Check-list: What to take into account drawing up a lease contract

There is only one way to get no problems while renting an apartment in Moscow – to prevent the problems. Danger foreseen is half avoided. But there is a set of questions which often are the ground for disputes.

And these disputes could be preliminary stipulated in the contract. One doesn’t have to apply to a real estate agency to avoid common mistakes.

The list below would be helpful both for tenants and landlords while drawing up a lease contract.

What to check before drawing up an agreement:

  1. Documents.Make some efforts to check up the passport details of the other party. Tenant should check if the owner has an ownership certificate or other rights registration documents, for instance sale and purchase agreement.

    Don’t play nice. It seems it doesn’t matter but reality shows the opposite. Keep in mind: responsible landlord has no difficulty to provide you with necessary documents while your serious approach would produce good impression.
  2. Are there joint owners of the premises you are to rent? You can check the ownership details by your own. Just order an extract from Unified State Register of Real Estate Rights and Transactions which contains the information about ownership. The cost of this service doesn’t exceed 500 RUB. And it is not huge expense for tranquility and correct agreement. 

    In case apartment is in joint ownership the deal should be made with all the landlords: each owner should personally sign the contract or provide the other owner with a power of attorney for the right to let out the apartment. In case the apartment was acquired within marriage the writing consent of both the spouses is the must.

Key details of lease contact 
Any tenancy agreement should contain:

  • Parties’ details: full names, passport numbers and registration addresses.
  • Exact data about the rentable property which are indicated in the ownership certificate.
  • Who will reside an apartment along with a tenant.
  • Rental payment amount and terms, especially the circumstances in which the payment terms can be changed by any party.
  • Terms of preliminary termination.

Except the must-clauses it makes sense to discuss and include in the contract few additional clauses:

Utility and extra services payments
Often the parties argue who must pay the utility bills. Tenants suppose that it is owner’s responsibility while the landlord believes the one who lives and uses maintenance services must pay. Nut sure this issue is a matter of negotiations.

Traditionally landlord pays for maintenance services and tenant reimburse all the services countable by meters, i.e. water, electricity along with Internet, satellite television and paid phone calls.

As well it is better to stipulate renovation issue in the contract. Usually it depends on the cause which provoked the necessity to do repairs. For instance dear tenant’s Maine Coon tore the wallpapers in the apartment, it is the tenant who is to recover new wallpapers.

In case the sewage broke down in the WC, it is the landlord who pays for repairs.

As well tenant should stipulate with the landlord repairs upon tenant’s request. Some creative tenant’s ideas can be considered by the landlord as damage to his property.

When landlord has a right to inspect the apartment
There is one more stumbling block: landlord is sure he has right to inspect his property any time he wish while tenant feels certain that rental is only his realm for the whole lease term. To avoid conflicts it is better to stipulate the frequency and time of landlord’s visits.

Pets allowed
Rather often landlords forget to stipulate pets issue in the lease agreement when the tenant doesn’t have any pet for the agreement signing day. In case you are not comfortable with pet kept at your apartment it is a must to put this issue in the contract.

And the other way round if you are to rent a flat and dream about a puppy, see about the possibility to keep it.

Act of apartment transfer and Estate inventory
Sometimes it happens that tenant can’t bear some old-fashioned tattered stuff which holds sentimental value for the landlord. Tenant decides to get rid of this cherished item and landlord wonders where is his beautiful 60 years-old carpet...

And it is rather fair for the landlord to be mad of it if this item was included in the inventory list. Act of transfer is an important part of the agreement which should include all the items belonged to the apartment and list of defects.

Act of transfer should be signed by the both Parties as well as the Lease agreement and considered as an integral part of the agreement.

Agreement termination terms
Landlord should inform his tenant not later than 3 months prior the end of the agreement what are his plans: if he is going to prolong the lease or refuse the prolongation. In case landlord doesn’t notify the tenant about his plans contract should be automatically prolonged on the same terms.

As soon as the agreement terminated the parties should check up the equipment list indicated in the act of transfer. If anything is damaged the damage should be reimbursed according to the agreement terms. Usually it is covered by the security deposit in case the property is damaged through tenant’s fault.

Two more important issues

  1. Has the landlord right to sell the apartment?

He has the right. But he has no right to kick tenant away before lease agreement termination. Apartment sale won’t imply acting lease agreement termination. New owner automatically is a landlord obliged to let out the apartment till lease agreement termination.

  1. Do you have right to sublease?

You should be aware that usually landlords are not happy to have their property sublet for instance for the period of long business trips or vacation. But you always can negotiate it and stipulate in the lease agreement.

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