(Decision of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic No. II. ÚS 658/18, from 22 May 2018)
The Municipal Court in Brno and the Regional Court in Brno had questioned the validity of the lease agreement which specified the total amount of money which the tenant shall pay to the landlord. According to these courts, the lease agreement shall include a separate amount for rent and a separate amount for payments for services. Therefore, the courts held that the arrangement of payment to landlord, in which the amounts of rent and payment for services had not been separately given, is invalid for its vagueness. It was impossible to define for which purposes the total amount was used.
A performance made on the basis of an invalid legal act (i.e. the use of flat without the legal title) shall be considered as unjust enrichment. Its amount should be considered as the same as the amounts of payments which are considered as the usual rent. Afterwards the Supreme Court upheld the ruling of the Municipal and the Regional Courts. The tenant as an unsuccessful plaintiff filed then a constitutional complaint to overrule these decisions of the lower courts.
The Constitutional Court annulled the judgements of the lower courts.
The Constitutional Court prefers the interpretation of contracts which establishes their validity as a fundamental principle of legal interpretation over the interpretation causing invalidity of contracts. In the opinion of the Constitutional Court, the invalidity of a contract should be a rarity, not the policy. Moreover, the principle of the contractual autonomy, the nature of the private law and the preference of the real will of the parties over the formal expression need to be supported. The Constitutional Court held that the lower courts' decisions preferring the interpretation leading to invalidity of the legal acts do not comply with the Czech Constitution.