This time let’s talk about how to avoid getting screwed by a landlord in Barcelona. Have you ever been blamed for something damaged in your flat which wasn’t your fault? Or have you ever been accused breaching the contract for no good reason? Don’t worry it happens all the time. Personally I have been through some tough landlords myself. Renting a new apartment can be a very fun experience or a living nightmare. That is why I want to share some tips you can use to avoid such annoying and stressful situations.
A lot of real estate websites these days provide virtual tours for their future tenants to view. Pretty cool, right? Whilst this is a great new way to appreciate a flat and its features in depth from the comfort of your own chair at home, this should not be your final step of the viewing. You should also be aware of landlords attaching false photos of the apartment online.
Make sure you can spare half an hour and go visit the flat personally. What happens more often lately is that people make rushed decisions and even sign a lease contract without even paying a visit to the flat they are entering. As you can imagine a lot of times these people feel disappointed in their decision just because they haven’t had the chance to try out the TV first. So, gang, to avoid being disappointed in yourselves I advise you to book a viewing for the apartment of your interest and don’t ignore this general rule of accommodation-hunting.
Bad landlords have the tendency to blame you for damages you haven’t done just because they don’t want to spend money to refurbish the flat after you leave. And because you might have forgotten to inform them of any at the beginning of your lease, they’ll try and ‘outsource’ the repairs to you. One of the most popular ways to get screwed by a landlord in Barcelona.
A great way to avoid this is by taking pictures. And I mean a lot of them. Find every nook and cranny where a sticking nail or a scratch cold be placed and photograph it for evidence. Don’t worry that your landlords might find you fussy or weird. You are in your right to know everything about your future temporary home. Also this would be a perfect time to point out any flaws or damages to your landlord that you want fixed. You should print up the photos and have them attached to the contract as an annex.
A good way to guarantee your satisfaction with your future flat is to literally touch everything. Sometimes landlords would intentionally keep information from you about malfunctioning or broken appliances. This is when you come in. Don’t hesitate to test anything you might consider dodgy. Make sure that you will be comfortable with every piece of appliance and furniture in the flat. So a few good things to try out would definitely be the bed in the bedroom, if you are a passionate TV lover, the TV set is a must. Another thing you should make sure works properly are the faucets and the showers. You would be surprised how many times tenants forget to check the water pressure in the shower, which makes showering a not so relaxing experience as it should be.
Don’t be afraid to demand a repair on something beforehand. But be aware, if the landlord doesn’t get to it before you guys sign the lease be certain that any future problems you might experience will not be dealt with very quickly either.
It is always a good idea to know what you are getting into. Unless you have a friend or a family member working for the CIA or any of the other Intelligence agencies, I suggest you conduct your own background check on your landlord.
Talking to the neighbours to get some insight on your landlord would be one way. Despite the common believe that you should keep your nose out of other people’s business, neighbours sometimes hear or see things unintentionally (or not) so checking with them might be bring you some leads.
Previous tenants would a good source too. A lot of times landlords would have their previous tenants’ contact details and emails so you could always request that from them. As a first-hand experience in dealing with a landlord, ex-tenants would give you the most insight and best advice about the homeowners.
The following advice is supported by personal experience. If you are a student on an exchange program or a professional who is being relocated to another country and you do not speak the language of the country in which you’ll be entering an apartment, then my dear friends, have that lease translated and legalized.
Sometimes you are just too excited to travel to another country and all you want is to find a flat quickly so you can go out and experience your new life. And when the moment comes to sign your lease, because you are that excited and overwhelmed you sometimes overlook a few details. Well, gang, that guy was me a few months back. Not being aware of one tiny detail about my lease led to a whole month of stress and sleepless nights. Even if you can’t get it translated (In Barcelona for contracts to be binding they must be in either Spanish or Catalán, you have other choices. The best is to get them to send you the contract a few days before you sign so you can take it to a third party (friend or lawyer, or google translate) and make sure that it is above board and standard.
So if you are a victim of the monster called ‘language barrier’, always ask for your lease to be translated beforehand or at the very least verbally translated to you. It is always good to have a copy of your new contract in your native language (or whatever language you can speak) in case your landlords are trying to pull your leg.
Another useful thing to do is before you sign the lease, get a copy of it from your landlord and send it out to anyone you may know that can help you ‘decipher’ it and scan it for issues. Again from personal experience let me just say that moms are ALWAYS right. True story.
There you have it, gang, the best tips to ensure you will never ever will be screwed by a landlord in Barcelona. Following these 5 steps will make your apartment-hunting much easier and much more satisfying for you. Tell us in the comment section below if you have had any crazy experiences with bad landlords.
Now for your joke:
Q: If you were to drop a Slug and a Landlord off the roof of the 600 foot tall Calgary Tower, which one will hit the ground sooner?
A: Who Cares?