pillars for every landlord is to collect the monthly rent according to the contractual relationship. Most often, rent is due each month, often in advance by a certain date in the current month. You can have your contract notarized for a higher level of security. By doing so, you can ensure that the terms of the contract are followed and that the rent and utility bills (electricity, water, heating, etc.) are paid on time. According to the Law on Obligations and Contracts (LOC), both parties have the right to freely define the provisions in the contract. However, the condition is that the texts do not conflict with normative acts and good morals. The notarial agreement gives you the right, in the event that your tenant does not comply with the terms and does not rightfully pay the costs, to obtain a writ of execution and a writ of execution from the district court in the location of the property. Once you receive the writ of execution, you may contact the bailiff who will take enforcement action to collect the debt.
It is important to know that upon receipt of the monthly rent from your tenant, you must provide a receipt as the recipient of a certain amount of money. This document contains information about the date, the exact amount, and the reason for receiving the amount, in this case the rent paid. You must remember that all the information must be confirmed by a signature. If you refuse to provide the tenant with such a document, he or she may have the right to refuse to pay the rent. Conversely, the tenant is entitled to a receipt for the rent, which must contain the same information as the receipt. A receipt is a necessity for any landlord, regardless of the type of property being rented - apartment, land, shop, etc. The tenant must receive the receipt after paying the monthly rent. It should be noted that if you do not comply with the legal orders, you risk being fined by the National Revenue Agency (NRA). Its amount is defined in the Personal Income Tax Act (PITA).
Right to require proper maintenance of the property
As a landlord, you have the right to require proper maintenance of your property. If the tenant fails to maintain the condition of the home as it was handed over to them, you as the owner are entitled to compensation for the costs incurred in bringing the home back to its original appearance. To ensure that you receive responsible and conscientious treatment of your property, you can request that a security deposit is left with you when you sign the tenancy agreement. It is common practice to base the amount of the deposit on the value of one or two months' rent. However, the value depends on the terms you have agreed. However, you should be aware that as a landlord you are obliged to keep the deposit for the duration of the agreement and to keep it with you at all times in the event of early termination. The security deposit can be deducted by the landlord just in case there is damage to the inventory of the house, there are unpaid bills or there is an omission of coverage for any of the rent. It's good to know that a security deposit can also be accepted as an alternative option, allowing you to find a quick solution in case of disputes between the two parties. This way, in some cases, you can save yourself the complicated and unpleasant moments that will require litigation to receive the amounts owed. By requiring a security deposit, you will largely protect your desire to keep the property in good overall condition and ensure reliable and prudent behaviour of your tenants.
Right to terminate the contract
If your tenant fails to comply with the agreed lease clauses as per the lease agreement, you have every right to terminate the contractual relationship with him early. In case you are at a disadvantage and want to terminate the contract, you should know that there are clearly defined rules that you must follow for this purpose. This is the requirement of a written notice that sets out a specific time period in which the debts are to be paid. In addition, it is imperative to explicitly state that after this period, the contract will be cancelled. In order to be able to easily verify that the tenant has received the notice as a matter of practice, a letter of acknowledgement or a notarial notice is most often used. Thus, if the tenant does not undertake to pay the amount due within the time limit specified in the notice, the contract is automatically terminated. It is especially important to know how you can vacate your property if the tenant refuses to voluntarily vacate the leased property after the termination of the contract. Bear in mind that you do not have the right to evict your tenant on the street, as under legal standards such behaviour is considered to be self-dealing and is sanctioned. In order to find a way out of the situation, you must take legal action in court to evict the property. In the same case, you could also claim compensation for the use of the property after the termination of the tenancy according to the contract, as well as for unpaid rent.

But the landlord also has obligations

Coverage of major repairs
Since the agreement concluded between the two parties does not stipulate any other condition regarding the carrying out of major repairs and the payment of their costs, in the vast majority of cases the obligation to do so is entrusted to the landlord. These are repairs related to the construction of the building - roof repairs, replacement of water and/or sewer lines, but which are not necessary due to problems and circumstances caused by the tenant.
Payment of the local tax
It is important to know that owners of taxable properties are taxable persons. The property tax is levied on both buildings and land(s) within the building
boundaries of the respective residence. This is the time to remember that whether you own, use or do not use the property you own, it is your property and you are liable to pay local tax on it.
Declaring the agreement and paying the tax
The landlord's obligations include declaring the lease agreement entered into with the NRA in their annual tax return, which they must complete as an individual or a corporation (if the property is owned by a corporation). Please note that failure to file a tax return is punishable by a fine or penalty. The amount of the fine is BGN 500 or BGN 1,000 (in case of repeated violations). In addition, if you file a tax return in which you have understated the actual rental price or have not provided information about the existence of such a contract at all, you are also liable and face a penalty. The amount of the penalty is up to BGN 1 000 and up to BGN 2 000 in case of repeated infringements. As a landlord and a homeowner, it is a good idea to be aware of and comply with the laws that directly affect you and the specifics . It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the law on contractual relations and the law on tenancy relations. Keep up to date with the introduction of changes and amendments to the laws and keep an eye on institutional websites to be informed of all deadlines and essential details.