You're right on both counts, I have heard that said before.
I did a word of mouth thing and only got offered rubbish in Wroc's worst streets. I did poster ads and only got 1 reply from a block I didn't even advertise at.
A flat with not far from a thousand views on Gumtree but no takers refused my offer of 10% off the asking rent, even with me saying I'd not want the garage space and would rent it from Monday (ie tomorrow).
Landlord merely said:Witam,
Warunki zaproponowane nie są do przyjęcia.
So, it's going to just sit there unlet until he finds someone who pays full whack and takes the garage, and if that's another week and he loses 600zł or another month and he loses 2000zł it doesn't matter because at least he will get his price and full rent. No problem there at all. None whatsoever. Can't see any flaw in the mathematical logic, no sir.
Just beggars belief he'd rather not see 4000zł in his hand tomorrow and instead risk it empty for however many more days until someone else comes along and perhaps rents it for no longer than I would or even a shorter period. However, a little digging reveals the flat is owned by a company in another country, in E Europe!!
(No way am I increasing my offer, that garage space is worth far more to him than the 10% discount I requested, I've been very fair and he can kiss my behind.)
Agent got back to me today to tell me I can forget it if I want a 3-room at 1600, as there's only 1 on her books sub 2200. Her fee is 50% of a month's rent.
2 other agents got in touch and politely told me to pizz off when I suggested a month's rent as their fee was pretty high (that's 350GBP)
More and more of the good stuff is only with agents. Among the direct landlords, prices are higher for the privilege of not having an agent fee to pay or that's how it seems.
I placed 4 flats on my watchlist on Otodom yesterday. One day later, 2 have already been let.
Flat to rent, Wrocław (dolnośląskie, Krzyki) Date added: 2013-02-10. Offer active.Polecam do wynajęcia 3 pokojowe mieszkanie po remoncie/odświeżeniu w 2013 r. Mieszkanie znajduję na prestiżowym osiedlu "Rezydencja… more »Add note
1 500 PLN 60 m2 Flat to rent, Wrocław (dolnośląskie, Krzyki) Date added: 2013-02-10. Offer inactive.NAJEMCA NIE P£ACI PROWIZJI! Do wynajęcia 3-pokojowe mieszkanie z miejscem postojowym w nowym budownictwie w okolicy ul. Przyjaźni. Mieszkanie o… more »Add note
1 500 PLN 58 m2 Flat to rent, Wrocław (dolnośląskie, Krzyki) Date added: 2013-02-10. Offer inactive
.Nowe budownictwo, 3-pokjowe mieszkanie z balkonem 58m2! Do wynajęcia komfortowe 3-pokojowe mieszkanie z balkonem, w bardzo atrakcyjnej… more »Add note
1 300 PLN 48 m2 Flat to rent, Wrocław (dolnośląskie, Krzyki) Date added: 2013-02-10. Offer active.::DODATKOWY OPIS | Nowe dwupokojowe mieszkanie na Borku. Mieszkanie jest rozkładowe: salon, sypialnia, kuchnia, łazienka z WC oraz dwa balkony.… more »
However, over on Gumtee I can see several flats that have been available for a month relisted. It's patchy but generally most of the good stuff goes fast, unsurprisingly.
One of the suddenly inactive ones is not let, merely relisted, so the old ad became inactive.
I also notice some flats that were privately advertised without success are then given to an agent at the same price. This could mean that some landlords would slice an amount off the monthly rent -- because surely the rental agents charge them (and often the tenant too) if they find a tenant. Food for thought! My advice: haggle!
It's a weird market out there for rentals.
One reasonably priced flat's live-in owner landlord wasted a very nice agent's time - when I said I was going ahead, the owner wanted far too much as the deposit. Additionally, she was supposed to be moving in a week but there was no actual visual evidence of it.
Another landlord told me they'd sign with me (I offered the asking price) and they signed with someone else instead for no known reason.
And another had priced her flat at 15% more than an identical (and actually possibly superior) flat on the same estate. When I asked the landlord to match the price of the other flat, I was totally ignored. The other flat was superior in furnishings, my only concern was the agreement. Today, the landlord or landlady who ignored me is sticking to her price and the flat remains available.
There are also a lot of flats that I see on Gumtree and Trovit that are seeing their rental prices being reduced after many weeks of unrealistic landlord expectations.
But, in some locations and some streets, things are very much better and even steep prices do not deter tenants. Which makes me wonder where their money's coming from, but perhaps they are the lucky ones with good jobs.
It seems more often than not, the agents have the better properties at more realistic prices -- but most agents charge a one-off fee to the tenant of 50% or more of the monthly rent. Increasingly, though, agents are volunteering to charge me nothing and only charge the landlord. I can also say that of the agents I've met, they seem far less shark-like than the majority I met in Britain. Or perhaps they're just wolves in sheep's clothing...
(One last point - check an agent's contract carefully, even with various awards or whatever, there's no guarantee their contract will be kind to the tenant.)