By: Li Novak
Belgrade, Aug.13 ,2009 (Serbia Today)- There are about 100 000 people subleasing apartments in Belgrade, most of them, students. When looking for a place to rent, one can experience number of inconveniences and technical difficulties.
The best and the easiest way to find an apartment is through friends or some kind of recommendation. Otherwise, those seeking an apartment are left with ads in local newspapers or agencies that charge brokers’ fees for their services. These agencies are usually behind 85 % of all ads. If one chooses a cheaper way, ignores the agencies and looks for a place alone, a lot of time will be lost on the telephone, since the ads do not specify if the offer is private, and a direct contact with a landlord can prove itself to be more than difficult.
Attractive advertisements like a 2 bedrooms apartment in the center of the city for only 150 EU, are often not true, and serve only to connect a client to the agency, looking for a provision. In reality, a one bedroom apartment in the center can not be found under 250 EU while for a 2 bedrooms, 400 EU is a minimal price. If one decides to look away from the center, like in a New Belgrade, finding a small apartment is impossible since there are almost none, so 250 EU is the price.
Most landlords also demand a deposit, usually as high as one month’s rent. All together with a provision taken by the agency, the price reaches well above the average income in Serbia. Most agencies, take their provision with a job done; however some take money in advance even though they often fail finding the appropriate apartment that the client was expecting, in which case he/she is repeatedly offered apartments they don’t desire until they find themselves giving up.
“Finding a place to live is very hard”, says a student from Cacak who has already changed 4 apartments. “It’s unbelievable what people are offering and charging for, these days. Broken furniture, windows that don’t work properly, or a landlord, living in the same accommodation with no doors between rooms.” she says. Because of that, she is very frustrated and often, for this reason, has difficulty concentrating on her studies.
The married couple from Velika Plana with a 3 year old daughter, complain that having a kid is a serious handicap when looking for a place to rent. Some landlords simply refuse to rent an apartment when there are kids involved. Kids mean trouble, they say, they are loud, brake things and are often spoiled. This family lived like this for almost 10 years. Not easy with a kid, they say.
The student of Philological University of Belgrade says that, with her parents having very low income, she can only afford a room with a landlord present, which causes her number of inconveniences. “They often behave as if I am not paying, as if they are doing me a favor”, she says. “They count how many times I take a shower, decide if I can have a friend over or comment what time I came back last night. Once, I was even asked to leave straight away, without prior notice.”
The best solution is having a rental agreement; which can also be difficult, because landlords want to avoid paying taxes on their capital income. Students usually join together and rent apartments with roommates. That way they can have a place to themselves and split all the bills. Altogether, buying your own place can prove to be the best idea, even with today’s high loan prices.