Rental agreement – what to look out for?

Here are a few hints and tips with regard to your agreement for Polish rented flat. Remember that first and foremost you should never ever be asked to sign a contract in Polish if you don’t understand the language. Always ask for an English version.

Read the agreement before you sign it

It might sound silly, but it’s actually a good tip. Lots of people sits down and read their contracts just minutes before signing. They feel the pressure to go through it as quickly as possible because everyone is waiting for them. Why not do it upfront and spend as much time on it as you really need?

If you’re renting through a real estate agent they will get you the agreement before you meet up to sign it. If you’re renting directly from the owner remember to ask about a copy to review 1 or 2 days before you go to sign it!

Parties to the agreement

Remember that the contract should contain the personal details not only of the future tenant but also of the landlord. Their first name and surname, date of birth, address, ID or passport number, PESEL, contact details. Always ask the landlord to show you their ID and check whether you’re talking to the right person.

Address of a rented property

The agreement should state the precise address of the property you’re about to rent (street name, flat or house number, postal code).

Costs

All the info about costs should be in the agreement. That is:

  • rent – the actual amount you’re supposed to pay, the monthly deadlines and the payment method. If bank transfer, then the agreement should state the bank account number. Remember, rental agreement is a binding document. Once signed, the landlord can only change rent every half a year and not more often than this;
  • media and admin fees – if you’re supposed to make advance payments then you should be able to find information on what would be the amount to pay. If the landlord wants you to sign the contract for gas and electricity on your name – such info should also be there;
  • deposit – the amount you need to pay, by when and how (cash or bank transfer?). Make sure you can read there about how the deposit will be returned to you at the end of the lease.

Contract period

In Poland we usually sign rental contracts for 1 year. Make sure that in your rental agreement there is a clear note on what the contract end date is, how much time have you got to give notice (usually 1 to 3 months before the end date) and what should happen if you fail to give notice on time.

Rights and obligations – for you as a tenant and for your landlord

Next to the standard things like who is responsible for small repairs and who does the bigger ones, there are a few things worth checking. Does your landlord require you for example to paint the walls after you move out? you don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised, do you.

Inventory

It should contain 2 important elements: one – meter readings. Two – a list of items available in the property and its state. It’s best if it’s backed up by pictures. Later on this will help you prove you left the flat just like it was when you moved in.

 

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Basia Kubicka

Runs her own real estate agency Krakow Apartments. Passionate about helping people in all aspects of finding a perfect property, to buy or to rent. Occasional rope walker and rock climber. Follow Basia on Facebook.

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