Passport magazine: Russian lifestyle
Home Archive December 2009

About Us

From the Publisher

Contact Us

Current IssueArchive
Restaurant GuideRestaurant ReviewsInternational Food BlogsWine TastingsTravelMoscow EmbassiesAirlines to RussiaMoscow AirportsCustoms and VisasResidence permitMoscow Phone DirectoryMuseums and GalleriesWi-Fi Hot Spots in MoscowClubs!Community ListingsMoscow Downtown MapMoscow Metro MapRussian LinksInternational Links
Advertise with Us
Our Readers - a profileAdvertising RatesDistribution List
Click for Moscow, Russia Forecast
Our Partners
Knights of the Vine RUSSIA


Not So Easy
By Andrei Sado, Director
Elite Residential Rental,
Penny Lane Realty

Andrei Sado

ear all, I would like to wish you a very merry Christmas and happy holidays! I think what we all need is a very long holiday. The past year has stretched us a bit, like butter over too much bread. What I would really like to wish you in this New Year is peace of mind. I think it is essential for human happiness.

In our last issue we discussed the wisdom of doing things yourself, and I promised to discuss some of the traps you should avoid if you still decide to go down that route.

One of the most important facts regarding Russian residential real estate is that 99% of it belongs to private individuals, people like you and me, which means that when it comes to renting, the process of signing residential rental agreement is new every time. Here you will not see a set contract based on tens of years of experience. The whole Russian residential rental market has really only existed for about 10 years. What you will see is an enactment of the ‘action-reaction’ scenario, which will always be diff erent for different landlords.

In order to react logically, and benefit from negotiations, you need to know Russian traditions, to speak Russian, including Russian slang, which may be THE most essential tool of all. Try to apply Harvard-style negotiation techniques and you will find your monthly rent increasing exponentially, because the landlord might think you are trying to fool him.

Intuition that is what Russian real estate brokers have, and sadly, that is what expats lack, and that is what commission is paid for. They simply intuitively know what to say and when to say it.

Second to none is the documentation trap. You need to know that you are dealing with the owner, and not his relative without power of attorney, or his friend or neighbour. Legal advice in this situation is priceless. Sometimes people rent properties from the owner, only to find out later that the property had several owners and they needed signatures of all of them on the contract. The contract itself is whole different ball-game; electrical bills, landlord’s visits, security deposit, payment plans and registration issues. Every section of the rental agreement could be trap, not because the landlord wants it to be, but simply because you did not even know what to discuss or expect. ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policies are very common here. You don’t ask them, they don’t tell you.

You have to understand that landlords who work with professional agencies, have ratings in those agencies based on the landlords’ history of behavior with tenants, and this information is very helpful when you are searching for your comfortable home.

Des res rooftops at Ostozhenka

Balustrade-studded Stalinesque flats on Prechistenskaya Naberezhnaya

Another issue which needs to be addressed is apartments which have been purchased by means of mortgage credit or municipal apartments under social programs. Owners of such apartments often wish to rent them out, and clients have to know all of the possible risks they are taking on by renting such properties. And if you don’t know what those risks are, you may find yourself be thrown on the street right before New Year’s Eve.

Among many hidden traps in the rental process, legal assistance by professional real estate agencies is the most fundamental of all. You cannot take the risk of not having access to specialized legal advice in a country where you have just moved, a culture which you are not familiar with, and a language which you probably will never learn. All you have to do is to trust a professional guide that can help you avoid those traps together.

Merry Christmas to You and a Happy New Year!

 Copyright 2004-2012 +7 (495) 640 0508,,
website development – Telemark
OnLine M&A Russia Deal Book
Follow Us