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Renting a property without a real estate agent – try it yourself

Do you want to rent out your apartment or house and are considering putting yourself in the hands of real estate agents who can find you a tenant? When arranging a rental, a real estate agent is usually in charge of viewing the apartment with the prospective tenant, selecting the most suitable potential tenant, and arranging the contract and handing over the apartment. After the handover, his job ends. We will advise you on how to save money on real estate agent fees and choose the tenant yourself, as well as what to look out for when drawing up a rental agreement.

Pronájem nemovitosti bez realitky: Zkuste to sami
10 minutes of reading

Chapters of the article

Why it pays to rent an apartment or house without a realtor

Renting an apartment without a realtor has several advantages. Here are some of them:

  • Competitive advantage: The main benefit of renting an apartment without a realtor is that such an offer is attractive to potential tenants. It means that you are renting the apartment without the real estate agency’s commission and it works out much cheaper for them than renting the apartment through a real estate agency with the need to pay a commission.
  • Direct communication: dealing directly with potential tenants can lead to more direct and open communication, which can be beneficial when negotiating the terms of the lease, rent and security deposit.
  • You can search wherever you want: When you have the tenant search purely in your hands, you can target certain types of people. You can use various websites where rental apartments and houses are posted without a realtor to reach out to potential tenants directly. In particular, we can mention the site bezrealitky.cz, which offers renting apartments and houses cheaply without a realtor.
  • Better selection of tenants: thanks to personal tenant screening, you have more control over the selection process. You can thoroughly screen applicants, check references and select tenants who are more likely to be responsible and reliable.

Tip: If you’re having trouble finding a tenant, it’s worth considering whether to waive the security deposit. Many tenants prefer to rent apartments without a security deposit.

Renting an apartment or house without a real estate agent is not difficult

If you decide to search for the ideal tenant on your own and offer a property for rent without a realtor, you have nothing to worry about. A real estate agent won’t do anything for you that you couldn’t do yourself. What’s more, the real estate agent will take care of finding a potential buyer, arrange viewings of the apartment, but once the lease is signed, it’s all up to you.

Unless, of course, you find a company to manage the lease for you. The key to success and to finding the ideal tenant is the thorough preparation of the advertisement, including high quality photos, and its placement on relevant servers. A couple of viewings of the apartment, getting to know the prospective tenants and you can choose. However, don’t let your first impression be your first impression and check out the tenant.

Check out the potential tenant

Once you have identified a potential tenant for your apartment or house, be cautious. First and foremost, you should get some basic information about the prospective tenant that can prevent problems later on. No one wants to have problem and non-paying tenants in their apartment.

These next few steps will help you. Find out if your potential tenant owes money. Late payments, unpaid rent, and in the worst case scenario, a bailiff visit to the apartment. These are all risks if the tenant is in debt in any way. That is why we always recommend that you check out every possible prospective tenant. Registers and lists of debtors are often publicly available. How and where to check a tenant:

Google can help

It may seem like nonsense at first, but be sure to try searching for a potential tenant through Google. This way, you can easily find out what contexts his or her name appears in – whether it’s just work and study achievements, or negative references on social media or elsewhere.

You can also ask other questions of the prospective buyer themselves. Although you’re not guaranteed a true answer, you can already tell a lot from their reactions and behaviour. Ask about employment, reasons for looking for a rental, previous living arrangements or even hobbies.

The response to a request for a security deposit, which is more commonly known as a refundable deposit, will also tell you more about the potential tenant’s ability to pay. You should always ask for this to protect the furnishings of the apartment. It can be up to a maximum of three times the monthly rent and can be used to pay for outstanding utility bills or costs associated with damage to the furnishings in the event of any problems.

Fixed-term or indefinite tenancy?

Just as you would deal with renting through a broker, renting without a realtor is dealt with by either a fixed-term or an indefinite lease.

While an indefinite term contract can be terminated by the tenant without any problems, i.e. with a notice period, a fixed term contract requires a compelling reason for termination. This means, for example, that the tenant has obtained a new job in a location from which it would be difficult to return to the rented property. The tenant may have married and set up living arrangements together, or acquired his or her own apartment. Or the tenant may have found themselves in a bad social situation, for example through job loss or illness.

In special cases, the lease can be terminated immediately. These are usually situations where the landlord has seriously breached his obligations under the contract (e.g. the house has fallen into a desolate uninhabitable state). If such a breach occurs, the termination is effective from the date of delivery to the landlord.

Help with renting a property without a real estate agent

Contracts are absolutely key to renting a property without a realtor. These define all rights and obligations. That’s why it’s a good idea to get advice on your lease agreement from an experienced attorney. Everything else you can handle on your own. It’s even better that way, because you get to know your tenants better.

Sublets without real estate

If you have decided to rent out your property without a real estate agent, you can also sublet it in addition to the classic rent. This is particularly relevant for those of you who do not own a property but have a condominium. The relationship between you and the housing association is governed by a tenancy agreement, which means that if you want to rent out the flat to a third party when you are not using it, for example, you will have to use a sublet agreement.

Tip: Find out what to look out for when renting an apartment from a tenant’s perspective.

Another possibility of concluding a sublease agreement is when you already have a tenant in the apartment and the tenant decides to take someone in as a subtenant. A common example of this is roommates, such as university students, where the lease is between one of them and the landlord. The student can then directly sublet the room with the tenant.

Pronájem nemovitosti bez realitky může zvládnout každý
Pronájem nemovitosti bez realitky může zvládnout každý

Thus, the tenant usually chooses someone he or she knows for the sublet, which does not really require the services of real estate agents. Keep in mind that the sublet is tied to the lease agreement – if the lease expires, the sublet agreement automatically expires as well. In addition, subletting can usually be terminated without giving a reason. And if the subtenant wants to register his/her permanent residence in the apartment, he/she must ask for your consent.

Tip: Read when it is advisable to enter into a sublease agreement.

Landlord’s rights and obligations

Not only the tenant, but also the landlord has several obligations. Here are the most important ones:

  • Prepare the apartment or house and hand it over to the tenant – the first basic duty that a landlord has after signing a lease. The apartment must correspond exactly to the description and conditions agreed in the contract and be in a condition for immediate occupancy, unless otherwise agreed in the contract.
  • Provide the services necessary for the use of the flat or house – along with the provision of the flat, the landlord must provide the necessary services, such as water and heat supply, waste collection and so on.
  • Make subsequent accounts for these services – all services provided by the landlord must be properly accounted for under the law. This billing must be available to the tenant at all times.
  • Arrange for defects to be rectified – if, for example, a gas boiler, heating or similar equipment breaks down, the necessary repairs must be taken care of. However, the landlord is not obliged to carry out routine maintenance of the flat, such as drain cleaning, minor repairs to furniture, cleaning and so on, these tasks are carried out by the tenant.
  • The landlordmust not deny the tenant’s rights – prohibiting pets, business activities, receiving visitors or smoking in the apartment is quite common. However, these are unjustified prohibitions that infringe the tenant’s rights. If the tenant’s behaviour does not annoy or restrict other residents of the building, the landlord is not legally allowed to impose such prohibitions.

Tip: Learn how to properly execute a lease addendum.

Lease of non-residential premises

Let us start by mentioning that the legal regulation of renting non-residential premises for business purposes is somewhat different from renting a flat for residential purposes. In particular, it is important to pay attention to the negotiation of the lease agreement itself. Make sure that the purpose of use is properly agreed. In fact, the contract should explicitly state that you can use the space for the purposes of your business. This is good for the reason that, in principle, the tenant should not use the premises for any other purpose, or even for a completely different type of business than what was agreed in the contract.

What is the normal rental price of non-residential premises? It is a good idea for both the landlord and the tenant to study the normal rental price for non-residential premises before entering into a lease agreement. Price maps of individual towns and cities can help, showing the average price by location. The most desirable locations in the centre are usually the most expensive.

Rent or lease?

But renting commercial space doesn’t actually have to be rent at all. It just needs to fit into the box of a lease, a special relationship in which the tenant manages the leased property and benefits from its “fruits”. In such a case, everything will be governed by the terms of the lease and not the lease.

The difference with a lease is the relatively long notice periods; the contract can be terminated, for example, only once a year, so that the lessor cannot deprive the lessee of the proceeds of its long-term activity. A lease does not only have to be a classic agricultural lease, i.e. a lease of a field for the purpose of growing various crops, but also a lease of a restaurant or a gym.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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