The rental market in Ukraine is relatively new and hasn't established all the necessary rules yet. Soviet heritage, with its foreigner- incomprehensible laws, still has influence on rental rules in the form of renter frightening registration. And a touchy fear for their property forces landlords to check on their property personally instead of simply having the insurance clause in the contract.
Glib Denisenko, a real estate specialist who has been working on that market for 20 years already, author of blogs about real estate practices and life in Ukraine https://rent-in-kiev.blogspot.com and http://landlord.net.ua, will share his thoughts about Ukrainian home rental market specifics exclusively with Destinations' readers.
Temporary tenant registration seems to be the most difficult and important rule of home rental by foreigners. To attain a long term visa (upwards of 90 days) to live in Ukraine, it is necessary to have residence registration. This means that this owner needs to register the tenant in a passport office in accordance with the lease agreement. Landlords dislike this practice very much, as it brings to mind the "propiska" (registration of residence), which gives a tenant the right to share the property. Furthermore, in the case of a malicious tenant, who doesn't take himself off the registration at the end of the lease's term, the landlord would have to terminate his registration in court.
Since April 2016 the rules have been simplified both for foreign visitors and Ukrainian citizens. The most drastic difference concerns the length of the actual process of registration. Sometime ago this procedure took from five to ten days, now tenants are registered within a day.
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So I recommend discussing the question of registration at the stage of rent negotiations, and definitely to include in the contract the landlord's responsibility to register the tenant within 3 days of signing the lease. Likewise, for the owner's piece of mind, you can sign an end of registration form in advance, with the lease's end date.
While signing the lease, it's imperative to be ready to pay the guarantee deposit ranging from 1 to 3 months of rent. Usually this deposit is returned after the end of the lease agreement. Importantly, don't forget to specify a deadline for the return; otherwise, your former landlord will only keep promising to return it.
Times to visit the tenant's home
As it was mentioned previously, landlords in Ukraine don't really trust insurance companies and prefer to check the state of their property personally. I advise you to negotiate a comfortable visit schedule right away, specifying the time of visit (maximum once a month). It's necessary to think of penalties and fines for breach of contract as well.
The optimal visit schedule would follow the payment schedule: if it is monthly payment, then a visit should take place once per month, etc.
Also, it's important to agree on the rules of displaying the apartment during the last month of the lease. If you are against this, then it's important to let your landlord know this in advance.
Payment in USD
One more thing related to home renting in Ukraine is the link between rental pay and USD. The possibility of rental pay in a stable currency is the main (but not the only) reason of why international renters are preferred by the majority of property owners. It seems, on the background of constantly devaluating UAH, it's understandable.
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As for the rest, the agreed rules at the moment are as follows:
• Monthly (sometimes quarterly payment).
• Guarantee deposit of 1-3 months of rent is paid with the first rent payment, and is returned after the end of the lease. Sometimes landlords prefer to get payment for one or two final months instead of guarantee deposit and this is specified in the agreement.
• Utility bills (electricity, heating, etc.) are paid on top of rent fee.
• Fixed phone line, TV and Internet services are unusually not included in the rent fee.
• Maintenance services (front entrance services, technical building maintenance, intercom, concierge, etc.) are usually included in the rent fee.
• Underground parking spaces are usually not included in apartment rent fee.
Recently, due to UAH devaluation, inflation as well as due to decline in terms of the average earnings of Ukrainians, most landlords make compromises in order to keep or attract tenants. The following bonuses are among the common ones:
• Inclusion of TV and Internet services into the rental fee.
• Free parking.
For economy class apartments some landlords are even ready to partly cover heating bills.
As for the opinion that Ukrainian landlords raise rental fees for foreigners, this isn't exactly true. Actually, the only true thing is that landlords ask international tenants to pay in USD or EUR (and mostly in cash), and not in UAH.
The truth is, that trying to retain or attract an international tenant, owners are ready to give various bonuses: from free parking to a free of charge last month of rent. Tenant has to pay the rent in time and keep the apartment in good condition. In this case he can count on additional bonuses such as discount on the rent, additional facilities, furniture etc.
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