Eviction of unlawful occupants /Real estate

The new Romanian Civil Procedural Code (enacted in 2013) introduced for the first time a special eviction procedure. The motivation behind this was to ensure a better protection for owners who often dealt with lengthy legal proceedings when attempting to remove bad paying tenants or illegal occupants from their property. Formerly, owners only had access to a standard procedure provided by the Civil Procedure Code.

As a preliminary comment, pleas note that a claimant may still opt for the common law procedure.

The persons that have access to the special eviction procedure are not only owners, but also main lessees, sub lessees, lease assignees or a subsequent buyers. The fact that the category that benefits from the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code was extended is a welcome change. The same applies to the persons that may be acted in court as respondents. For example, the owner of a building is entitled to directly sue a sub lessee, although there are no direct contractual relations between the parties.

The main condition is that the respondent has lost its legal right to occupy the space, as in the case of an expired or terminated lease or never had an actual legal right to live there (squatting). Previously, a property owner had to file an action for the recovery of property which was more costly and lengthy than the current procedure.

Another advantage is related to the fact that the competent court to hear the claim is the local court from where the occupied property is located. The court retains competence even though the occupants may have left the premises. The illegal occupants are subpoenaed at the occupied premises, since the Civil Procedure Code considers this to be their mandatory residence, irrespective if the party in fact lives there.

The eviction procedure has a pre-court formality consisting of an official notification sent to the lessee and communicated by an enforcement officer. The lessee has thirty (30) days to leave the premises. In the case of lease agreement with a fixed period, the notification shall be done with at least thirty day prior to the expiration deadline. For leases with indeterminate periods, the Code considers that a termination notice is enough to serve as eviction notice. For other types of occupants, the owner shall notify in writing to leave the premises within five (5) days from the communication. No enforcement officer is required this time.

The Civil Procedure Code provides for a voluntary eviction, when the lessee/occupant leaves the premises after receiving the notification. The owner is entitled to take over the space without further formalities.

If the occupant does not release the property, then the owner may file an eviction claim in court. The court proceedings are considered urgent and have a swift resolve. The first instance decision is directly enforceable and the respondent is only allowed to a statement of defence and not to a counterclaim of his own.

Publishing date: 04.02.2016

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