ALRAID

ALL-UKRAINIAN ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL ORGANISATIONS

Renting An Apartment Safely: Legal Advice

06.12.2013 / 953

Many people today can’t afford purchasing housing accommodations and are force to rent it. A number of frauds, however, increases with the property market growth, trying to cash in on unmistrusting renters. “Together With The Law” tells how to avoid risks while renting residence.

Collect As Many Information About The Apartment As Possible

This, first of all, includes learning average prices for renting an apartment, a room, a house. It should alert you if the price you are proposed to pay is way lower than average; this usually means the accommodation has serious defects or the “landlord” doesn’t have documents proving his right to give this property on lease.

Don’t rely on the real estate brokers, always be there to examine the apartment in person. Check carefully the quarters’ condition, household appliances, bathroom fitment and furniture in the presence of the real estate broker and the owner (or the owner’s authorized representative). Make sure that interior objects not only look good, but are roadworthy and safe, and all junctures hold firm.

If you like the apartment and you want to take it on lease, please remember to draw not only a Contract itself, but also an Acceptance Certificate where all the inventory items are listed (furniture, household appliances, bathroom fitment, other things) and their condition is described. If you found defects while examining the apartment or the interior, you must insist that these are described in either Contract or Acceptance Certificate in writing — otherwise the landlord will be in his right to demand paying for it’s repair when you’ll be moving out.

Before signing the contract, try to talk to the concierge and some neighbours if possible: what they can tell about the owner, how often do the residents of this particular apartment move in and out, their opinion on the previous residents.

Please note: after the contract is signed, the renter has right to change the locks in the apartment or room, having informed the owner and provided him with a spare set of keys in advance.

Putting Down The Contract

According to the contract, the owner (or his accredited representative) conveys or is obliged to convey apartment for living for a defined term on a fee paid basis.

The law defines the following rights and duties:

The Renter is obliged to:

- use the apartment for living purposes only;

- safeguard the appart and keep it in good condition;

- obtain the owner’s agreement before altering or reconstructing the apartment;

- pay fee on time;

- pay for public facilities;

- make minor repairs when needed.

The Renter has right to:

- accomodate other people for constant residence upon the owner’s agreement;

- temporary accommodate other people upon the owner’s notification without paying additional fees;

- underlease the apartment upon the owner’s agreement.

The Landlord is obliged to:

- convey the quarters according to the contract;

- make full reconstruction of the apartment on time;

- obtain the renter’s agreement before altering, if such alteration brings an essential change to living conditions;

- warn the renter about the liens and encumbrances for this particular apartment, otherwise the renter can demand decreasing the fee or contract dissolution and recovery of losses.

Stating the rulings of the law in the contract is optional. If the parties, however, wish to either cover additional terms or set regulations other than in the law, such terms must be included to the contract. It’s obligatory to define the fee, terms and types of payment. The parties can provide the possibility of the periodic review, fees readjustment, etc. Public facilities are paid separately, if the contract doesn’t state otherwise.

Consignating A “Risk Sum”

Landlords often asks for a so-called “risc sum consignation”, meaning either payment for the last month of living or a sum to framework refunding possible damages caused by the renter. The procedure of using and returning this sum must also be defined in the contract. In particular, one can include the following terms:

“1. A risk sum in the amount of a monthly fee (sum spelled) is the payment for the last month of living in the apartment (indicate month and year if this is a term agreement); if this is a permanent treaty, specify “providing that the parties agreed to tear up the thready in 30 days’ advance”;

2. In case of damages caused by the renter the risk sum, in full or in part, covers the landlord’s expenses in amount related to actual damages;

3. By agreement of the parties, the risk sum can be refunded providing that the renter pays for the last month”.

Denouncing The Contract

According to the Civil Code, the renter (provided the agreement of other people living in the same quarters) has right to denounce the contract at any time if warned the owner in three month’s advance. If the renter vacates the premises with no warning, the landlord is in his right to demand fee for these three months if he proves that he can’t settle a new rent agreement at the same provisions during this term.

This is true only for the permanent treaty; in a case of the term agreement there’s a duty of informing the landlord in a one month advance. This is what the “risk sum” is for: if the renter just moves out, the landlord keeps the risk sum and has a possibility to search for new renters within this month.

The renter has right to denounce the contract at any time without pre-notification if the quarters became gets unfit for living.

Besides, the contract can be denounced with a court decision at the landlord’s demand in case when:

1. the renter hasn’t been paying the rent for six months unless otherwise is stated in the contract; if this is a term agreement (up to 1 year) — it’s enough that the renter didn’t pay the fee more than twice;

2. the renter (or persons the renter is responsible for) damaged or destroyed the quarters.

The renter can be given up to 1 year under the court decision to repair the quarters. If the renter doesn’t remedy the violations within this term, the court denounces the contract at the landlord’s request. The court, however, can establish a longer reasonable term at the renter’s request for no longer than another year.

Special provisions for denouncing the contract are set by the Civil Code of Ukraine when only part of the house, apartment, room or a part of a room is for rent. Such contract can be withdrawn upon the landlord’s request only when he or his family are to use the quarters for their own living. In this case, however, the landlord has to give the renter a warning in two months’ advance.

If the renter (or persons the renter is responsible for) misuse the quarters or systematically violate the neighbours’ rights and interests, the landlord can demand corrective actions. If such violations last, the landlord can demand pre-term cancellation of contract.

    

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