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Need a Tenant-Rights Lawyer

Hello,

My husband and I are currently trying to "check out" of our previous apartment (we've already moved into our new one) and our abusive landlord is refusing to allow us to leave (lease ends Sept 30th) by holding our security deposit and not signing the forms to take utilities out of our name.  The reason we moved in the first place is because of his terrible treatment so this isn't too surprising but still very upsetting as he has 2,200 euros of ours.  Does anyone know of a tenant-rights lawyer in Budapest? We only have 3 days left so need one quickly...

Kind thanks,
Amie

I don't get it, where is the urgency coming from? Why are those 3 days relevant? Normally you get back the deposit AFTER the lease has ended and you've moved out.

Does the contract you signed say that the lease ends on that date? Then you'll need to pay the rent and bills even if you move out sooner. The landlord might choose to "let you go" sooner, but he has no obligation, even less motivation to do so.

Would you describe his abusiveness and terrible treatment? There certainly are a few "interesting" landlords out there, but based on the kind of stories I'm reading on this site, I'm more inclined to think that it's just miscommunication, and you'll just waste more money and time if you involve a lawyer...

A lot of tenants dont pay bills, and leave the rentals destroyed. Owners counter this by only giving back the cauction, if all and every bills have been paid. Also, he has no obligation to give you anything before the lease ends.

The urgency is coming from the fact that we agreed with him to check out sometime between now and the 30th and he is saying we will not get our deposit back unless we do certain things that he cannot legally ask of us (giving him an internet modem that is contracted in our name that we must return to UPC, refusing to sign papers to give to utility companies stating that we have moved out so we can get them out of our name as of the 30th, etc etc - long story). It seems he wants us to have to keep paying him rent even though our lease is over as Hungarian law states that if we are not checked-out of our apartment (whether he is refusing to do so for good reason seems irrelevant), we have to keep paying rent.  Also, we unfortunately signed a contract with terrible stipulations in it that Hungarians we are friends with have never seen before - we were very naive last year and he saw us coming a mile away!!

Of course our rent and bills are paid through Sept 30th - no issue with that.  We aren't trying to get anything back for moving out early - that totally wasn't the point of my question.  There have been countless abusive behaviors such as going into our apartment without asking first and leaving a mess after "fixing" something that didn't need fixing, going through our personal things, forcing his way into the apartment while I was wearing only a towel after I asked him to please come back later.  He speaks good enough English - these are not miscommunications.  We have secured a lawyer so no help is needed after all.

The owner cant just enter the property, you are even allowed to change the lock, without giving him the keys.

amieandjefim :

There have been countless abusive behaviors such as going into our apartment without asking first and leaving a mess after "fixing" something that didn't need fixing, going through our personal things, forcing his way into the apartment while I was wearing only a towel after I asked him to please come back later.

All this belongs in a police report.

Klsallee - You're right, it does!!  After this is all over (hopefully by this weekend), I definitely want to report this guy.  He owns several apartments in our building and only rents to non-Hungarians... now I see why!!  Ugh.

Sorry, what a mess for you.
Since you have already hired a lawyer I hope this gets resolved very soon.
You may have to wait for your deposit till after the end of the lease but then again, this is a matter for your attorney now.

We once rented a villa at lake Velence for a period of 6 months time back in 2000. My husbands oldest friends lived across the st,from this house and made all the arrangements for us since back then there was really not much in the way of rental agents and the owner of the house was only using it for about 6 weeks every summer otherwise the home was empty. Seemed like a good deal for all of us.
We knew he wanted use of his home for 6 weeks and we had no problem moving out for that time as we also wanted to explore other places on our long 6 month vacation.
Our son was with us, in his early 20's at the time.
He was alone in the large 2 story home by himself one day when 3 men entered the house, they were not expecting him there as they came up with a strange excuse on the fly. Said they came to pick up a poker stick for a fireplace? Yes, right...
Still a odd thing, my son had actually had the stick in his hand to defend himself and they just asked for it and left...
Think the home owner may of been in on that to rob us, they had a key when they entered the home.
Very creepy...I am just glad they didn't hurt my boy and left . After that we packed up our valuable items and dropped them off at my MIL home, just in case they returned.
We also felt very strange because no one in that lake side town does a thing without the OK of our ( ex now) friend. He was buddy buddy with all the police in town, he built most all of the shopping centers near the lake and owns allot of the land there.... He might of been in on that thing for some reason, small stuff for him , more of a power trip thing. People are weird sometimes.
The sad thing was they lived on the same block in the 5th district as children played football in old ruins , husband was friends when this guys dad was hung back in 1956. He had a twin bro and the 3 of them were super tight growing up. Sad really sad how money can change people.

I would listen to the advice first of my attorney BUT sad to say this will probably be a long month for you to finish out.
Hope it doesn't become too stressful.
I sort of know what my husband would do if he were you and being a non speaker of Hungarian.
He is stubborn as heck, I know he would not leave the old apt. empty, he would camp out there and have me sit there all day long while he was at work just so the landlord doesn't pull any "funny stuff" such as enter the property and do damages to the place himself and then try to blame you as to not give back your full deposit. Don't want to panic you but he does sound like a person who is hard to deal with.
Maybe go back with a witness or two and take some photos of the flat to show you left it in good order?

amieandjefim :

He speaks good enough English - these are not miscommunications.

Maybe you think that his english is good enough, but maybe he still struggles with it and doesn't even try to explain that he wants the internet modem to stay there so that the next tenant doesn't have to wait weeks until it's reconnected. Or maybe even if you understand each others words perfectly, none of you realizes that you're coming from different cultural backgrounds with different expectactions, and the same sentence/behavior that one deems friendly and extremely helpful, antagonizes the other because you don't take the time to clarify the aspects you deem trivial.

Probably it's not the case with you, but very often in the big stories with hungarians that the rest of members share, it's obvious that there was no malevolence, just cultural differences,  narrowmindedness and lack of patience on both sides.

That is true too, Hungarians do tend to be very direct and  it often comes off as rudeness with our western minds.
I have started to deal with people very directly too and have come off as harsh to my American friends.
It's not easy.
Maybe your landlord sees you as being in much of a rush to move out and his feelings are hurt in some way or the other.
Too late now to make amends though.
Still entering your flat while you are wearing just a towel is creepy.
The barrier of personal space is much different here.

Oh, Sept. 30th not Oct 30th for you lease to expire...Was posted on the 27th of Sept. I had not taken notice of the date. No wonder you were concerned about having only 3 days time.
Hmm, yes this is odd that he will not sign off on the place and the utilities...
I thought you had more time on the lease, poor you, you have had to shell out allot lately on lawyer fees.Really hope it works out, let us know.

Thank you for your empathy, Marilyn!!  You're right - there are absolutely no cultural issues/miscommunication problems present when a man physically forces his way into my apartment while I'm not dressed.  That is never okay and he DOES understand the word "No."  It is also not okay to enter an apartment to do work without notifying a tenant first (this is also stated in my lease) and proceeding to go through their things/leaving a mess.  I am a clinical social worker and have much experience working with those from other cultures and came here with an open mind and heart.  Abusive behavior is abusive behavior no matter where one is living though.  It seems Atom is unable to understand that some actions are just not okay and should not be deemed acceptable.  Some people are out to "screw over" others in all countries - it's just a fact of life. 

Move-out is done and thank God we had a lawyer with us as the landlord was terrible.  Our lawyer put him in his place (in Hungarian) and that made all the difference.  I'm happy to report that we received almost all of our security deposit back.  If anyone else has troubles like this, their website is http://www.arc-budapest.hu/index.php?op … mp;lang=en

Take good care,
Amie

P.S. For other expats moving here, it is also important to note that women are oftentimes not listened to by Hungarian men when there are issues.  I would ask my landlord multiple times to fix something and he never believed me that there was a problem until my husband called him.  I understand that is a cultural difference here but very good to note ahead of time.  He also got in the habit of smirking and rolling his eyes at me while never referring to me by name - only as "your wife" when talking to my husband.  It really wears on you after a while!! I feel so badly for single female American expats as I know many who have struggled with their male landlords.  So, if you can find a male friend at work, a neighbor, etc who can support you, that would be great!

Amie,

I am glad you got it sorted in the end :) and thank you for keeping us updated.

You said you got most of your deposit back, what was the money he kept back for?

Thank you, SimCity! Landlord said the apartment wasn't perfectly clean (even though we had to wash things when we took it over last year) so he took money out for that... It wasn't worth fighting over so we let him keep 18,000 forints which is what he said his housekeeper charges. Our lawyer thought it was high since the place was clean but we let it go - honestly just wanted to be done with it at that point!! Haha

Marilyn Tassy :

That is true too, Hungarians do tend to be very direct

I have personally found the opposite. I have found people here mostly very indirect. Very uninformative what they really want. Secretive. Almost sneaky.

Until..... when they think you are in the weaker position, then, and only then, are they very direct, very opinionated, to the point of bullying. And especially true if you are a women whom they consider "weaker". A patriotic society.

I always tell my wife, if you feel bullied. Bully back. That typically "puts them in their place" and ends it. Really one must at times p*** in all the corners here to show dominance.

Kisalle, You do have a good point.
I suppose my experiences have been rather " sheltered" with my husband always being the "heavy".
If I was a single lady, I know for a fact I would leave HU ASAP.
I have always been under the protection of my husband since I was a teenager of age 19.
I give my kudos to anyone coming here without knowing much of the culture or language.
In our personal contact with Hungarians they have always, well 90% of the time been very in your face with what they expect or want.
I am always 100% in your face with everyone, tends to not make me the most popular person but then again I can sleep like a baby most nights, game playing just isn't my thing. Wish it was sometimes...
The 10% who play games usually get bitten by us in the end.

It takes a very brave sort of person to move to a strange land.
Being a single women in a foreign country has got to have it's own issues.

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