Not everyone rents accommodation officially, that is, with the conclusion of an apartment rental agreement. Although this document can save both parties from financial losses and conflict situations. Below we tell you why you should conclude a rental agreement, what is included in the document, whether it needs to be certified by a notary and other important information.
What is an apartment rental agreement and why do I need to sign one?
A rental agreement (officially a tenancy agreement) is a document that records the terms of the rental transaction between the landlord and the tenant. The document regulates the relationship between the parties and protects them in the event of a dispute when renting a place to live.
The key provisions of the contract are specified in the Civil Code of Ukraine in Chapter 59 "Lease (rent) of dwelling". They also include the term for which the contract is concluded, the amount of rent payment, the area of responsibility of the landlord and tenant, the terms of the contract termination.
In what cases is a contract for renting an apartment made
Not all landlords enter into a rental agreement with tenants. Although if the landlord decides to rent out the apartment long-term, he or she must draw up a rental agreement and give it to the tenant for both parties to sign.
Here are a few reasons why it is important for the landlord to draw up a lease agreement and sign it with the tenant:
- to avoid penalties from the tax authorities for undeclared income;
- to protect yourself from financial losses due to property damage;
- To have an official record of the tenants in case they move out unannounced along with the owner's property;
- to fix the rent price not only verbally, but also in writing;
- to be able to officially increase the cost of rent in certain circumstances (pre-specified in the document).
The tenant is also interested in the rental agreement. On its basis, the landlord will not be able to evict the tenant before the specified deadline without returning the money. In addition, along with the contract an acceptance certificate of the premises is signed. It describes the valuable property, state of repair, etc. The landlord will not be able to make a claim against the tenant for a broken faucet if the deed states that it was already in such condition at the time of renting the apartment.
What an apartment rental agreement contains
A standard residential rental agreement for 2024 is easy to find on the Internet, although it is best to draw it up individually. The document should contain general information about the property to be rented, the personal data of the owner and the tenant, etc. The contract should include:
- the exact address of the dwelling;
- a document on the basis of which the housing belongs to the owner (title documents for the residential property)
- real estate area;
- a list of furniture and equipment (if any);
- technical and other characteristics of the apartment;
- payment of utility bills and additional services (security/internet)
- the specific amount of rent payment, the method and timing of rent payment, and the timing of rent renegotiation;
- the term of the lease (term of the contract);
- passport data and signatures of both parties.
There may be other additional clauses in the rental agreement to prevent disputes. These points are stipulated in advance and written in the document in the appropriate column. With official confirmation of this or that information, it will be much easier to prove your case.
What does a typical apartment rental agreement look like?
If you are looking for and renting an apartment with the help of a real estate agency, in this case a realtor will take care of all the troubles of finding an apartment and drawing up a rental agreement. A specialist will prepare documents for a specific object, which will take into account the interests of both the owner and the tenant.
If you are looking for a place to live on your own, you can print out a model rental agreement. If necessary, you can make adjustments to it. You can find the form on the Internet, all you have to do is print it out. Together with the contract, you should also print out an acceptance certificate.
What is an Acceptance Act for an apartment for rent
The Acceptance Act is the official confirmation of the transfer of real estate for rent to another person. It is an important part of the rental agreement that helps avoid many conflicts.
The act should include a detailed list of furniture and appliances, describing their condition, if possible add photos. Also in the deed of acceptance, you can specify the meter readings.
Like the contract, the deed is drawn up in duplicate and signed by both parties. After the deed is signed, the tenant is responsible for the preservation of the property.
What to discuss before signing the contract
All unclear points should be discussed even before signing the rental agreement. The ideal option is when the landlord provides a template of the contract, the other party studies it, then makes changes and immediately prints out a final document that can be signed.
What should be clarified and discussed before signing the lease:
- the value of the rent, the terms or conditions under which it will not change;
- how many people can live in the apartment;
- whether you can move in with small children or pets;
- for how long the owner rents out the apartment;
- what property is transferred for use and in what condition it is (furniture, appliances);
- whether the tenant can make repairs to the apartment and whether this will reduce the value of the rent;
- Who pays the utilities - the tenant, the owner, in half;
- under what conditions a lease can be terminated.
All of this is worth discussing in advance and, if possible, detailing it in the tenancy agreement. This will avoid most controversial issues, such as "who has to pay for water" or "why did we make repairs, and you did not reduce the rent by the amount of expenses incurred".
What is important to check before signing a lease
To avoid problems and not to fall into the hands of fraudsters, it is important to check some points before you sign a rental agreement. So, what you should do:
- Check the passport of the landlord.
- Ask to see the title documents for the residential property. These can be different documents, including a certificate of ownership, purchase and sale agreement, certificate of inheritance, deed of gift, court decision recognizing ownership rights, certificate of privatization or another document registered in the State Register.
- Talk to your neighbors. Ask if they know the owner, if tenants change often, etc.
- Carefully read the rental agreement and clarify all the unclear points.
If the owner refuses to show his passport or documents of title, citing "next time", "forgot to bring it", etc., it is better not to mess with such a person. With a high probability of this scammer, who just wants to get the money and that's it. You should sign the contract only after you have made sure who is in front of you and that this person is the rightful owner of the apartment.
If the apartment belongs to a brother, friend, or wife, and the named landlord is just "helping" to rent it out, the tenant should sign the lease only in the presence of the real landlord. It is not uncommon for a legal landlord to be unaware that his apartment was allegedly rented to other people.
The rental agreement is made in duplicate, signed by both parties, with each party keeping a separate copy. Only after the contract has been signed by the landlord and the tenant should the latter hand over the money to the landlord.
Payment is usually made for 2 months at a time (the first and the last month of stay). Upon payment, it is worth taking a receipt from the host, which indicates the amount received, the timing and date of payment.
Is it necessary to notarize the lease agreement
When planning to rent an apartment officially, many property owners wonder if a notary is needed when making such a deal. A notary is necessary, but not always.
If the lease term of the residential property does not exceed 2 years and 11 months, you can draw up an agreement simply in writing. All the important points are written in the document, and then the parties sign it. The participation of a notary in this case is not required.
If the lease term is more than 35 months of years, then you will have to have the document notarized. This entails additional costs and taxes. What to pay and in what amount:
- notary's services - negotiated cost;
- military fee - 1.5%;
- state fee and the Pension Fund fee - 1%.
You have to pay a total of 2.5% of the transaction amount, which is specified in the rental agreement. There is also a separate fee for the notary's services.
Let us consider a concrete example. The apartment is rented for 10 000 hryvnia per month for 3 years. The amount of taxes will be 9,000 hryvnia plus the services of a particular notary (it could be 400 hryvnia, depending on the city).
If the landlord wants to reduce the amount of taxes, he may have the idea to specify in the contract a conditional rental price, for example, 1 000 UAH. This should not be done, because the tenant will have every right to pay exactly 1 000 UAH rent for housing. No oral agreements to resolve the situation will not help. The court will be on the side of the tenant, because there is documentary evidence with the signatures of both parties, which states that the rent price is 1 000 hryvnia.
Is a rental agreement not certified by a notary valid?
Article 811 of the Civil Code of Ukraine provides for a simple written lease agreement. Even without a notary's certification, such an apartment rental agreement will be legally valid.
As mentioned above, it is not necessary to notarize the contract unless the tenancy is for a period longer than 35 months (2 years 11 months). The owner can find and print out a suitable model rental agreement for residential real estate, make adjustments to it, and submit it for the tenant's signature. The owner can also use the services of a realtor, who will draw up the necessary document himself.
Is it possible to break a rental agreement and in what cases
An apartment rental agreement can be terminated due to certain circumstances. The document can also be terminated at the initiative of one of the parties or by agreement of both parties.
Article 781 of the Civil Code of Ukraine describes the circumstances in virtue of which a lease agreement may be terminated.
A rental agreement can also be terminated prematurely in case of a serious breach of its terms by one of the parties. Thus, Articles 782-783 of the Civil Code specify the following factors that may become a reason for the property owner to terminate a rental agreement early:
- The tenant has not paid rent for three consecutive months;
- the tenant uses the property for purposes other than its intended use or in violation of the terms of the contract;
- the tenant, without the owner's consent, gave the apartment to other people for use;
- the tenant creates a risk of damage to the apartment due to negligent behavior;
- the tenant has not begun to carry out major repairs to the property, although this obligation was imposed on him under the lease agreement.
Not only the landlord but also the tenant has the right to prematurely terminate the apartment rental agreement. This is described in article 784 of the Civil Code of Ukraine. In which cases the tenant can terminate the contract:
- if the owner has transferred housing whose quality does not correspond to the terms of the rental agreement and the purpose of the property;
- if the owner fails to fulfill his or her obligation to make major repairs to the apartment.
Other grounds for premature termination can also be written into the rental agreement. This can be an emergency condition of the house through no fault of the parties, changes in certain environmental conditions, force majeure circumstances (as in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic or active military operations in the rented housing), etc.
How the lease is terminated
According to Article 763 of the Civil Code, each party has the right to cancel the rental agreement at any time. But it is important to notify the other party in writing 3 months before the expected date. The contract may specify another term for warning the party about the termination of the lease.
If the owner of the residential property plans to evict the tenant in order to live in the apartment personally or to provide it to relatives, he/she must inform the tenant at least 2 months before the expected date of eviction. Disputable issues are resolved by agreement of the parties or in court.
The acceptance of the apartment when the tenant is evicted is carried out according to the Acceptance Act, which was concluded before renting the apartment. The document is an argument in disputes concerning repairs to furniture or appliances.
How to renew a rental agreement
If the parties do not intend to terminate their cooperation, the rental agreement may be extended automatically after the original term. This can be read in Article 764 of the Civil Code of Ukraine. It states that if the tenant continues to use the dwelling after the expiration of the rental agreement, in the absence of objections from the landlord within 1 month, the document is considered renewed for the term previously established by the agreement.
It is also worth noting that when renting an apartment for a long term - 1-5 years or a notarized contract, tenants get more rights. In particular, they have the right to priority renewal of the contract in the case of the end of the lease.
Is it possible not to draw up a lease agreement
It is possible to rent out an apartment for a long period of time without drawing up a contract. But it is important to understand that this is unofficial and the owner is breaking the law by such actions. If the landlord has decided to rent out the apartment without a rental agreement, he simply looks for tenants and takes money from them in an agreed amount. Also, many owners put forward such a condition as a mandatory insurance premium in case of damage to the property. Among the advantages of such an approach for the owner of the apartment is the absence of taxes and no problems with the eviction of tenants.
The lack of a rental agreement can cause serious harm to tenants. The landlord can evict tenants from the apartment at any time or change the locks on the doors when they are not home.
To avoid problems with renting the house for a long time, it is best to contact an experienced realtor. A specialist will draw up an individual contract with the help of a lawyer, stipulating the terms, rights and obligations of the parties under the current law. A correctly drawn contract protects both the landlord and the tenant.
If you are looking for a place to rent, you can also contact a real estate agency, which will find suitable options for apartments, check the owner of the property, carefully examine the rental agreement and the act of acceptance of the property provided by him. A qualified specialist will do everything possible to prevent any unpleasant situations for the client related to the rent of the apartment.