An agreement is defined as arrangement of mutual rights and obligations between the parties aimed at ensuring the common good. Sounds great, especially when it comes to mutual benefits, doesn’t it?
In a perfect world, as a lessee under a lease agreement, you should be provided with a specified standard of an apartment and its equipment, the feeling of safety, be ensured that defects will be repaired on an ongoing basis and have the right to use the apartment as you wish. The sums you pay for renting are not insignificant, the landlord can be guaranteed that the rent and utilities are paid for on a regular basis and you will take care of the apartment as if it was your own apartment. What do you receive in return? Rooms equipped with recycled furniture, advertised as “eclectic”, casual inspections, failures that, in most cases, you need to handle on your own, and when the agreement comes to an end, return the apartment in a state demonstrating the so-called normal wear-and-tear, you also have to repaint it so that it is fresh and clean and await another tenant. Unless the landlord changes their plans and decides to sell the apartment or rent it to their brother-in-law’s cousin before your lease term expires.
None of these situations could happen if your lease agreement really took care of the interest of both parties.
What should a well-designed lease agreement for residential premises look like?
Each apartment lease agreement should contain certain fixed elements. They are common irrespective of whether it is a regular apartment lease agreement entered into with a natural person, an occasional lease agreement or a lease agreement from a company. A basic template of an apartment lease can be found on the Internet without any problems. It contains elements such as:
1. Basic personal data of the parties, that is the lessor and the lessee:
- full name
- PESEL (Personal Identification Number)
- Identity card series and number
- permanent address or residence address
- contact details (phone number, e-mail address).
2. Detailed data pertaining to the apartment subject to lease:
- real estate address
- surface area of an apartment
- number of rooms
- technical condition of premises – it is worth checking the condition of both the apartment itself and the household appliances and furniture. In a well-designed agreement, the description of the technical condition of the apartment and its equipment constitutes a standard appendix to the agreement.
3. Duration of the lease agreement – that is determination whether the agreement is entered into for a definite period of time or an indefinite period of time as well as the notice period and terms and conditions of early termination.
4. Amounts receivable under the lease agreement as well as the administrative rent and a provision about additional service fees (water, electricity, gas, Internet, TV, if offered under the agreement).
Watch out for fine print or lack thereof
Everything seems easy and genuine. You know with whom you are signing the agreement, where you will be living, how long you will be living there and how much it will cost. But… What if you fail to take into consideration the fact that over the definite lease period your situation or life plans will change and you will decide to, for instance, change the apartment for something bigger? In the case of occasional lease, you do not have to fear long-term obligations. Agreements are entered into for a definite period of time, but you decide if you want to live there for six months or a year and you can count on more flexible solutions than when renting an apartment from a private owner. Most of all, a company does not have just one apartment, but the entire pool of apartments for rent. If you need a larger apartment or decide to live in a different city and the company has an apartment there, under the subscription you can change the size or location of the apartment – you can move to another apartment in the same building or city, but also to a different city, maintaining the same standard and the entire package of services which you have gotten used to.
It is also worth keeping in mind that in the case of an agreement for a definite period of time, the owner of real estate may terminate the agreement early only in specific situations, that is when:
- you use the premises against its intended use,
- you destroy the premises or equipment located there,
- you destroy devices for common use by other residents of the building,
- you violate the regulations of the building, e.g. by being a nuisance to your neighbors or hindering them from using their apartments peacefully,
- you fail to pay the rent on time.
The only problem is that for an owner of a private apartment, using the apartment against its intended use may mean a plethora of things. For instance living with a pet or someone staying the night at your place. You can destroy or even violate the substance of the apartment by hanging your own pictures on the wall or drilling a hole for a hanger, whereas forgetting to say “good morning” once may damage your reputation in the eyes of your neighbors who simply do not like strangers.
When you sign an agreement with a professional entity, everything is black and white. In the case of a subscription apartment, you receive the service in the form of accommodation for a fixed period of time with clear terms and condition of extending the service and what to do in case you are forced to change your place of living. You do not need to ask for permission to make small changes such as color of walls or hanging a TV set provided that you return the apartment in the original state minus normal wear-and-tear.
Apartment lease agreement – amount of rent
Everything is getting more expensive. Electricity, gas and mortgage installments paid by owners of private apartments for rent. And who pays for it? Private owners very frequently calculate the profitability of renting by passing the amount of their mortgage installments on tenants or look for other reasons to increase their rent rates without reasonable justification. Obviously, the owner has the right to increase the rent, but this is also governed by clear principles which should also be incorporated in the agreement.
- In the case of a regular lease agreement from a private owner, principles for increasing the rent are stipulated by the Polish Act on Protecting Tenants’ Rights. It is quite complicated and requires that an owner prepare a written notice of termination of the existing rent to be given at the end of a calendar month subject to at least three months’ notice period. At tenant’s request, the landlord must state a reason for an increase and its calculation within 14 days in writing. The tenant, on the other hand, may refuse to accept the increase within 2 months of receiving the notice, as a result of which the agreement is terminated as the notice period pertaining to the rent expires. One may also challenge the increase and file a lawsuit with a court.
- In the case of occasional lease, principles stipulated in the agreement apply. If the agreement contains no principles for increasing the rent, the owner may not do that.
- In the case of occasional lease, agreements are always entered into for a definite period of time, whereas the rent is constant over the entire duration of the agreement.
What about fees for utilities?
In most cases, lessees incur the costs of utilities according to their consumption, based on meter readings. The situation is worse when you rent a room in a house or an apartment where there are no separate meters. How to prove that it is not you that is responsible for higher water consumption when the owner believes that you are spending hours in a bathtub or consuming too much electricity reading books at night?
In the case of a subscription apartment, you have two solutions: you can pay the fees according to the actual individual consumption as each apartment is equipped with its own meters or choose the payment in the form of a fixed fee and do not worry about bills. In either option, you can control the amount of fees in an individual application.
What are lessee’s rights?
A standard lease agreement from a private owner rarely contains additional provisions, which would stipulate lessee’s rights apart from their obligations more specifically. Guests, pets, your own arrangement of the apartment, additional equipment, repair of failures, maintenance, principles for settling a deposit and returning the apartment once the lease period expires are the elements which are frequently determined at owners’ discretion, even though these elements affect the comfort of living to the largest extent. Institutional owners follow a different approach. A transparent apartment lease agreement specifying all rights and obligations of both parties in a legible manner secures their mutual obligations equally, thanks to which you can be certain that nothing will surprise you.
Lessee’s rights in the case of subscription apartment:
- you choose the apartment that you want – you decide about the number of rooms, the floor and the direction of the world the apartment faces
- you move in a brand new apartment – each apartment is clean, tidy and fresh, whereas required elements are replaced with new ones
- you live with whom you want to live – no one inspects your apartment, asks about the age of your children or other family members
- you live as long as you want – you enjoy the guarantee of security and unchangeable terms and conditions over the entire agreement duration
- you live as you want – you can rent a fully furnished apartment or an unfurnished one, each apartment offers household appliances which you can use
- you arrange the apartment as you want – pictures on the walls or plants on the balcony? Why choose if you can have it all
- Wi-Fi always included in the price
- you live securely – each building is equipped with CCTV and security guards
- you do not worry about failures – you are supported by the customer service office and a technical team on premises
- you have full control over fees – you manage your lease agreement and fees via application
- if you need space for a car or a bike – no problem
- if you need to have your apartment cleaned before you mother-in-law visits you – you can order cleaning service
- you use the common area and participate in classes organized for residents, you have access to special discounts in the client zone
- if your apartment is uninhabitable for any reason, you will get a replacement apartment from us
- a subscription apartment always feels like home.
You do not have to take our words for, everything is in the agreement.