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In the first installment of this guide to renting a home in Budapest we looked at the process of actually finding the right property and ensuring that the legal and immigration aspects have been properly covered.
#1. Renting an Apartment in Budapest: Failure may cause problems at the immigration office
Now we’ll look at the terms and conditions you need to ensure are included in your lease contract:
First of all the contract must state the right of all users of the property to live there. If the tenant has family with him/her then at the very least the contract must state “and family” if it doesn’t mention those family members by name as users of the property. Failure to do so may cause problems later at the immigration office.
#2. Renting an Apartment in Budapest: key contract clauses
There are then key contract clauses that you should ensure are included:
1. The security deposit should be refundable and would typically be an amount of one or two months’ rent.
2. In Hungary the tenant is not expected to return the property to the landlord in the condition it was given to them. The law allows that normal wear and tear during the course of a lease is acceptable and should not be recoverable from the security deposit. The definition of what constitutes “normal wear and tear” is quite broad, however, and disputes can easily arise when it comes to handing back the property.
3. It’s important to have a clause which states that should anything go wrong with the property it be fixed within seven calendar days, and that any critical losses of service such as power, water supply, heating, etc. be addressed within 24 hours of notification by the tenant.
4. If the tenant has relocated to Budapest for work, it’s important to add in what’s called a diplomatic clause to the contract. This allows the tenant to break the terms of the lease at one month’s notice in the event that his or her position in Hungary is terminated and they can provide proof to that end. The pain of losing your job should not be compounded by having to pay rent on a property you no longer live in.
#3. Renting an Apartment in Budapest: housing law tends to favour the tenant
The Hungarian housing law (lakástörvény) actually tends to favour the tenant, and any contract clause that contradicts the law is considered invalid. The key of course in all such contracts is to reach an agreement that ultimately avoids the need for resolution via the courts.
Finally, before moving into your new home it’s vital to document the condition of the property to avoid any misunderstandings later. Most tenants accept some small fault or imperfection when they move into a property, and to avoid being charged to fix that fault at the end of the lease it’s important to write some kind of handover protocol, and ideally to have it witnessed when both landlord and tenant sign it. Ideally you should also take photographs of every room and specifically of anything that isn’t perfect when you move in.