Determinate the legibility of a lease contract

You found a flat that looks very nice, you don’t want to lose time, you want to see the contract right away. That is great! Still, keep calm and read this post to get to know what is important for you to pay attention at before signing it. I will provide you with few examples.

In Czech Republic, the landlord should be able to provide you a contract translated in English to make sure you understand the terms. The first thing to check is the level of the language: any spelling mistakes, grammar, and the kind of words are used. If instead of “termination of contract” you see “extinction” you can start a piece of paper and start writing down the correction you need.

The first information on the contract that should pop into your eyes are your contact details and the landlord’s: last name and first name, professional address (or personal if it is a private landlord), phone number, email address. You can request to compare with your landlord’s ID.

Only then you can through the different articles.

Start with the lease period: it must be written from when you can break the contract and what the notice period is.

Then, the amount you would be paying each month must be written in number and in letters. The rent can include only the rent itself or with the charges. It has to be clearly mentioned. If the charges are excluded, you must know how much you pay, to whom (landlord or electricity/internet/gas companies directly). That amount can vary according to the spending. The deadline is most probably different than the rent. You are also allowed to request the bills if you pay the extra costs to the landlord.

Obviously, the bank data must be written clearly as well. Usually, professionals don’t get this one wrong.

You must know when is the deadline to give the rent. Any unclear date like “the day of payment means the day on which the landlord will dispose on the corresponding amount” is only making you confuse. You can ask to change this for “Rent must be transferred by the 1st of the month”.

Don’t forget also to know the terms about the deposit: how much you are giving, how, and of course, how and when you get it back. Most of the time, you get it back during checkout.

You’ll get the amount you gave if there is no damage. You check this with the professional, so it is important to have a proper inventory from the day you moved in. Determine what are the pre-existing damages. To do this, you can take someone with you and film the viewing. If you still face new ones soon after moving it, tell your landlord by (e)mail as soon as possible, to have a written proof of what you’re claiming. The inventory must be clearly written down in the contract.

Other articles must speak about drugs use, pets allowance, noise curfew, repairs. This depends on each landlord’s preferences. Make sure you answer your obligation. As for the repairs, it must be clearly written how to request them, and how to proceed.

In the latest contract I’ve seen, there were written “The tenant is obliged to allow access to the owner into apartment”. This is totally wrong. Remember the Czech law about unnoticed visit: the tenant must know at least 24h in advance when the landlord is coming. If the landlord fails to do so, the tenant is allowed to change the lock on his own charge. Again, this last point might be a bit tricky. If there is an emergency in the property, like a fire starting, and the tenants are gone, the landlord must be able to enter the flat, or the authorities will have to violently push the door. The damage then would be your responsibility.

Of course, you should first ask the landlord to make those modifications. If he doesn’t want to, it is dodgy. Go away, don’t take the place even if you feel desesperate. It takes about 2 weeks in Prague to find an accommodation, the delay is okay. Better be safe and comfy in a hostel or Air BnB.

If you contract looks perfectly fine on the other hand, and everything is clear to you, remember to stick to your duty as well. Landlords also appreciate when they have nice tenants who don’t create problems.

You can also read this post about what the landlord is supposed to do and what you can do in case you face some issues.

You already got into a tricky contract? Or on the other hand you only wanted to inform yourself not to get into it for your next flat hunting? Let me know through this survey!

Finally, if you have some legal advises to bring into this project and bunch of articles, please write me here!

Hope this helps!

Photo: Flickr/ Informedmag