- WHEN, WHERE & HOW TO LOOK FOR ACCOMMODATION
- PROBLEMS THAT MAY APPEAR
WHEN/WHERE & HOW TO LOOK FOR
The best time to start looking for an apartment if you want to find the best places around the university is the first day after you got your admission result. Never before. Never later. The Uniassist real-estate agency proposes a collaboration that does not require your direct presence here. That will help you save the cost of a trip to Cluj. The agency is available to start a correspondence by WhatsApp.
If you follow our WhatsApp group, you will get in real time all the new offers directly on your phone.
We will publish every available apartment on this group before it is posted on our website. As such, those who follow this group will benefit from the advantage of being informed the fastest, being able to block the desired apartment immediately. With the experience we have gained, we know exactly the kind of locations and areas that most of the students prefer.
Of course, Uniassist is available if you come in person to Cluj. In this case, we will help you familiarize yourself with the city and its culture, and we will try to find the home you are looking for.
Most of the students live in Centre, in Zorilor, Mănăştur or Plopilor areas. For students of UMF (University of Medicine and Pharmacy), the best locations are Zorilor and Centre, while for students of USAMV, the best locations are Center, Plopilor and Mănăştur areas. Although the homes in these areas are more expensive, there are great benefits. You don’t need to take a taxi in order to go to school, or to wake up an hour before leaving. In the breaks between classes, if you live nearby, you can go home to shower, change or relax, because occasionally you’ll have classes from dusk till dawn.
Remember: the location of the apartment is ALWAYS more important than the condition of the apartment.
Please consider the following tips:
- Pay attention to the distance to the university. Look it up on your smartphone and calculate the distance from the apartment to the university. 1500 meters far from school will be ok. That means 15 minutes walking.
- Usually, the rent does not include the charges. If the rent is 300 euros, that means you will pay 300 euros monthly directly to the owner, and, additionally, you will pay charges depending on how much you have consumed (water, gas, electricity) plus some fixed charges, such as internet or waste disposal services. On average, all costs (common charges plus water, electricity, gas, internet) should not exceed more than 70-100 euros for an apartment with an area between 40 and 50 square meters. But that always depends on how much you consume, or the conditions the residence offers.
- Do not sign a contract if you don’t understand what is written in it. Ask for an English and Romanian contract or use Google Translate.
- If you’ve paid a deposit and a rent, ask for the key of the house. Make sure you always pay directly to the owner, and never to a mediator. If possible, ask for a bank transfer. That makes the transaction safer and more transparent.
- There are some individuals or some students who rent houses to make extra money. It would be good to know something about them before making transactions with them. Usually, these people don’t legally earn their money. If anything happens, they cannot be held responsible.
- For a long-term contract, the owner will never raise the rent price. The strategy to benefit from more affordable housing: respect and be kind to the owner and, especially, keep the property clean without damaging it.
- SHARING AN APARTMENT. If you want to rent an apartment with several bedrooms, but you don’t have a roommate yet, it is best to find the apartment yourself, sign the contract, pay the guarantee, and only then find the roommate that suits you. During the season, the most requested apartments are those with several bedrooms. We guarantee that you will find a roommate very easily.
- In order to buy the necessary things for daily use, lots of supermarkets are waiting for you.
- In Romania, you don’t pay for home insurance or local taxes. These are the owner’s responsibilities.
PROBLEMS THAT MAY APPEAR
The biggest problems that foreign tenants have in Cluj-Napoca are related to utility costs. As a result of the complaints received, our agency has verified consumption-related expenses in several situations and rarely found irregularities. Meanwhile, we understood there is a huge problem. Comparing the expenses of one apartment with another, without taking into account the conditions that each of the two apartments offer, is a big mistake.
Here are some conclusions we reached:
- Most of the time, an apartment that belongs to a company, and not to a private person, has higher expenses, because, in the case of a company, certain services are not compensated by the Romanian state, as it happens in the case of a private person. For advantages and disadvantages, see details in the sub-chapter “Owners”.
- In Cluj-Napoca, even if the tenant does not live in the rented apartment, he continues to pay the expenses. There are subscriptions that work even when the tenant is not using the services of that subscription, and sometimes that subscription cannot be suspended. Common expenses, related to common spaces (including those related to maintenance) continue to be claimed, despite the fact that the tenant is absent. There are situations in which the tenant can ask the administration to stop all expenses. But these situations are very particular.
- In a building where there is an elevator, the amount requested for the maintenance of the elevator is divided equally by the number of apartments in the building, and doesn’t take into account the floor on which the apartments are located. For the maintenance of the elevator, the tenant of an apartment located on the ground floor will be asked for the same amount of money as the tenant who is on the 10th floor.
- All services related to building maintenance are divided equally among the number of apartments/tenants, regardless of the size of the homes.
- In the case of residences that belong to a single owner, the expenses are higher because the owner pays administrators, plumbers, workers, personalized cleaning services, security guards etc. For advantages and disadvantages, see details in the sub-chapter “Owners”.
In conclusion, comparing the expenses of two apartments that offer different living conditions is wrong and leads to frustrations and conflicts between tenants and owners. Please note that where conditions are impeccable, the price of maintaining those conditions will be commensurate.
In each ad, we present an average amount of charges. This sum totals all expenses, including internet charges. But the expenses will always be flexible, and the amount they will reach always depends on the consumption of the tenant, his way of life and the claims he has from the owner.
The security deposit (or the guarantee) is a sum of money that the tenant pays to the landlord and with which he guarantees that he will not destroy the property in the home or damage the integrity of the home. The money representing the guarantee does not belong to the owner, but to the tenant, but it is kept by the owner until the contract is concluded. There were some guarantee issues, but these were more due to misunderstandings of what the guarantee was.
Here are some conclusions we reached:
- The security deposit is not necessarily a rent, as some tenants believe or demand, nor two rents, nor three rents. The security deposit is decided by the owner and takes into account the quality of the home and the goods that the owner makes available to the tenant. For example, in the case of a 700 euro-rent apartment, with appliances totaling 5000 euro, a guarantee of 700 euro (i.e. one rent) does not cover possible damages. For this reason, some landlords require double or triple the rent as a guarantee.
- Sometimes the security deposit is not returned the day after the tenant leaves the apartment. In all cases, utility expenses are requested by the property management companies one month late. Many landlords keep the security deposit and use it to pay all expenses until the end of the lease, and then return what is left of the security deposit to the tenant. Example: Your contract ends on June 30. The landlord must return your security deposit. You leave the apartment on June 30. Invoices for June reach the owner only on July 30. The owner pays all the bills in July and August only, then he gives back to you what is left from the security deposit, via bank transfer.
- When signing the rental agreement, the tenants lock or reserve the apartment with the help of the guarantee. Since it represents the good intentions of the tenant, if he changes his mind, he will normally lose the guarantee in favor of the owner. However, many landlords are understanding and return the guarantee, even if the potential tenants have changed their mind.
- Every rental agreement has a notice. Sometimes, tenants ignore this notice and leave the apartment faster, requesting the guarantee immediately. In this case, the owner is forced to keep the guarantee to cover the unpaid months of notice. Example: It is May 1st and you notify the landlord that you want to leave the apartment. Your notice, written into the contract, is 60 days. This means that even if you move out of the apartment sooner, you still have to pay the rent for the months of May and June. The landlord will keep the security deposit until the two months’ payment is made. Upon agreement with him, you can give him the guarantee instead of the remaining two months. But you will also have to take into account the expenses related to the two months.
- In case you have any problems related to guarantee refund, please contact us. Our agency assures you that all landlords we work with are trustable. We have firmly and definitely ceased any collaboration with those owners who have proven, over time, to be inflexible, bad-intentioned and who have kept sums of money that were not legally theirs.
In the rental market, there are four types of apartment owners, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. During more than 15 years of activity in the real estate field, we have had to deal with all these types of owners. Allow us to introduce them to you below, pointing out the advantages and disadvantages.
1. The commercial company that owns a building with several apartments.
Advantages: the apartments are in new, well-maintained buildings, without mold, infiltration, they are well insulated, the common parts are always maintained, be it winter or summer, they are tastefully furnished, they are clean, they are well secured, they are well managed. Students who live in such buildings enjoy a community, neighbors who share the same interests and activities. In addition, they have all the conditions to study, because they do not have to spend their time managing the home, cleaning it, paying the bills. In case of problems, regardless of the time, they get immediate help. Example: due to exhaustion, a girl fainted, but was found by the administrator and was immediately taken to the hospital, where she received care. If she had lived isolated, in a residence where the neighbors are not interested in each other, finding her would have been delayed. We have observed that, in general, a high percentage of students living in these well-managed residential properties complete their studies. Because they are close to each other, they encourage and help each other. It is known that in a united community, its members are mentally healthier.
Disadvantages: The owners are rich people and they have employees who deal with the tenants’ problems from a distance, without emotional involvement. These people have to be paid, and their salaries are included into the expenses of the apartments. Therefore, those who live in such housing pay higher expenses. There are a few complaints about residential buildings of this type. Most complaints are related to expenses. Surprisingly, these residential buildings are fully rented all year round.
2. The owner who loves his apartments.
Advantages: the apartments of these owners are in new, well-maintained buildings, mold-free, leak-free, well-insulated, tastefully furnished, very clean. They are not as well secured, and the maintenance of the common parts does not depend on the owners. The expenses are not higher than in other apartments, but students sometimes have to manage their own apartment, pay their expenses or solve certain problems when the owner is not available.
Disadvantages: The tenant will be pressured to keep their apartment in immaculate condition, and sometimes will be forced to hire a maid, or will be forced to pay for a maid sent by the landlord. If he does not maintain the apartment properly, he risks being evicted, despite the fact that he has paid his rent and utilities up to date. What to do? Love is hard to control. There are many tenants who do not have a problem with this type of landlord. But many find it uncomfortable, and they quit their apartments.
3. The completely disinterested owner.
Advantages: Tenants are left to pay their own expenses, and have to solve any kind of problem themselves. That means they can save money. But after a few months or a year, many tenants come to the conclusion that it is better to pay higher expenses and higher rent to move into a spotless apartment. Other tenants, on the contrary, ask for a rent reduction, and they get it. But they live in deplorable conditions. The advantages are very small compared to the disadvantages.
Disadvantages: the apartments of this owner are in a deplorable condition, dirty, moldy, uninsulated, and if, however, they look good in the photos, on site the tenant will find many problems. The owner does not get involved at all in the problems that may arise in the apartment. It leaves the tenant to solve even big, urgent problems caused by flooding or breakdowns that only specialists can fix.
4. Balanced owner.
Advantages: This owner’s apartments are clean, mold-free, well-furnished, but not necessarily in new blocks, nor extraordinarily well-equipped. They are exactly the apartments a student needs. The price is balanced, the expenses are normal, because the owner jumps in to help, and does not ask for a remuneration for his help. The owner makes repairs after each tenant leaves, renews the furniture and appliances, intervenes if there are problems related to the walls or moisture.
Disadvantages: This type of owner is hard to find. However, the apartments that our agency mediates have, in the vast majority, such an owner.
What Can UNIASSIST Do?
Every time there were complaints, our real estate agency checked the problems and sent the tenants the conclusions reached after the check, advising them what to do. The conflicts that arise between the tenant and the owner do not involve real estate agencies because their role, in Romania, is very limited. The role of the real estate agencies is to identify the apartments, to carry out the intermediation for a fee, and to ascertain the will of the parties in the transaction.
However, the real estate agency Uniassist is willing to defend the interests of its clients. In many cases, we intervened firmly in favor of our clients. Our agency tried to amicably resolve the conflicts that arose between the tenants and the owner, and in most cases succeeded. We focused on changing the owner’s attitude, not forcing him to change his behavior. We took into account the opinions of the tenants and their complaints, and we intervened to change the illegal clauses in the contracts, to clarify the expenses that seem irregular and to increase the concern of the owner for the good of the tenant.
One of the big problems that most customers complain about is the harsh clauses found in rental contracts. Sometimes (but not most of the time), it is the landlords who insert these clauses into the leases. That’s because they draft these contracts to protect themselves, depending on the problems they had before.
Our agency has done and will do everything in its power to reconcile both parties, tenants and owners, if any problem appears. We need good, open, flexible owners and good houses so that we can offer our customers good accommodation conditions. We will search for more and more houses, and we will make sure that our customers will have a pleasant experience in their relationship with the owners. We will do everything in our power to offer a warm helping hand to all our customers who need accommodation in Cluj-Napoca.
Dear customer, we will always try to turn Cluj-Napoca into your home.
For any details, Dorin Muresan (English and French speaker) is at your disposal:
Tel./WhatsApp 0040 742504519
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