Ott Lepmets, attorney-at-law of our firm, explained to Delfi whether the agreement written in the tenant's and landlord's contract regarding the settlement of the repair fund would also be valid in case of disputes that may arise later. The point is that you still cannot agree on everything with the tenant of the living space.

According to the Debt Law Act, an agreement deviating to the tenant's detriment from the provisions of the law regarding the rights and obligations and responsibilities of the contracting parties in a residential rental agreement is null and void.

If the landlord stipulates in the lease agreement that the tenant is obliged to pay the lines shown in the utility bill, which the latter is not obliged to pay according to the law, and the tenant receives a cheaper monthly rent payment, the legality of such an agreement is a matter of interpretation. If this particular clause obligates a person to pay something that he is not legally required to pay, then it is deviant to the detriment of the person. The fact that the tenant is also offered a "candy" for agreeing to a condition that deviates to his detriment does not change the content.

The exact answer to a potential landlord-tenant dispute will always depend on the specific circumstances. It is also necessary to look at the contract as a whole, and in the light of this, assess whether this particular point in the contract puts the tenant in a worse position than the law does.

Read the full article in Delfi's "Expert Explains" section. Published on September 9, 2016.