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Is our Landlord in Poland trying to scam us?


Confusedstudent
22 Sep 2016 #1
Hello!

We are three international students who have been living in an apartment in Krakow for a year now. We just moved out and we recieved a handwritten list of what the landlord wants us to pay for. Some of the damages we know about and are willing to pay for, but some of the prices she is asking just sounds ridiculus!

Here's the list:
- 2 lightbulbs in bathroom - 220 zl
- Lightbulb livingroom - 168 zl
- Paint for walls - 900 zl (30 litres)
- Painters - 4512 zl
- Cleaning - 190 zl
- Extra electricity/heating - 300zl
- "Beaten up" mattress - 898 zl
- "Broken" bed - 1100 zl
- Broken lamp - 1500 zl
- Broken lamp nr.2 - 900 zl

Total: 10 687 zl - 5000 zl in deposits = 5687 zl

1) The apartment is 95 m2. In two of the bedroom a little painting (about 10 small pieces) of paint has fallen off after we took down two posters we had hung up, and in the livingroom there is simply just dirt around on the walls around one of the light switches. I believe it's unreasonable to pay 900 zl + 4512 zl for paint and painters to fix this. Am I wrong?

2) I have no idea what she even talks about when she says beaten up mattress...

3) The bed is not completely broken. One of the supporting planks broke when one of our friends simply sat down on it during our first month of renting. Are we responsible for paying a full amount for a full new bed?

4) The broken lamp is broken, yes that is our fault, but it is a simple lamp hanging from the roof costing only 300 zl in the country we are coming from. Is asking 1500 zl for such a lamp okay?

5) Broken lamp nr. 2 is not broken at all. We took out the "protecting coating" around the lightbulb so we could get more light from it. I told the landlord that the screws and coating was to be found on top of the dresser right next to it.

6) We paid 5500 zl in deposits, not 5000 zl. We have it written in our contract.

What should we do about this? Where we come from, many of these damages are defined under "normal use/wear and tear".

Please help us! We are very desperate for help as we think she is just trying to scam us. We are not familiar with Polish Civil Code, so we might be wrong about all this, but it just doesn't seem right. We will appreciate all feedback! Thank you so much!
Gshegosh - | 8
23 Sep 2016 #2
Get an outspoken Polish friend of yours to shed some commmon sense light on her in Polish and talk her out of her demands. Preferrably, a student of law who can speak at least a little bit of the legal lingo.
dolnoslask 6 | 3,074
23 Sep 2016 #3
"kombinować" (to Contrive) is a national pastime in Poland, get someone to do a list (In Polish) of what you think you should pay for any damages, repairs and cleaning, also point out the error about the deposit.

At the end of the day bureaucracy in Poland works both ways and the landlord is unlikely to take the case to court, sadly you may not get a return from the deposit you paid unless you are prepared to take the landlord to court.

30 liters of paint = 360 square meters of painted surface , you must have had a big flat.
Atch 16 | 3,366
23 Sep 2016 #4
we think she is just trying to scam us.

Certainly sounds like it.

I told the landlord that the screws and coating was to be found on top of the dresser right next to it.

In fairness, you should have put it back as it was before you distmantled it. You're responsible for leaving a place in the condition it was when you moved in. It's up to her if she wants to replace it. Get a price for a similar one.

The broken lamp is broken, yes that is our fault

You're only obliged to replace it with one of similar value. Check out the price of a similar one.

bed broke

during our first month of renting

Did you inform the landlord at the time? If not, then for future reference it's best to let the landlord know immediately in writing so that you can sort it out at the time and avoid this kind of confusion in the future. She can claim that as you continued to use it in a broken state, it's now damaged beyond repair.Maybe the bed is repairable and maybe not. She's saying 1,100. Ok, so with the other items I've already mentioned, that probably doesn't come to more than 1,500 to 2,000 in total leaving her 3,500 or 4,000 for repainting the two bedrooms..........

For the other matters, tell her in no uncertain terms to get stuffed. Put the things you agree to on paper, talk to her on the phone or in person about the other things and read her the riot act. You have to be very forceful, do a bit of shouting, waving arms etc. It's awful and not the way I'd choose to conduct myself, but I'm afraid that's only thing Polish people respond to in these situations. They will walk all over you otherwise. If you're a guy though, stand well back from her while you're shouting so that you don't appear as if you're physically threatening her! Shout in English if you want to and don't worry about whether she understands. As other posters mentioned, you probably will have to settle for not getting a penny of your deposit back but she won't take things any further. Chalk it up to experience and learn a costly lesson from it.

For future reference, always take photos when you move into a property showing condition of paintwork, furniture etc. Then take more photos when you move out to show the condition you left it in. Do without your posters as they're a b*stard to get off without at least leaving marks on the wall. If you feel you must have them, buy cheap frames in IKEA and lean them against the wall. It looks quite nice and arty :)

Clean the place thoroughly before you go.
Leave everything as you found it. If you've moved furniture around, taken down pictures or curtains, whatever, put it back as it was.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,846
23 Sep 2016 #5
"kombinować" (to Contrive)

oooh I finally understand what my Polish friend meant when he used to say 'stop combinating'....LOL thanks Dolno.

OP in your situation, I would replace/fix the things that you can, and then tell her to do one.
Was there not a deposit?
Harry
23 Sep 2016 #6
What should we do about this? Where we come from, many of these damages are defined under "normal use/wear and tear".

in Poland they are too. Just replace the broken lamp and then tell her you want your deposit back in full or you'll see her in court. Also tell her that you'll be reporting your loss to her tax office, along with all of the other payments you've made to her. That's the key threat. She almost certainly hasn't been declaring that income and paying tax on it.

Then when you've got your money back, report her to the tax office anyway.
Anna2016
23 Nov 2016 #7
- 2 lightbulbs in bathroom - 220 zl - this should be 10 zl
- Lightbulb livingroom - 168 zl this should be 5 zl
- Paint for walls - 900 zl (30 litres) do you have before and after photos of the apartment?
- Painters - 4512 zl
- Cleaning - 190 zl
- Extra electricity/heating - 300zl
- "Beaten up" mattress - 898 zl
- "Broken" bed - 1100 zl
- Broken lamp - 1500 zl
- Broken lamp nr.2 - 900 zl

How in the world did you pay 5000 zl per person deposit?
Anna2016
23 Nov 2016 #8
Anyone else can confirm the following:
"You have to be very forceful, do a bit of shouting, waving arms etc. It's awful and not the way I'd choose to conduct myself, but I'm afraid that's only thing Polish people respond to in these situations. They will walk all over you otherwise."

Is is true?
terri 1 | 1,665
23 Nov 2016 #9
In those cases I always find it best to employ some body-building types (karki) to go with you. Those in the know will know what I mean.
Kerball
24 Nov 2016 #10
yes scammy. Some are really good artists when it comes to promoting their place no matter how crappy it looks. And as for some others, they took the money and that's it. The rest is up to you. In my experience, I reciprocate the same way as they treat me, because they need to learn something.
Jupas
25 Nov 2016 #11
although karki can cost you more than the rent, right ?
terri 1 | 1,665
25 Nov 2016 #12
You can always come to some sort of an agreement with them.
As regards costs that a landlord is claiming - I would only pay on an invoice or a receipt which he should be able to provide. If not, 'karki' can advice him to do so.
Anna2016
26 Nov 2016 #13
what invoices or receipts?

an owner is a private person, not a company.

private persons cannot issue invoices or receipts
terri 1 | 1,665
26 Nov 2016 #14
When I said invoices or receipts - this was for the work carried out by professional firms, for any goods that he purchased. If you purchase a light bulb you get a receipt from the shop. A landlord should keep all these to show to the tenant the cost of items replaced.
Anna2016
28 Nov 2016 #15
I am curious how and why was justified to pay 5500 zl deposit... if the OP is still around
GoodGirl22
20 Dec 2016 #16
op, any news to your horror story?


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