Students return to cities. “Don’t ask or you will lose the casting for an apartment” vs. “I need to know who I’m giving the keys to”

Students return to cities.  "Don't ask or you will lose the casting for an apartment" vs.  "I need to know who I'm giving the keys to"

A conversation about renting an apartment resembles extensive commercial negotiations combined with a job interview, says a Warsaw student. But in negotiations, both parties have the right to express their opinion, and at the “casting” it’s best not to ask anything, echoes her second. The owner of the apartment sees it differently: “when giving the key to the apartment to a stranger, I must know something about him,” she argues.

For students looking for an apartment in an academic city, the beginning of the academic year may be less stressful than the previous one. More apartments hit the market, so their prices naturally fell slightly. At least that’s what the Morizon-Gratka Group’s analysis shows, which analyzed the prices of four types of flats (studios, 2-rooms, 3-rooms and 4-rooms) in the five largest cities. The data shows that asking prices in 10 out of 20 categories have decreased, and in five they have not changed. This means that prices increased in only five categories.

Reports speak of a decline in rental property prices. What about this life?

— I can find several reasons why the number of flats on the market is significantly higher. Firstly, the demand from Ukrainian citizens has decreased significantly; many of those who came to Poland last year return to the country or, in search of better living conditions, go further to the West. Secondly, new premises that have been and are still being purchased for investment purposes are constantly entering the rental market. Also those owners who considered selling an apartment, e.g. an inherited one, often decide to rent it out. In times of raging inflation, leaving the capital invested in real estate and deriving a steady income from it is a reasonable solution – Marcin Drogomirecki, an expert on the real estate market of the Morizon-Gratka Group, calculated in an interview with Business Insider.

So much data, because life ultimately verifies whether finding an apartment at a price that does not devastate the wallet is really easy. Landlords also argue that they do not have it easy in this arrangement, because finding an honest tenant to whom they will entrust the keys without fear is also not easy.

Questions about boyfriend, girlfriends, weekend habits

22-year-old Ewa from Podlasie, who rents an apartment in the capital, fears a repeat of last year, when she felt overpowered and treated condescendingly in two of the three apartments she viewed.

– The owners of two apartments did not hide that they felt they were the stronger side and had the right to ask me about everything, and at the same time they reacted badly to my questions. Because if I dare ask, I’m probably some ungrateful customer who will cause problems – reports a student of the Warsaw University of Technology.

Questions were asked about his lifestyle (does he go out in the evenings? Does he plan to visit his parents every weekend – one of the landlords made it clear that it would be welcomed? Does he have a boyfriend?), about his parents’ work, and whether he plans to let his friends stay in the studio flat. She relates that when she herself asked if the owner was planning to put a door in the kitchen cabinet (one was broken), he replied that he rented the apartment in the condition as it appears and did not intend to make any repairs until the end of the academic year.

Ewa is annoyed by this “eyes see what they take” approach, because in this way landlords try to rent out even a flat in need of renovation without any effort – for the price of a decent flat.

– It is known that an apartment needs to be repainted every few years, but some owners are of the opinion that why should they do it, if they will rent an unsightly apartment anyway. Sooner or later the customer will be found, so why try? says Eva.

Apartments are selling fast

I ask her if she has refurbished, however subtly, previous rented apartments on her own. She says she’d be ready to repaint if the landlords agreed to lower one month’s rent just a little. – In the previous apartment I heard that I can paint myself, replace the desk, but at my own expense. And, of course, I have to leave this exchanged desk before moving out, because the apartment must remain in a non-deteriorated condition. How could it possibly get any worse?

Fortunately, the offers are different, so sooner or later she manages to find an apartment of the right standard and convince the owner.

“But you have to hurry.” Volunteers call a few minutes after an advertisement appears on the web, and some are able to appear “for viewing” even within an hour. However, this does not mean anything, because usually the owners want to meet a larger number of interested parties in order to choose the candidate they like the most from a larger group – says Ewa.

Another student says that she doesn’t like it when landlords at “castings” asked her parents to sign the contract. Questions about a boyfriend, inviting friends, having a boyfriend – also.

– What should be a conversation about renting a room in an old apartment grows into a big business negotiation with elements of a job interview. It cannot be assumed that all young people want to cheat, and on the first Saturday after picking up the keys, they will invite half the department and throw a big party. It’s a sick approach – says the girl.

A high-risk business?

And what does it look like from the other side? I am writing to several landlords who advertise on a Facebook topic group. Two people text me back. Mrs. Anna, who has been renting a two-room flat in Praga for 5 years, “is surprised that anyone is surprised that she checks candidates for tenants.”

– After all, I give them the keys to the apartment, and it’s like giving them several hundred thousand zlotys. After all, you know that not everyone is honest, they can not pay, change the locks and refuse to leave the apartment. I take into account that during the conversation they may lie, but by questioning them I make it clear that I know my rights and set boundaries – says the woman.

So far, an unpleasant situation has happened to her once. The tenant, not a student at all, hadn’t paid for one month and quietly moved out halfway through the next. She only informed her roommate that she was moving out. Mrs. Anna called, of course, without answering.

“I kept the bail money, but it was less than the month and a half the girl hadn’t paid me for. She lived with me for three years and ran away like a thief. Renting apartments is a business like any other and you cannot trust anyone completely, because people take advantage of it, says Anna.

The woman did not go to court because she believes it is a waste of time. As she says, however, she learned her lesson and now takes a deposit of two months’ rent when signing the contract. “It is because of unscrupulous tenants that all honest people get hit,” he concludes.

Landlords talk about an imbalance in the regulations

In online discussions about rental problems, there are accusations against the legislator. The regulations (and the issue of tenancy is regulated by the Civil Code and the Tenant Protection Act) do not give the landlord the right to evict tenants by force, even if they stop paying, damage the flat and refuse to move out. In such a situation, the owner is left to bring the case to court, obtain an eviction order, carry out an eviction with the participation of a bailiff … During this time, he must not cut off the utilities or hinder the use of the apartment.

For this reason, some landlords reject some applicants in advance. Families with children, single mothers are often at a disadvantage. An employment contract and high income do not convince some landlords. They are too afraid that in the event of problems such tenants will be “immovable”.

Occasional tenancy was supposed to secure landlords, but it failed

The solution to these problems was supposed to be an occasional lease, which required a visit to a notary public. The Lessee submits a declaration – in the form of a notarial deed – on voluntary submission to enforcement. This means that the tenant indicates the address of the premises to which he can move out. Thanks to this, in the event of problems, the owner of the apartment can initiate enforcement proceedings almost immediately – without the need to bring lengthy court proceedings and wait for the provision of temporary premises by the municipality (as in the case of an ordinary lease agreement).

However, dishonest tenants have distorted the meaning of occasional leases – by providing a fictitious statement about the possibility of living in another premises in the event of eviction or by not informing the landlord that they have lost their emergency accommodation. When tensions arise and the landlord wants to exercise his right, the tenant admits that he really has nowhere to move to.

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