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Threatened to Leave Home Within One Week

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Threatened to Leave Home Within One Week

Hafnarfjörður

Houses in Hafnarfjörður. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

“I’m not moving one foot before I find a new home,” says Jenný Jóakimsdóttir, a resident of Hafnarfjörður who has been told to leave her apartment within one week, by order of its new owner—a private company owned by the Central Bank of Iceland.

Jenný’s predicament has made national headlines since she wrote about it recently on her Facebook page. The building in which she lives was bought at a foreclosure auction this week by the holdings company Hilda, which is a subsidiary of the Central Bank of Iceland.

Jenný is in possession of a notarized rental contract which should give her extensive legal rights, including a whole year to vacate the apartment if requested by the owner. One of the few legal loopholes which invalidates rental contracts is when rented properties are sold by emergency auction. Jenný’s house was sold at an auction last Monday, which took place in her own living room, DV reports.

Following the auction, she received a letter telling her that the building was under new ownership and that she must move out within one week. The letter threatens her with bailiffs and forced removal if she does not comply within seven days.

Lawyers agree that this is one of the few instances when officially notarized and binding rental contracts are as good as worthless.

“My contract was not time-limited and I have rented here since January 2010. If it weren’t for this auction, I would have had the right to one year’s notice period. Three other renters in the building, who did not have notarized contracts, got the same letter as me. It wouldn’t do any harm to give one a bit of time; it’s totally hopeless trying to find a rental apartment in one week today,” Jenný says.

The head of the renters’ association told reporters that this is not a unique situation and that Hilda is a particularly hard company to deal with and regularly throws people out.

There is no word yet on the precise nature of the relationship between Hilda and the Central Bank or whether the Bank has any say on how its subsidiary carries out business.

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