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Irene Kull and Ave Hussar

The Baltic States, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, belonged to the Soviet Union until 1991 and are still struggling with the legacies of Communism. Privatization and restitution measures have produced the highest rate of homeownership in the EU here, ranging between 80 and 90 per cent. The privatized housing stock is often in very bad condition, being composed of many small flats without basic amenities. This contributes to the constant need for new dwellings. However, the more recent reforms have realized, at least as regards the ‘law in the books’, a certain degree of interest balancing and stability of rental tenancies. Yet tenants seem more protected in Lithuania and Latvia than in Estonia. Constitutive regulatory features such as the requirements on form and registration, duration and termination of rental agreements, emptio non tollit locatum as well as social defences in the eviction procedure have been dealt with in the new legislation. That notwithstanding, the low number of tenancy relationships and court cases will certainly delay the development of a more effective tenancy law system.