A cottage for holiday: some useful tips

 Staying at a countryside cottage for summer holiday is a perfect idea for family rest in Ukraine. Those, who don’t own ‘dacha’, rent a cottage not far form their job location or even share house by a few families. Parents, engaged with permanent job, commonly opt for accommodation within up to 30 km distance around their cities (taking the Ukrainian highways hardly allows driving at speed over 60-80 km/h that is too time consuming). If your job doesn’t demand regular presence at the office (and corresponding with your budget size) you may search for a cottage in some recreational areas – Odessa region, Crimea or the Carpathians.

Frankly, the sophisticated locals take care about the place for summer holiday already in late winter-spring: the best ‘quality-size’ accommodations are being booked beforehand the high season. Nevertheless the market is still wide and the following advices on long-term renting a cottage or apartment by Svitlana Bovsunovska, the legal expert on real estate, President of Ukrainian public organization ‘The Experts league of Ukraine’ are definitely to be of use.

Where to search for options? Are web sites worth trust? Should I address a real estate agent in the particular area or may deal with my local?

Dominant majority of the objects to rent or sell are promoted via the real estate agencies or the private brokers. Those advertisements (either on Web or in specialized print media) are placed by the agents. ‘First hand’ advertisements are common a commercial hook – as well as some very attractive options by seductive cost – just to make you call. So, you can hardly avoid an intermediary if not only you know the house owner personally. But don’t be afraid of dealing with the agency (if it has a proved profile and positive history). They have access to the all-Ukrainian property databases and facilitate you to find an appropriate option in the defined region. As regards advantages of the local agencies, better awareness of local destination peculiarities, history of the objects, pricing scope and other weighty details would be of use here.

Whoever you approach, ask the agent to provide you with the detailed internal plans, photos of the rooms and facility rooms, definite location on the map.  It is strictly advised to look around the house personally – in day time - before the contract signing up. It is great if you have some local acquaintance to accompany you for the repeat visit to communicate neighbors about some practical details, the owner of the house, its history etc.       

What should I pay attention while addressing the agency?       

Personal endorsement is the best advertisement any time. The others: a solid agency has permanent location; it is obviously operationally alive; it may show the valid state registration license, the charter of association, the professional certificates.

Commission and payment: who, how much, when?

A tenant is charged for a half one month rent cost as a fee (though sometimes the owner is commission payer). Payment to be done upon the contract signed up. Some agencies may ask for some advance payment – take the receipt on the fact of payment.  

Payment for the first and the last months is paid upon the contract signed up as well. If the owner is a registered private entrepreneur, you will not obviously face some attempts on ‘tax optimisation’ (the relevant tax fluctuates between 15-17% for the owner). If not, you may be asked to split your payment by some scheme that is more risky for the landlord than for the tenant - just be careful with the contract conditions.

Don’t forget to get aware about payment for additional services – if they are included in price or extra on that.

Some recreational destinations provide the local tax of 0.5-1% on cost of a tourist’s staying.

What the contract options are not to be lost

We strictly recommend making a bargain just in fully legal way.

If your Ukrainian is poor, insist on the 2-language contract. You should be allowed to take the contract draft with you to consider with your legal consultant before signing it up. All the deal details should be stated properly. It is worth not to forget to put the following issues into the document:

  • The detailed specification of the premises equipment, internal services, furniture, commodities and its state ‘plus’ their photos as the contract appendix.
  • Insurance policy against fire, natural disasters etc. availability.
  • If you need a temporary registration (for foreigners which are going to spend more than 90 days in Ukraine), statement the owner must provide you with all the relevant papers and facilitate communication the relevant authorities.
  • Clear agreement on the owner’s visits procedure (when, how often, on which condition).
  • Definite notice of charges for additional services (municipal services, service staff wages etc.).
  • Statement on natural equipment (refrigerator, washer, cooler etc.), furniture, carpets etc. depreciation to avoid potential demand on overhaul afterwards.
  • In case of the owners change, the new one assumes all the obligations by this contract.

The contract for less than 1 year term is not to be notarized.

Tricky issues to be checked before the contract signed up

Your agent should be professionally acknowledged of that, but we refer it once more.

The house owner’s possession right should be proved with the following documents:

- for the building: the state certificate on property right or purchase contract (or other proving document) and the technical certificate (‘passport’);

- for the plot: the official act on the plot possession or the relevant proving document.

Important notification: the contract on rent should be signed up with all of the owners of the possession.     

How to terminate agreement if some drawbacks arise during the contract term?

That reservation should be put in the contract beforehand. This is the reason why personal preliminary familiarization with the accommodation and the contract conditions specification is of such an importance.You may insist either on elimination of defects at the owner’s expense or on total termination, implying refunding for the rest of term.


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