Understanding the laws, regulations and common practices in a foreign country can be quite daunting when it comes to renting a new property. The Brno Expat Centre tackled some of the common questions and concerns around renting a property in the Czech Republic at their housing and real estate seminar that took place on the 27th of November. Based on the topics that were addressed by the panelists at the seminar, we’ve compiled a list of ten things that we feel every expat should know when renting a property in the Czech Republic. 1. The standard fee for mediation of accommodation: is one month’s rent in the Czech Republic. Sometimes the fee can also include utilities or VAT. It is advisable to check what services are included in the fee beforehand. 2. Support local real estate agencies. With franchised agencies, you may not always receive the same quality of service as you would from a local agency. We advise that you follow reliable references and recommendations to receive the best services. 3. Unfurnished vs. Furnished: most often, it is cheaper to rent an unfurnished flat for those looking to stay in the Czech Republic long term, as landlords can charge quite a bit more for furnished. While it can be costly to purchase new furniture, you can always sell items you have purchased for your flat when you decide to move. There are quite a number of second hand furniture sites for Brno on Facebook, including:
- Buy and sell in Brno: https://www.facebook.com/groups/430858610335696/
- Buy, Sell and Swap in Brno: https://www.facebook.com/groups/431843796900047/
- Foreigners.cz: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.318604934822963.99508.224787330871391&type=3
4. Understand what you are paying for. Ask your landlord to include all utilities that are covered in your rental agreement. This will outline where your money goes, what funds are going to rent and what funds are going to utilities, etc. Having this information clearly identified in your rental agreement will ultimately make it easier to calculate taxes and housing spending at the end of the year. 5. Save money on utilities: by asking the landlord how many people lived in the flat previously. This can affect your utility price if the price has been calculated based on the previous tenants who may have had more people living in the rental. 6. Moving into an old property. There are no laws that stipulate that landlords have to take care of household problems. Therefore, if you are moving into an old flat or house, be sure to add provisions in your rental agreement stating that certain repairs should be covered by the landlord. 7. Create a SIPO account: this is an account that allows you to make joint payments for utilities. You can create a SIPO account at a post office which will automatically debit the charges from your bank account each month. This is much easier than having to pay for each utility at separate times. 8. Internet service: in order for foreigners to obtain internet services, be prepared to present your residence permit. Sometimes a deposit will be required as well. 9. Do your research. Check if your landlord is the actual landlord. In the Czech Republic, there are cases where there can be multiple owners of a single property. Renting a property from a co-owned group can cause complications for a tenant. You can look into the ownership of a property by looking the property up on the ‘Katastr nemovitostí ‘= the Real Estate Register: http://nahlizenidokn.cuzk.cz/VyberBudovu.aspx?typ=Jednotka (You will need to use Google Translate for this site). 10. New Civic Code: as of January 1st 2014, your rental agreement will now be governed by a new set of codes (Including contracts signed prior to 2014). With this new code, it will be possible for landlords to increase the rent price without your consent. That is unless it is stipulated in your rental agreement as otherwise. Be sure to review your agreement and ensure that it states somewhere that your rent cannot go up in price.