Practical tips /
Ekaterina A. Demidova
A traditional residence for foreign students is an abode in hostels of the educational institutes, in families or in rented flats, rooms etc.
In Russia there are many offers of apartments for lease. But one should be cautious as much as possible in his search of abode variant, as last years the cases of swindle in a real estate business have become more frequent. The most optimum variant for foreign citizens will be a help of an educational institute, but, unfortunately, meanwhile not all institutes are able to render such assistance.
So, several tips how not to get into a trouble.
1. Don't be in a hurry
First of all one should avoid questionably cheap variants. How much you may say that free cheese is only in a mouse trap, every day many people eager to be swindled get into a such trap. That is why before phoning on the next advertisement, one should learn offers and prices, in order to exclude the variants with obvious swindle at least.
The prices in the housing market in Russia are sufficiently high especially in such cities as Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. Also one should know that according to the statistics a rental price for a one-room flat is much higher than a rental price for two- and more room flats. That is why, if there are some finance limits for rental charges, it is expident to examine a variant to lease a flat with someone of friends or student-mates.
2. It is obligatory to make a lease contract for an apartment.
To protect yourself from troubles, in particular from a waste of money, payed for lease, it is obligatory to make a lease contract for an apartment.
According to the Russian legislation one party, an owner of the apartment or his authorized person (a landlord) is bound by a lease contract to render an apartment for ownership and use or for abode to the second party (or a tenant) for lease. A lease contract is made in written form.
Before making a conract one should agree with the apartment owner all details of his dwelling, all attained agreements should be reflected in a lease contract.
3. Be carefull when you apply to real-estate agencies
For legal and advice assistance in matters of leasing an apartment one can apply to a corresponding real-estate agency or a law firm, which practice a real-estate business. But it again presents some difficulty. Now in Russia there are many so called "black real-estate agents" or bluntly speaking swindlers. One should be very carefull with virtual sources, profile editions on real estate and usual advirtisments he can meet in the streets.
In order to engage a real-estate agency in looking for an apartment one should make a special contract with this agency, in which the agent fee for looking for an apartment or a registration and support of a lease contract will be indicated.
Large real-estate agencies, as Miel-Nedvizhimost, Incom or Mian will take 100% of a 1-month rental price as their agent fee. In that case the contract with a landlord is made officially and an insurance is drawn up.
Smaller organizations can agree to take a lesser fee - from 70 % of a 1-month rental price. Moreover the agent will not refuse not to enter your money through cash register but to take them into his own pocket. In that case it is possible to agree a fee of 50 % of a 1-month rental price. But you will not get any guarantee.
One should avoid firms which propose to make a contract for advice assistance with paltry prepayment in comparison with other real-estate companies. Because there is a high probability that next day after you have made a payment to this company you will not find it in the office, in which you've made a contract. Or they will just inform you by phone about variants which they have available.
4. Read attentively the documents you sign.
One should be very serious to a rent contract as well as to any other contract.
A lease contract as well as any other legal document mostly contains many legally accepted terms. First of all if you do not understand the meaning of some terms, used in a contract, ask to explain them or to replace them by any other word or word-combination which you know and which have the same meaning.
In case if you do not know Russian adequately in order to understand a contract text correctly, it is possible to make a contract in two languages, Russian and your native one. It is necessary to apply for this to a translation office.
5. Do not hesitate to ask to look through the documents acknowledging the ownership for the appartment.
According to generally accepted international regulations only an owner of the appartment or his authorized person can make a rent contract.
In order to acknoledge a proxy of a person who is not an owner of the appartment, it is necessary to ask for documents (a contract of agency, a letter of attorney) for authority to make a lease contract on behalf of an owner.
A document acknowledging the ownership is a certificate of State Registration of Rights, issued by the authorized body of the government. This certificate is a document of strict accountability, have a degree of protection of securities to bearer level, have a registration series and number.
The data in a certificate should be indicated in the following order:
- a name of a body, which made a state registration of ownership and issued a certificate;
- a date of issue;
- requisite elements of the documents, on which basis the certificate was issued;
- data of subjects of law (in case if an owner is a natural person, his surname, name, patronymic, date of birth, a document, identifying his personality and its requisite elements, full address of lodging or primary stay are indicated; as for a juridical person a full name, Taxpayer Identification Number (INN), a date and place of state registration, a number of the document, acknowledging a registration in the United State Register of Juridical Persons, an address (the whereabouts) of a permanently acting executive body of a juridical person (in case of absence of a permanently acting executive body of a juridical person - an address of another body or person entitled to act on behalf of a juridical person without a letter of attorney) are indicated);
- a type of a registered right;
- a describtion of a property, its address (the whereabouts) and a cadastral or nominal number;
- an existing limitation (charge) of a right.
In the bottom part of a certificate a date and a register number are indicated, which coincide with the analogous data in the United State Register of Rights.
In case of a common joint ownership all owners are indicated in a certificate, and a certificate is issued in one copy for all owners.
In case of a common share ownership all owners are indicated in a certificate, and a certificate is handed to every owner.
6. Pay attention to the terms of a contract.
According to the Civil Code of the Russian Federation the terms obligatory for a lease contract are:
- a discription of a lease contract object (A rent contract object can be only a separate apartment suitable for living (a flat, dwelling house, a part of a flat or dwelling house). It is advisalble to reflect an apartment state, in order the owner couldn't raise unjustified claims on a state of an apartment.);
- a description of terms of dwelling, including the list of persons, who will live with a tenant in an apartment, a simultaneous dwelling of an owner (in case if you rent a room or a part of a house), a frequency of appearence of an owner in an apartment (in case if you rent a flat or house);
- a rental price, and a date and procedure of payment (together with a lease contract it is advisable to state a form of a receipt or another document, which will acknowledge the payment for rent);
- a period of validity of a lease contract.
In case if the owner insists on making a rent contract, in such a contract it is advisale to reflect the terms of a state registration of a rent contract, including the term of a payment for a contract state registration.
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