Renting apartments through reputable real estate agencies, tenants believe that they are guaranteed help in case of conflicts with homeowners. And they are severely disappointed: the agents refuse to participate in domestic showdowns. Sometimes it turns out that the promises of realtors to choose another housing, if you do not agree with the owners of the apartment, are not worth a price – as is the case with the readers of “Money” who left messages on our website. In fact, only the words spelled out in the contract are valuable. And not with the agency, but with the landlord himself.
Beware, evil mistress
You can’t keep a dog, then smoke, then drive girls – the range of claims that the owner of the apartment may suddenly have against the tenant is striking in its breadth. “The residential real estate rental market is the most controversial service market,” says Veronika Pankova, head of the Committee for the Protection of Consumer Rights of Real Estate Services under the Moscow Association of Realtors (IDA), categorically. “Recently we had such a case: a young man rented a room in a” kopeck piece “from an old woman, but was able to live there for only a month. Granny asked her to massage her, then go for groceries, but the girls were not allowed to him out of jealousy.” Often, apartment owners bother tenants against the agreements that were reached orally when signing the lease. Families with children give a lot of reasons for nagging malicious owners: they say, your daughter painted a face on the wallpaper – renovate the entire apartment. Or, on the contrary, the design of the times of mature stagnation is so dear to the hostess that she flatly refuses to change the shabby wallpaper. The reason for the conflict between the reader of “Money” Elena Mikheeva, who left a message on our website, and the owner of the square meters she rented was furniture: the tenant was forbidden to import his own, ordering to live in the local ruins. It happens, finally, that everything is in order with your children, dogs and chests of drawers, but the owner himself turns out to be a disaster, who believes himself to have the right to visit the apartment rented to you twice a week, using his key. Not to mention fraudulent schemes, when it turns out that the owner from whom you rented an apartment, in fact, is not, and the announced real owner demands urgently release his square meters.
A similar story happened with the client of the agency “Defect” Maxim Komov. “My agent picked up an apartment, and together we went to meet with the owner. He showed a passport with a residence permit and a document in which he was listed as the buyer of this apartment. The agent looked at the documents, because in my contract with” Defact “it was stated that he should check They signed the contract, I received the keys, the owner was prepaid two months in advance, the agent was commissioned in the amount of 100% of the monthly rent, “says Mr. Komov. When the unlucky tenant arrived at the rented apartment a day later with things, it turned out that people already lived in it, who rented it through another agent from the same person. It turned out that the owner, like the papers shown to him, was not real: he himself rented an apartment from the original owner a month and a half ago and forged title documents. According to Mr. Komov, the agency responsible for the legal purity of the transaction initially admitted its guilt and promised to compensate the costs (in total, they amounted to 90 thousand rubles), but was in no hurry to return the money. And at one point the client was told that “the company was closed.”.
However, if it is mainly those who resort to the services of single intermediaries or pseudo-agencies that run into scammers, then the clients of real estate companies with big names are not protected from the tyranny of apartment owners. Today you gave the agent a considerable amount – a monthly fee for a rented apartment (the cost of renting an average “odnushka” in Moscow is already approaching $ 1,000), tomorrow you quarreled with the owner (who, by the way, immediately received, according to common practice, payment for two months ), go to the agency – and you almost certainly get a turn from the gate. If you have not been vigilant in drafting contracts, the reluctance of agents to solve your problems is likely to be completely legal, warns Veronika Pankova from IDA.
Working out details
The obligations of realtors are determined by the contract for the provision of services. Each agency has its own, but you can see a common feature that is very unpleasant for clients: it is extremely rare for a standard contract to contain a clause on the participation of realtors in the future (the one that begins the next day after the parties shake hands in the selected apartment) the fate of their clients. “The realtor owes you exactly as much as was promised in the contract. Many real estate agencies do not want to be arbitrators in the event of a conflict between the owner of the property and the tenant,” says Veronika Pankova. “This position is partly justified, because no one can guarantee that in the future there will be complete understanding between the tenant and the landlord “.
Usually the set of services prescribed in the contract with the agency is minimal: searching for an apartment based on the parameters specified by the client and organizing its viewing. “The number of options for real-life apartments that we can offer significantly exceeds the number of offers that people can find by reading advertisements on poles and in newspapers,” says Maria Zhukova, First Deputy Director of Miel-Arenda. It turns out, according to the logic of realtors, that their clients pay money primarily for access to agent bases and the opportunity to save time that would have to be spent on independent calls to landlords. Common sense, however, suggests that if an apartment is found for you today, and tomorrow it turns out that you cannot live in it of your own free will, then it is the same as if nothing was selected for you. Therefore, realtors, as a rule, in addition to the agency agreement with their client, take on one more obligation: they help to draw up a lease agreement that regulates the relationship between the apartment owner and its tenant. It is this employment contract that turns out to be a stumbling block when it comes to conflict situations..
The lease agreement can also be drawn up with the landlord, whom you found without the help of realtors. The help of a professional lawyer in drawing up such a paper will cost you about 3 thousand rubles, says Bogdan Leskiv, lawyer of the company “Legal Protection”. Realtors do not demand this money from the client: everything is included in the commission. Therefore, it is possible that sometimes such contracts for consumer properties resemble free cheese included in the mousetrap complex. A real estate agent most often only makes sure that the main points are spelled out in the template lease agreement: the term of the contract, the data of the title deed for the dwelling, the payment procedure, the monthly cost of rent, the conditions for its increase during the term of the contract. But what about girls, smoking, pets and the ability to import your own furniture? There is not a word about this in standard hiring agreements. “I saw contracts on one or two sheets. What can be written there?” Mrs. Pankova is indignant. “A normal contract is at least four pages. The more details, the better”.
“In order to avoid possible conflicts with the owner, at the first meeting, discuss with him the conditions that are essential for you and demand that they be included in the lease agreement,” advises Maria Zhukova from Miel-Arenda. All the nuances are probably impossible to foresee. Among the main experts, the following are distinguished: the number of persons entitled to live together with you, the procedure for visiting the apartment by its owner, accommodation of animals, carrying out repairs and reimbursing the costs for it, export and import of furniture, smoking indoors, paying bills, liability for damage and disadvantages of the property, the number of guests that can be in the apartment during the day and at night. So that the owner does not accuse you of damage to his furniture, it is advisable to attach an inventory of the property to the contract, in which all the damage noticed must be recorded.
Particular attention should also be paid to the document certifying the ownership. If it indicates that the bearer owns only part of the apartment, it is necessary to obtain consent (signature in the lease agreement or notarized consent) of the remaining owners, as well as all persons over 14 years old registered in the apartment. Otherwise, one day, one of them may appear at your doorstep, declare that he has nowhere to live, and legally stay in the apartment. The contract of employment concluded between two individuals is legitimate without notary certification, lawyers say: there is enough passport data and signatures of the parties in the document. If the owner accuses the tenant of violating the contract, it will not work to evict the tenant without a fight. “All disputes under the contract can be resolved only in court, and it takes an average of nine months,” says Dmitry Nikolaev, lawyer of the Moscow Bar Association Yurprofi. According to the lawyer, it is most likely that the owner of the apartment will have to look for the truth in court: the policeman will not evict the tenant with a lease in hand. “The district police officer, unless he is a relative of the owner of the apartment, will not even want to delve into these problems,” the lawyer believes. “Bailiffs are engaged in evictions.”.
However, the owner of the apartment can ruin the life of the tenant without hitting the threshold of the court: he will simply start terrorizing the tenant with calls and visits. In this case, your flight from an inadequate owner can be considered your defeat: “If you decide to move out yourself, it is considered that you terminated the employment contract on your own initiative,” warns Dmitry Nikolaev. “The documents offered by the agency usually indicate that in In this case, the tenant is not even supposed to return the amount of the deposit (the same second monthly fee paid immediately upon the conclusion of the contract: in case of normal development of events, it goes towards paying for the last month of your stay on the rented space. – “Money”) “.
But repelling the attacks of the mad hostess without leaving the rented fortress for a year is also not a pleasant option. It would be ideal if the service for the selection of an apartment was not formal, but actually provided. That is, in a simple way, so that you can live in peace in the apartment found by the agents. According to Veronika Pankova, the way out of the situation is to use the services of real estate agencies, which guarantee that if you did not manage to avoid a conflict with the landlord, you will be chosen another option for the money you paid once.
Some realtors do talk about a guarantee for their services. True, according to Mrs. Pankova, such real estate agencies in Moscow can still be counted on one hand. Basically, she believes, these are mid-range agencies interested in shaping their reputation. But what about those who have long-established reputation in the market? The correspondent of “Deneg” under the guise of a potential client phoned the agencies of the so-called “Big Four”, which accounts for the lion’s share of all transactions: BEST, INCOM, MIAN and Miel. There was only one question: do you guarantee the selection of another housing for the commission already paid if the owner of the first apartment starts to survive me? In the last three agencies, they promised to provide such a guarantee, and the conditions were called the same: if, within three months after the conclusion of the lease agreement, the client is forced to vacate the apartment through no fault of his own, then he is looking for new housing for free.
“If the ‘owner’ turns out to be a swindler, and an employee of our company failed to identify this fact when concluding a lease agreement, we select a new apartment for the client free of charge and return the entire commission amount to him,” adds Maria Zhukova from Miel-Arenda.
If we are not talking about fraud, then the realtor, of course, is more profitable to settle the conflict of the parties than to mess around with the selection of housing again. According to Ms Zhukova, agents often manage to solve problems: “There are arguments for every situation.” “The owner can almost always be intimidated by the police or the tax office – nobody pays taxes,” – on condition of anonymity, an agent of a small real estate company shared his experience with “Dengi”.
It is noteworthy that the specialist of the company “BEST-Real Estate”, who answered the call of the correspondent of “Money”, was very surprised at the question of warranty obligations, said that they had nothing of the kind and, moreover, such promises of competitors are just a publicity stunt.
The case of the reader of “Money” Elena Mikheeva, alas, confirms this thesis. According to her, during the negotiations in the company “INKOM-real estate” she was promised to pick up new housing for free in case of a conflict with the owner of the apartment during the first three months of her residence. But although the quarrel happened almost the day after arrival, the agent said that he had already done his job. In response to oral complaints, our reader claims, the head of the company’s department politely advised her to go to court. At the request of the “Deneg” correspondent, Elena Mikheeva checked whether there was a guarantee clause in her agreement with the agency that would make it possible to hope for the success of such a process: it turned out that nothing of the kind was recorded there. The agent gave her guarantees only in words, so claims against him can only be in the sphere of morality, but not law.
“Every month at a committee meeting we consider claims against different agencies,” notes Veronika Pankova from IDA. “In most cases, complaints relate specifically to warranty obligations.” The conclusion is not difficult: whatever the agent promises you, you need to ask him to show it on paper.
At the same time, according to Ms. Pankova, if we are talking about realtors who have been working on the market for a long time, then in half of the cases conflicts are resolved within the companies. The main thing is to bring top management into the course of your problem. The easiest way to do this is by mailing a certified letter with notification addressed to the manager. Also Veronika Pankova advises to influence agencies with the help of public organizations, to which her department belongs. “Sometimes the heads of companies agree to help only when I start talking to them on behalf of the committee,” she notes, and immediately makes a reservation, “although we accept complaints against all companies operating in Moscow, we can only control the activities of those who are in the Russian Guild of Realtors or the Moscow Association of Realtors (about 200 agencies) “. According to Mrs. Pankova, in a quarter of cases the parties come to an amicable agreement. The rest of the cases are equally resolved in favor of one of them. “If our decision does not suit the parties, then they go to court. But this is only about 5% of cases,” – said the representative of the IDA.
Few really get to court, agrees lawyer Dmitry Nikolaev. “The average time for a civil case in court is nine months. Enforcement proceedings are even slower. The time, money and nerves spent will not pay off,” he explains. Realtors understand that not all of their clients are committed human rights activists or litigants, and therefore offer them so easy to meet in court. So it is better not to bring it to this, sparing no effort to transfer in the agreement with the agency all the guarantee obligations of the latter, and in the agreement with the owner of the apartment – the maximum number of nuances concerning your lifestyle. Since the minimum price of the issue is already approaching $ 3 thousand, the tediousness no longer looks petty.