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Average czynsz in Poland-> average cost of utilities/admin for an apartment that you own?

AKarp 1 | 3
10 Mar 2019 #1

I am a dual citizen (Australia/Poland) looking to buy an apartment in Poland (Raciborz)

Other than mortgage, I'm obviously going to have to pay czynsz costs/fees, regardless of whether I am living in the house or not.

Question 1: As I don't intend to be there all the time, I was curious as to whether all properties have per-usage charges for electricity/water, or whether I need to carefully avoid flat-rates?

Question 2: Also, what kinds of monthly fees do people believe would be reasonable for a 2 room apartment (between 45m2 and 55m2) in a large blok, in Raciborz? If someone (who feels they live in a similar situation) could provide me with their actual monthly bills, that'd be fantastic. It's going to be just me, and I'm very thrifty with water and power when I want to be (I realise winter may be expensive on power, though!).

Question 3: Of that estimate, how much less do you think it might be when I'm not living there? (Aka. not using any water/electricity).

Question 4: What kind of security do I have against admin costs, and repair fund costs, radically changing? What kind of laws keep those in charge of the buildings, from suddenly doubling the costs without fair reason (like a sudden emergency repair being needed)? Do those in charge of the building have to disclose how they spend the repair funds each year?

Question 5: On a slightly different topic, the cheapest price I can easily see for an apartment in Raciborz that matches that description, is 110k zloty. It's quite modern, right in the rynek, and on a decent floor. This makes me assume that there must be less-well placed, less-modern, higher-up apartments that are cheaper. Yet in the past 2.5 months, I've never seen anything at all online below about 110k (in Raciborz). Would I be correct in assuming that these properties probably exist, but that maybe people aren't playing to have them photographed and listed online? Do reckon once I get there, and start checking physical notice boards and such, I might be able to find something cheaper than 110k? (That's small but 2 roomed, under 6th floor, not stripped (aka has at least a basic kitchen, bathroom, light fittings))?

Obviously my plan to buy an apartment isn't entirely cost-effective, since I will not always be there. But I wish to avoid any major rip-offs, in terms of being cheated for admin/repair costs for things that aren't being done, or being charged for water/gas/electricity usage, when I'm not there.

Kind regards,
10 Mar 2019 #2
1. Most buildings I know of have estimeted usage bills that are revised once a year at which point you may be asked to pay a bit more or you'll be given back some money (usually by paying less on your next bill). That goes for all utilities including central heating

2. I believe around 600 but I would have to ask a friend that lives in the area. A lot depends on who administrates it. MZB is cheaper but behind with renovations most of the time. Spoldzielnia is most expensive but has certain perks (electricians on call, mostly renovated buildings etc). Wspolnota varies a great deal, depending how organised they are.

You can find some bezczynszowe places without admin costs but then you have to organize yourself things like snow/leaves removal, renovations etc.
Please remember the admin will require access to the flat few times a year and make sure you are there or arrange for someone to let them in or uou may find yourself without a gas etc.

3. Have no idea

4. MZB is operated by town autorities, the rest is flatowners association so you can take part in meetings etc. They all put aside a little of the rent towards renovation. Usually if they increase the rent they tell you why. And yes, once a year they give a report. However with the spoldzielnia it may be weird. They may say they spend 500 000 on renovation but nothing on your building that year.

5. Are you looking on Polish websites?
OP AKarp 1 | 3
10 Mar 2019 #3
Hi Jaskier,

Thank you for your responses!

That's very useful information. I didn't realise that there were a number of main... companies? (Are MZB, Spoldzielnia and Wspolnota, companies? Organisations?) that tend to administer the buildings. It's good to know that I can probably research the administrators of whichever places I look at, then. (I thought they'd mainly be privately owned, which would've made it harder to find out if they were OK or not).

It's good to hear you get a summary of how the fees are spent! By the sounds of it, I'd be more interested in buying an apartment in a block managed by MZB. I'm not after anything particularly fancy, and would like to keep my admin costs down. If they're associated with the town authorities, would I be correct in guessing that they tend to run the older, Communist-era bloks? Everyone I spoke to in Poland disliked them, because they remind them of the Communist regime. I kinda like the colours they paint them, though. We don't really have anything like them at home, so that's probably why I'm fond of them.

As for websites, yes, I've been looking on sites like otodom and olx, as well as the websites of a few agencies that are based in Raciborz. Closer to the date (September), I'll contact agents to see if they know of anything.

Thanks :)
10 Mar 2019 #4
In the past ppl weren't supposed to own flats and houses. So you had MZB to offer housing to more needy, and spoldzielnia were ppl were able to buy some shares( well, kind of) and have the right to a flat (not ownership, just the right to live there till the rest of their days)

MZB in that area owns usually old, German townhouses. The socialist blocks painted in different colours will be most probably Spoldzielnia or Wspolnota. I believe there is only one Spoldzielnia in Raciborz. As to wspolnota...

When ppl got the right to own the flats and started buing them out some decided that Spoldzielnia is ripping them off and decided to break apart and create their own admin teams On the plus side you really get more done with the money, the all depends on your neighbour. In spoldzielnia everything is sorted by a group of admins, in Wspolnota, the group of neighbours. Can be treaky.

Ppl hate Communist blocks because they are tiny and often very badly designed and built wit crappy materials (like aluminium electricity cables that break all the time)

Check Nowiny Raciborskie
terri 1 | 1,664
10 Mar 2019 #5
One more thing you may have to keep in mind. If you buy your flat outright and then own it, you will be liable to pay tax on any profit if you sell it within 5 years. Say you buy it for 110K pln and sell it for 120K pln 2 years after, the profit of 20% will be payable on 10K pln.

You may go to estate agents to look for suitable flats, but they will charge you (find out before you sign anything) for finding you a flat. When you go and actually look at flats, ask the owners how much they pay for czynsz per metre. In this czynsz there will be the costs of keeping the flat.

This is very important - make TRIPLE sure, that the person in front of you actually selling the flat has a right to do so (that is to sell) and that they actually own it. Get your solicitor to look at 'ksiega wieczysta' for the flat.
OP AKarp 1 | 3
10 Mar 2019 #6
Hello again!

Aha! Cheers Jaskier. I see, that must be like what some of my older relatives have done. (I believe my grandmother was in a situation, where she didn't own the flat, but could live there for the rest of her life).

I'm also glad to hear that there's a "good" reason for disliking those blocks, other than association with the regime that built them. I must admit, as someone who has never lived in an apartment, I do live with a certain fear of structural fires (why are there no smoke alarms in Polish houses?!) and building collapses. I also worry about harmful building materials, so will be very careful when renovating! So maybe I will think twice about some of those older, cheaper buildings.

Wspolnota, which I guess is equivalent to what we call a "body corporate", is a reasonably common thing for units here in Australia. They are made up of the owners of the flats/units, and have rules about what colours you can paint the outside of your building, and how to split costs for driveway repairs. (Usually, you would be responsible for any repairs of your own part of the building - anything that was clearly owned by you - as opposed to a wall between two units). This could be a preferable situation for me, as working closely with my neighbours will be better for if I'm overseas, than working with a big company / administration.

Thanks Terri, I do need to be careful of all the professionals I'm going to end up paying, yes. But I think that it's mostly the same in Australia, so I don't think I should get any particularly rude surprises?

In Australia you:
1) pay the amount that is being asked for the apartment
2) pay a fee to the real estate agent who finds its and organises the paper work between you, the seller and your chosen solicitor
3) pay a fee to your solicitor
4) pay "stamp duty" to the government. This is a large tax. It is about 3 - 4% of the total value of the property. (Cheap $210,000 property? $6500 or so stamp duty. Blergh!)

As for capital gains tax if I sell at a profit within 5 years, I intend to keep it for longer than 5 years, else the cost of buying it will be pointless. If I sell it before then, I'll be happy to make a profit at all, so that's ok :P

Thanks so much for your advice so far :)

terri 1 | 1,664
11 Mar 2019 #7
In Poland we do not have a 'stamp duty' as in your no 4). There is a local tax, but it's usually less then 1 zl per metre per year. Once you buy, the solicitor will advise the town council and they will send you the necessary paperwork.
inkrakow 1 | 98
11 Mar 2019 #8
1. Most properties have meters, so you're charged a standing charge and a fee based on usage. Check and compare with the utilities companies - it's all pretty straightforward.

2. I pay about 50PLN for electricity and 150PLN for gas every month, and over the course of a year it evens out pretty much (around 90m2 flat in an old building). In our building not everyone has a water meter, so it's charged per person living there - works out to be around 10zl/person/month. We also pay 15zl/person/month for rubbish.

3. If you're not using gas/electricity then only the standing charge will apply, and you need to talk to the building admin to see if they'll make allowances for when you're not there. They might not want the hassle though...

4. To build on what a poster above wrote:

MZB = municipal/public housing. By definition, you can't own it so it's a non starter. It's also in short supply and reserved for those in most need.

Spoldzielnia = cooperative. You usually own a share in the coop and pay an admin fee, but if you're not comfortable with that, you can get the deeds to your flat set up and also pay them a fee to administer everything. A coop usually has multiple buildings under its administration and can negotiate better rates for things because of its size.

Wspolnota = a property management company set up to administer a building (usually just one). The shareholders are the owners of the units in the building. There's a board elected by everyone, and annual accounts have to be submitted like any company. The board appoints an administrator (usually a company that specialises in building management) to do the day to day running of the place. The charges are set at an annual meeting and agreed by a majority vote - both the administrators renumeration (between 0.9-1.3PLN/m2/month), ongoing costs (around 2PLN/m2/month) and a sinking fund (1-10 PLN/m2/month). Any changes have to be voted on and agreed by a majority, so unless something goes drastically wrong and the board decides that they need additional funds, you should be able to set a budget for the year.

My view is that as a prospective buyer into a wspolnota, you should ask to see the accounts for previous years. If they won't give them to you or say there aren't any, then beware. As with any organisation like this, if everyone is in agreement you can get a lot done, but if there are a few uncooperative owners and the administrator is lazy, then it can be a very frustrating experience.

5. It may just be that the market in Raciborz isn't very liquid and not much gets sold there...

One other thing - our 'stamp duty' is the PCC. For real estate sales its a 2% tax paid one-time on the value of the transaction payable to the notary. Property taxes, payable on an annual basis to the local authority, are much lower and handled by the administrator who pays out of the money collected for the ongoing cost for the building.
OP AKarp 1 | 3
14 Mar 2019 #9
Cheers for the additional information, people.

It's good to hear that PCC is at least a bit cheaper than our stamp duty, then.

Ah, yes, I figured standing charges would still apply. I'm not going to bother trying to negotiate that.

Aha, I see. I was confused about the MZB bit, somewhat. I had thought it was public housing (aka. not owned, but given out by the government), but some people had commented about buying it. I guess they must've meant in the sense of those who paid for the right to live their apartment for life, like I believe one of my grandparents did. Or something. Anyways, it doesn't matter exactly, as long as I now know that MZB is indeed public housing (not on-the-market housing).

I'm thinking a wspolnota sounds like the best idea still, currently.

inkrakow 1 | 98
17 Mar 2019 #10
One correction to what I wrote above - it's the owner of the individual apartment who is responsible for paying the property tax to the local authority, not the administrator. In any case, it's usually peanuts.

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