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 region

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

Country/City Strongly
Pro-tenant
Pro-Tenant Neutral Pro-Landlord Strongly
Pro-landlord
Anguilla
 
Argentina, Buenos Aires
 
Armenia
 
Aruba, Bakval and Malmok et al
 
Australia, Sydney
 
Austria, Vienna
 
Bahamas
 
Bahrain, Almanamah
 
Barbados, St James
 
Belgium, Brussels
 
Belize, Ambergris Caye
 
Bermuda
 
Botswana, Gaboron
 
Brazil, Sao Paolo
 
Bulgaria, Sophia
 
Cambodia, Phnom Phen
 
Canada, Toronto
 
Cape Verde, Praia
 
Cayman Is., Grand Cayman
 
Chile, Santiago
 
China, Shanghai
 
Colombia, Bogota
 
Cook Islands
 
Costa Rica, San Jose
 
Croatia, Zagreb
 
Cyprus, Limassol
 
Czech Republic, Prague
 
Denmark, Copenhagen
 
Dominica, Roseau
 
Dom. Rep., Puerto Plata
 
Ecuador, Quito
 
Egypt, Cairo
 
El Salvador, San Salvador
 
Estonia, Tallinn
 
Ethiopia
 
Finland, Helsinki
 
France, Paris
 
Fr. Polynesia, Tahiti
 
Gambia, Banju;
 
Georgia
 
Germany, Berlin
 
Ghana, Accra
 
Greece, Athens
 
Grenada, St. George
 
Guadeloupe, Grande-Terre
 
Guam, Hagatna
 
Guatemala, Guatemala City
 
Honduras, Tegucigalpa
 
Hong Kong, Hong Kong Island
 
Hungary, Budapest
 
India, Mumbai
 
Indonesia, Jakarta
 
Iran, Tehrah
 
Ireland, Dublin
 
Italy, Rome
 
Jamaica, Kingston
 
Japan, Tokyo
 
Jordan, Amman
 
Kenya, Nairobi
 
Latvia, Riga
 
Lebanon, Beirut
 
Liechtenstein, Vaduz
 
Lithuania, Vilnius
 
Luxembourg
 
Macedonia. Skopje
 
Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
 
Malta, Valleta
 
Martinique, Fort-de-France
 
Mauritius, Port Lewis
 
Mexico, Mexico City
 
Moldova, Chisinau
 
Monaco
 
Morocco, Marrakesh
 
Namibia, Windhoek
 
Netherlands, Amsterdam
 
Neth. Antilles, Bonaire
 
New Zealand, Auckland
 
Nicaragua, Managua
 
Nigeria, Lagos
 
Norway, Oslo
 
Oman, Muskat
 
Pakistan
 
Panama, Panama City
 
Paraguay, Asuncion
 
Peru, Lima
 
Philippines, Metro Manila
 
Poland, Warsaw
 
Portugal, Lisbon
 
Puerto Rico, San Juan
 
Qatar, Doha
 
Romania, Bucharest
 
Russia, Moscow
 
Senegal, Dakar
 
Seychelles, Victoria
 
Singapore
 
Slovakia, Bratislava
 
Slovenia, Ljubljana
 
South Africa, Cape Town
 
South Korean, Seoul
 
Spain, Madrid
 
Sri lanka, Colombo
 
St. Kitts
 
St. Vincent
 
Sweden, Stockholm
 
Switzerland, Geneva
 
Syria
 
Taiwan, Taipei
 
Tanzania, Dar es Salaam
 
Thailand, Bangkok
 
Trinidad
 
Tunisia, Tunis
 
Turkey, Istanbul
 
Turks and Caicos Is., Providenciales
 
Uganda, Kampala
 
Ukraine, Kiev
 
UAE, Dubai
 
UK, London
 
US, New York
 
Uruguay, Montevideo
 
US VI, St. Croix
 
Venezuela, Caracas
 
Vietnam/HCMC
 
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.