We hear some stories about non-polish speaking people having a rough time getting their deposits back after their lease period. Well, Polish people are generally lovely and most landlords will never want to become your nightmare but it happens. Language barriers make it difficult enough but it also doesn’t help if you are unfamiliar to Polish customs and laws or if you simply have a pain in the ass landlord!
You should know that a landlord is obliged by Polish law to return the deposit within one month after you had moved out. If that time is not up yet, it might just need a little patience until they respond. Maybe the money didn’t get through yet? If, however, it’s been already over a month and you still haven’t received your money back – here is what you should do.
1. Communication is key. Just ask!
Start simple – write a polite letter / e-mail to your landlord and ask why they are retaining your money. At the end of the day there might be a reason why they do it and you might not be aware of it. Mind you, they might have not gotten in touch with you just because they don’t speak your language! (let us know if you need help!)
You might get a response from your landlord saying that they are retaining your money until they get the annual clearance. Or stating specifically that they are repairing that thing you’ve broken and you will get the most of your deposit back as soon as they know how much they have to withhold. Fair enough, right?
It might happen that you won’t agree with some or any of their statements. Show as much evidence as you can to prove you didn’t damage the apartment. It will help if you’ve got any pictures attached to the inventory signed together with agreement. If your landlord refuses to take your words into consideration because they can’t understand English, always ask a Polish friend to help you communicate.
2. Prepare a demand note
If you don’t get any response from your landlord or they still retain your money even though you showed evidence you have not caused any damage to the apartment prepare a demand note (request for payment).
Need help? I can provide you with a template.
You can send it by means of certified letter. It’s worth attaching any pictures you might have taken before you moved in and on the day you left the flat.
Very often this second step is absolutely enough to get your landlord to refund the money. You can send it yourself or use lawyer services – this will make bigger impact.
3. Bring it to court
If a landlord refuses to give the deposit back to you even though he received all the communication from you, don’t give up. Bringing this to court is neither complicated nor expensive.
You can do it yourself through e-sąd (www.e-sad.gov.pl). You do need to create an account on e-sąd and have a virtual signature, but once you have it, it’s enough to log in and you can bring suit against the landlord. Quick and easy.
Another option is to hire a lawyer, this way you won’t have to upskill your Polish 🙂 Maybe a bit more expensive but still worthwhile compared to the deposit you might lose otherwise.
Let me know if you need a contact for a good English speaking lawyer in Krakow, I’ll be happy to share!
Still no money back? Thanks to e-sąd it’s really easy to direct your issue to the bailiff for executive action. That should help.