Property management companies are the middlemen who broker most transactions in the “grey” area.
Estate agents’ fees
By law, their fees are meant to be a percentage of the rental charge, but this is rarely respected. Two times the monthly rent in addition to a move-in fee are quite common. The market is to a great extent controlled by the agencies, so you will probably end up dealing with one.
It is important to remember that hiring an agency does not guarantee that the offered flats are actually inhabitable. You should always visit the prospective apartments several times.
Real estate agency’s obligations
If you are hiring a Czech agency, they should:
- Provide you with a description of the available properties with details of the property, contract, amenities and photos;
- Escort you to view the properties you have selected and make sure you get what you want;
- Make sure your contract complies the current jurisdiction.
Sometimes you may be asked to pay a holding fee. This is essentially an advance the agent will keep for the privilege of showing a flat. It is important to remember not to pay that. Additionally, you may be asked to sign an agreement not to negotiate with the flat owner or another agency, before you have seen the flat which you mustn’t sign either.
Important to remember
When viewing a flat you may be pressured to take it immediately and you may be led to believe that there is a long queue of people desperate to get it. This might be true for really good offers but a reputable agency will not force you to make an immediate decision.
It might also happen that the property shown to you may not correspond to the description of photos. In this case there is not much you can do but simply walk off.