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Supreme Court issues interlocutory injunction to remove tenants from property

Supreme Court issues interlocutory injunction to remove tenants from property

In its recent judgment in Zanettou and others v A X Nikola Bros Ltd and another (Civil Appeal No. E162/2021, 31 May 2022), the Supreme Court overturned the interim judgment of the first-instance court and proceeded to issue an interlocutory injunction to prohibit tenants from entering or possessing the property in question, following the lapse of a contractual obligation to deliver free possession of the property upon its sale.

This development means that owners of properties can be offered immediate relief when former tenants are rendered trespassers.

Facts

The appellants were owners of immovable property, which was rented to the first respondent and in which the first respondent was operating a restaurant business. The second respondent guaranteed the contractual obligations of the first respondent under the relevant tenancy agreement.

Pursuant to the terms of the tenancy agreement, in the event of sale of the property, the owners of the property retained the right to terminate the agreement and the tenants were required to deliver free possession of the property.

The tenants refused to vacate the property and thus the owners filed proceedings.

The District Court of Famagusta issued a judgment on 28 July 2021, refusing to provide interim relief to the owners of the property.

Decision

In its judgment, the Supreme Court reversed the first-instance judgment and further exercised its jurisdiction to provide interim relief itself by issuing a prohibitory injunction, which precluded the tenants from entering or possessing the property.

Comment

This significant legal development should overcome the persistent obstacle of delay, which owners have often faced when raising legal proceedings against tenants, as there is now a precedent to rely on. The Cyprus courts can offer immediate relief in the form of interlocutory injunctions, pending the adjudication of the proceedings in due course.

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