Ecuador laws should be part of the information that you will research before you move into this country. It is important for you to understand the specific laws that you will adhere to once you live in a new country. Regardless of where you plan to retire or relocate, you need to be a law-abiding resident to avoid any unfortunate incident with the local government.
Foreigners typically have to understand the rental laws in their host country because most of them like the flexibility that comes with this type of living arrangement. It is important to be aware of this so that you can avoid any untoward incident with your future landlord or landlady. You want to keep yourself from violating any of the local laws and at the same time, you want to know your rights as a tenant.
4 clauses in the Ecuador rental law that you should be aware of
You should be happy to know as a renter that Ecuador laws about rental homes are tenant friendly. The law is known as “Ley De Inquilinato Ecuador” and it took effect in 2000. This law is available to the public through EcuadorLegalOnline.com. It is in Spanish so you need to have it translated. But if you intend on living in Ecuador, then some Spanish lessons are definitely in order.
To give you a brief understanding of your rental rights in Ecuador, here are the 4 important details that you have to know.
On the lease period.
Most of the rental contracts, according to Ecuador laws, are good for one year. However, the tenant has the right to request for a two year contract. During this time, the landlord or landlady is not allowed to raise the rent. So if you know that you can stay in a home for at least 2 years, then you may want to request for a two year contract from the landlord. If they agree but they still raised the rent on you in your second year, then you can file a complaint with the rental court (Juez de Inquilinato). Should the court rule against the landlord, they will be fined for violating the law.
On contract termination.
In case of an early termination, a notice is expected from the party that initiated the end of the contract. If initiated by the landlord or landlady, the tenant should be given at least 3 months notice so they have ample time to look for another home to move into. If the tenant or renter initiated it, they need to give the landlord at least one month’s notice before the date they will move out. There may be some landlords who will force tenants to pay the remaining months in the contract but the latter is not obligated to comply.
On the rental price.
The Ecuador laws on renting homes, the landlord or landlady is only allowed to charge rent based on the value and current condition of the home. The law cites a formula that determines the percentage of the rent. That means if you are renting in a great home and in an affluent neighborhood, expect to pay more in rent as opposed to the homes in more modest communities. In case the landlord wants to raise his rate further than what is allowed, they have to file a petition in a rental court. You also have to know that the current law does not permit landlords to make automatic annual raises in the rent.
On the legality of the rental contract.
It is also specified in the law that the rental contract is only valid if it is duly notarized. If the contract you signed is not, then the landlord or landlady cannot take legal action against you. But if they have a copy of a notarized rental contract, then that can be presented as a valid document in court.
Important amendments to the rental law in 2012
There had been amendments to this law and you may want to keep abreast about all of them. In 2012, the Ecuador President vetoed the Reformas a la Ley de Inquilinato and sent it over to the National Assembly for a second debate. On February 2013, the approved text of the reformed law (Law Amending the Codified Leasehold Law) was send to the President for approval, veto or disapproval.
The main amendments are as follows:
Municipalities are mandated to have a Leasehold Registration Office that will help keep record of rental contracts. The landlord has to get a registration within 30 days from the date of the rental contract. They have to present proof of a security deposit and rent certificate. Failure to comply by landlord and late registrations will be fined by up to 10% of the rental price. This office is also responsible for determining the highest rental price of a property and looking after the deposit of the tenant.
The rental price of any property should not be greater than 1/12 of 10% of its commercial appraisal. The landlord or landlady will be fined for any violation of this clause. They are also not allowed to ask the tenant to pay for any expense involving horizontal property regimes (or areas co-owned and used by other people). They are also not allowed to suspend the utilities of the tenant even if they failed to pay their rent.
Security deposits are allowed but it should not exceed the worth of two monthly rents. This amount is not to be kept by the landlord or landlady but should be deposited with the Leasehold Registration Office.
The landlord or landlady is allowed to terminate a rental contract if the tenant failed to make two complete monthly payments on the rent. This is true even if the payment is merely incomplete. Failure to pay the utilities for more than three months is also a valid ground for the termination of the rental contract.
In case of a dispute, the amendment indicates that it can be done before a leasehold judge through a verbal proceeding.
Ecuador laws change over time so you have to be aware of what is going on around you in case you start living in this country.
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