Karlis Udris was awarded an LL.M degree in Law and Finance with merit from Riga Graduate School of Law in 2020. Previously he had obtained a BSc degree in Economics from Tilburg University in 2012. He is currently working as a real estate developer and is a co-founder and CEO of an AgTech start-up.
This publication is based on a distinction-awarded Master’s thesis.
Residential tenancy has a potential to become a viable substitute for home-ownership for many people. However, in light of the high share of home-ownership existing in the Baltic states, it is often viewed as an inferior and a last-resort type of tenure. The roots for it grow in the historical development of the Baltic states. During the half-a-century long Soviet occupation there existed very limited rights to own private property. Soon after regaining independence, a wide scale restitution and privatization was implemented. However, not everyone was entitled to take part in the process. The restitution created a class of people that could carry on renting their dwellings, however, the landlord was not the state anymore. To protect them, rigid tenant-protective laws were established. In conjunction with the tough economic situation, the housing stock kept on deteriorating.
Latvian government, after multiple unsuccessful attempts over the past decade, has implemented a new regulation for residential tenancy to cure the situation. This article presents a comparative analysis of both, the regulatory environment and the present economic and social situation, of the tenancy market in the Baltic states. Based on the findings, and by adding a theoretical framework of the necessity of a sound residential tenancy market, an assessment of possibility for the new Latvian tenancy law to reach its aims is presented.