Bjarg’s lease agreement, key points
Here you can see an overview of the main issues in the lease agreement of Bjarg Housing Foundation.
Bjarg encourages prospective tenants to read the lease agreement carefully. This is not an exhaustive list.
Contract period and termination: The notice period for both the landlord and the tenant is six months for the first twelve months of the lease period. After a twelve-month lease period, the notice period for the landlord is twelve months and 6 months for the tenant. Upon termination, the tenant can request to vacate earlier, and the apartment is then advertised according to his wishes. The tenant is nevertheless responsible for the rental during the notice period if the apartment has not been rented. Termination takes place on "my pages."
Rent and insurance: The rental cost changes monthly according to the consumer price index. The insurance is equivalent to a 3-month rent and may therefore need to be revised later during the lease term. In addition to the rent, the tenant is to pay electricity, heating, and housing association fees for the rented property. Costs that are shared with other tenants are to be collected through the resident’s association. Violation of the resident’s association rules or failure to settle any fees due to the association is equivalent to a breach of the lease agreement and may result in its termination. Remittance slips are not sent unless specifically requested. Rent is to be paid in advance and the due date of payment is on the 1st of every month. The tenant should become acquainted with the billing process in case of running into arrears. According to the law, the rental cost at Bjarg must always be according to the operating expenses of the apartment. An increase or decrease in rent can therefore occur at short notice. Rental cost also rises if the income of the tenant (including the income of the spouse or cohabitant) has risen above the maximum standard, the calculation of which is based on the average income of the last three years. Should the rent increase due to a rise in the tenant’s salary, it may never exceed 25% of the tenant's income. An increase or decrease in rental prices is announced on “my pages.”
The monthly rent at Bjarg is indexed. That means the base rent changes monthly proportionally to changes in general prices in Iceland. To measure the change in prices, the consumer price index is used. It is an index to measure the general price level in the economy. It is published by Statistics Iceland. The index measures price changes of a specific basket of goods and services which is the base of the index. Prices of an extensive sample of goods and services are collected for a week during the middle of each month for measuring price changes. The basket reflects the average household spending, e.g. on food, services, petrol, and housing. The increase in price is referred to as inflation. This means the rent increases with inflation in nominal terms.
Delivery, return, appraisals, and comment deadline: The apartment is to be leased to the tenant in good condition, with walls and ceilings freshly painted and windows securely intact. At the end of the rental period, the tenant must return the apartment in the same condition, that is, freshly painted in the original color and thoroughly cleaned. Painting should be done by a professional painter if the tenant does not have the ability to paint to the standard of a professional painter. The tenant is free to hang up photos, paint in a different color and put up curtains to create a homely environment, but all this needs to be restored to the default condition by the end of the rental period. The tenant may, however, without special consent, add cabinets. The tenant may choose to remove such additions at the end of the rental period and restore the premises to its original condition or approach the landlord as to whether these additions can be left at the end of the lease. If the landlord agrees, the additions will be the landlord's property and the tenant is not entitled to any exclusive payment for them.
The tenant is responsible for the replacement of light bulbs, refilling and inspection of fire extinguishers, replacement of batteries in smoke detectors, cleaning of drains in floors, sinks and balconies, renewal of toilet seats and showerheads/tubes and filters. The tenant is obliged to check the smoke detector regularly, or at least every 12 months, and to inform the landlord without delay if the sensor needs to be replaced. Damage to cabinets and flooring that is not due to normal wear and tear, that is, broken doors, broken links, or torn/damaged flooring is to be paid by the tenant. The tenant must ensure that furniture does not damage the floors.
An appraisal is carried out upon delivery and return of the apartment and is signed by both parties. The appraisals are used as a basis if there is a dispute about the apartment's condition upon return. If one party does not agree with the appraisal, he/she may, request an audit from an independent auditor, and will the cost of the audit then be divided equally between the two parties.
The tenant has a deadline of 14 days to comment on the apartment, over and above those stated in the delivery assessment. Such comments are to be sent through "my pages."
Pets are not allowed in Bjarg’s houses except in rare cases, that is, in specified apartments. Strict rules apply to pets in Bjarg’s houses.
If everything is fine with the apartment and no comments are made, then there is no cost for the tenant. However, if something needs to be fixed, e.g. painting is required or the apartment needs to be cleaned better, the total cost may be significant and varies depending on the condition, but according to the law, the tenant is fully responsible for any deterioration of the apartment. If the deterioration of the premises exceeds what is considered normal and the leased property will not be suitable for rent, the tenant is obligated to pay rent for the time that it takes to bring the premises back to a suitable and rentable condition.
If the tenant wishes, he can get an offer from a professional painter or cleaner when he moves. This can be assessed in the appraisal.
Subletting an apartment is not permitted according to the lease agreement, however, certain circumstances may create an exception to that rule, see the rules on temporary subletting an apartment.