Power cut off - landlady missing

Hi guys,

My power was cut off yesterday and I found a letter in the power box. After using Google translate I figured that is was cut off due to lack of payment.

My landlady is nog picking up her phone, she did mention she was on holiday, but still I don't know what to do. Can I pay her bill? If so where? A I have is the letter from the electric box.

Even if she gets back today and finds my 100 missed calles will I still be powerless tonight?
At least the gas still works for now.

Any advice?

diederd :

Hi guys,

My power was cut off yesterday and I found a letter in the power box. After using Google translate I figured that is was cut off due to lack of payment.

My landlady is nog picking up her phone, she did mention she was on holiday, but still I don't know what to do. Can I pay her bill? If so where? A I have is the letter from the electric box.

Even if she gets back today and finds my 100 missed calles will I still be powerless tonight?
At least the gas still works for now.

Any advice?

If you have the giro payment thing showing the amount owed and you have that cash,   pay it at the Post Office immediately, then you'll have to go to the electricity company to arrange for them to put it back but you'll need a paper from the owner if it's in her name giving you permission to deal with it.  You do not need her permission to actually pay the bill.  You can try and get someone to call for you so as not to waste your time. They should see the payment has been made either same day or next day.   Or your landlady can phone them up from wherever?

Take the receipts and the letters you have with you (including permission to deal with it).   You might need someone to take with you who speaks Hungarian. 

If you have nice neighbours, maybe they'll let you have an electricity socket temporarily from their supply as it could take a day.

You can always withhold the amount from the rent but more worryingly, why has she not paid the bill? 

They give you LOTS of warning - multiple letters - so there's no excuse really for not paying it.   Each giro has the date due, so there could not be any misunderstanding.

How long has she been away or is she in another country (like Austria)?

I agree with Fluffy. Pay the bill if you can, have to go into the Power co. in person now.'
Thank Goodness it isn't too dark or cold yet.
I would contact your apt. manager and ask WTF is going on.
Perhaps your neighbors can help you out? maybe they know something you are unaware of.
Wouldn't it be sweet if your neighbor had a long cord and could give you some power while this issue is solved.
Let us know how this goes, still have 2 days left this week before the weekend and the businesses are closed.
We helped a friend get her power restored awhile ago, they do have emergency crews that work weekends but you do need to contact the power co. first.
You may need a native speaker to help you out at this point.Best of luck.
Sounds like the landlady got ill or skipped put of town.
These are the times we cheap Hungary isn't all that great after all....

Marilyn Tassy :

....
Sounds like the landlady got ill or skipped put of town.
These are the times we cheap Hungary isn't all that great after all....

Yes, I think so. 

It could be she kept the money she should have paid out and she's legged it leaving the OP up the creek.   There's the nuclear option - move out to somewhere else fast.

Could all be a misunderstanding. 

I lived in an apartment once where the two meters between myself and my neighbour were swapped.  We were paying his bill and he wasn't paying ours.  We only found out when two guys from the power company turned up to cut us off and we happened to be in.  We showed them the bills and meters and they went away to consult their superiors.  They were confused by the numbers of the meters.

But it took Mrs Fluffy about 6 attempts to get them to correct it.  Luckily the power company couldn't get past the shared main door and no-one was at home when they called. So they never managed to "get to us" over the period of about 2 months while it was being sorted.   

At the time, my neighbour was Japanese guy with a wife and kid on a posting from some company.  He went ballistic when he found out what was going on - basically he owed us loads.  He called the real estate agent and moved out within about 3 days.    In the end, we were credited with the amounts we'd paid by mistake. I don't know what happened after that but we got corrected bills thereafter.

fluffy2560 :
Marilyn Tassy :

....
Sounds like the landlady got ill or skipped put of town.
These are the times we cheap Hungary isn't all that great after all....

Yes, I think so. 

It could be she kept the money she should have paid out and she's legged it leaving the OP up the creek.   There's the nuclear option - move out to somewhere else fast.

Could all be a misunderstanding. 

I lived in an apartment once where the two meters between myself and my neighbour were swapped.  We were paying his bill and he wasn't paying ours.  We only found out when two guys from the power company turned up to cut us off and we happened to be in.  We showed them the bills and meters and they went away to consult their superiors.  They were confused by the numbers of the meters.

But it took Mrs Fluffy about 6 attempts to get them to correct it.  Luckily the power company couldn't get past the shared main door and no-one was at home when they called. So they never managed to "get to us" over the period of about 2 months while it was being sorted.   

At the time, my neighbour was Japanese guy with a wife and kid on a posting from some company.  He went ballistic when he found out what was going on - basically he owed us loads.  He called the real estate agent and moved out within about 3 days.    In the end, we were credited with the amounts we'd paid by mistake. I don't know what happened after that but we got corrected bills thereafter.

Sounds like you were in the Wars. horrible.Hungary isn't like anywhere else, that's for sure!
all fun and games nutil reality bites.

Was wondering if the power situation has been corrected or not yet.
Just remembered the power co. will ask for a extra fee to turn the power back on plus all bills must be paid up to date before they will turn it back on.
Without the owners permission though, they can not legally turn it back on if it's in her name.
Was wondering if she has been collecting the rent payments all these months when she didn't pay the power bills?
She it seems is breaking your contract with her.
Is there any reason she wants you to move out.
She sounds fishy, wonder if she will give back any rent deposits owed to you/
best of luck.

Marilyn Tassy :

Just remembered the power co. will ask for a extra fee to turn the power back on plus all bills must be paid up to date before they will turn it back on.
Without the owners permission though, they can not legally turn it back on if it's in her name.

If the OP's name was on the billing, he should have received all the bills and notices. He said he only saw the notice in the power box.

Which is why I say this OP should not pay the bills unless he is assured to bet power back on, which means going to the power company in person to ask. And if not, he may get no results and just loose the money.

Oh, sure, he could "deduct" it from the rent. The the landlady (or her heirs -- for all we know, the landlady may be dead.....) may then file a claim against him for not paying rent fully. The claim does not have to be valid or based on reality, but it could be another headache that may need to be dealt with.

klsallee :
Marilyn Tassy :

Just remembered the power co. will ask for a extra fee to turn the power back on plus all bills must be paid up to date before they will turn it back on.
Without the owners permission though, they can not legally turn it back on if it's in her name.

If the OP's name was on the billing, he should have received all the bills and notices. He said he only saw the notice in the power box.

Which is why I say this OP should not pay the bills unless he is assured to bet power back on, which means going to the power company in person to ask. And if not, he may get no results and just loose the money.

Oh, sure, he could "deduct" it from the rent. The the landlady (or her heirs -- for all we know, the landlady may be dead.....) may then file a claim against him for not paying rent fully. The claim does not have to be valid or based on reality, but it could be another headache that may need to be dealt with.

Yes, those are good points.

I assumed the landlady was just away from the OPs original post.  We've had landlords who mainly live in Austria and don't want to drive to Hungary.  In the end we just told them we would get quotes for fixes or whatever then they can authorise by e-mail and we'll deduct from the rent. Worked for years OK that way but who knows for others.

But yes, if it's not in the OPs name, that's going nowhere for a reconnection unless there's an owner's paper signed saying the OP can deal with it.

Believe it or not, we had some minor business today with the gas co and then the power co.

At the power co. I asked my husband to mention this situation you are in.
Sad to say,it's bad, nothing you can do without the owner giving authorization to you in writing.
I asked at the gas co. for a authorization paper which my own husband has to sign if I am ever to deal with them myself since it is in his name only.

Even if you pay the bill they can't turn it back on unless she gives the OK.
I am wondering if she is ill or worst case trying some scam to kick you out of the flat and tie you up in court for any monies  you are owed.
Please don't shoot the messenger.
My husband said he thinks if it doesn't get resolved with her soon you should try to see someone in your embassy in as they may be able to step-in and do something.
I am hoping you can hold back paying your rent coming up if she doesn't do what she should to help you out.
Bad luck, hey, even we got confused and upset here with business issues and my husband is Hungarian and speaks the language.
My friend had a minor plumbing issue and it took over 2 months for it to get fixed and she had to do all the leg work herself as far as finding someone to do the job. Lazy owners who just want to count their gold.
People will do just about anything low for a few extra bucks if they think one is an easy target. Best of luck.

fluffy2560 :

I assumed the landlady was just away from the OPs original post.

Maybe.

But as you said, the power company really takes a while to cut off power. That is a last result. After many written warnings. So being unable to contact the property owner is only part of the problem. This is not something that just happened recently, over the landlady's "vacation".  :(

klsallee :
fluffy2560 :

I assumed the landlady was just away from the OPs original post.

Maybe.

But as you said, the power company really takes a while to cut off power. That is a last result. After many written warnings. So being unable to contact the property owner is only part of the problem. This is not something that just happened recently, over the landlady's "vacation".  :(

I expect it'll take more than a month before they cut someone off.  Plenty of warning.

I am not sure they are allowed to cut people off in the winter (not that it's winter now looking out the window - it's summer again).

klsallee :
fluffy2560 :

I assumed the landlady was just away from the OPs original post.

Maybe.

But as you said, the power company really takes a while to cut off power. That is a last result. After many written warnings. So being unable to contact the property owner is only part of the problem. This is not something that just happened recently, over the landlady's "vacation".  :(

Yes it would take longer then just one or 2 months of non payment to get the power turned off.
Think that bill (check) comes out every 2 months if I'm right.
Gas is every month, cable every month but power comes out every 2 months, not sure about how often the water bills arrives in the mail.

When our friend had the power cut off and my husband went in with them to the power co. to pay the bill and late/turn on fees again we still had an issue.
It appeared the clerk dropped the ball and didn't send out a repairmen in a timely fashion.
The weekend arrived and still they didn't show up to the flat to do the work to hook it back up.
We had to contact the weekend emergency repairman.
The first one we contacted lived outside of Budapest and had already started his Sat. drinking spree and didn't want to come out, he gave us a phone number of a second out of town repairman who was willing to drive into the city and go to the flat.
It took hours of waiting for them to show up.
Only less then 5 mins to hook it up again once they arrived.
While we were waiting for the guy to show up my husband got up on a high ladder outside the flat to see if he could turn it on since the bills had been paid etc. We saw nothing illegal about trying to power it up again.
Couldn't do it, they have their own way of doing it or special tools, not sure but yes, a pro needs to come out and hook it up again.
It wasn't like this flat owner didn't want to keep updated on payments, it was a mistake with not understanding the bills that came out or something like that, seemed minor until the power was off.
I hate to be negative but if the landlord is suppose to make the power co. payments and has let it slide, there is another story to this issue.
Not sure what her angle could be but maybe she wants the tenant to move either to try and mess them up with their deposit fees or she has had complaints and wants them gone for some reason before the contract is up.
Who knows, sad when it's lights out early.

This is just awful!

But the OP needs to look at his lease and what does it say?

With us we pay rent and common costs which it clearly spells out a set amount and what that covers which is gas, water, electro etc. If his lease states that and he was paying and the landlord or who is supposed to pay this was not then yes he would have grounds to deduct that from the rent. Like if god forbid we had our power off one day then since we have paid the agreed amount every month we would take it out of the rent. Well honestly if that happened we would move out! That would be grounds of breaking the lease!

Is OP landlord the same as the owner?

With us at least the owner is a guy that lives in Egypt, never met him never spoke to him even but he has a paper that is official, since immigration accepted it so i would say it is, that gives the landlord the power to do things in his behalf and is responsible for all things dealing with our flat. That landlord is a Hungarian guy and his name, moms name, address etc is on our lease which once again is submit to immigration. And our lease is in both Hungarian and English which is a good thing.

Point i am saying is if his lease, landlord is scamming him there should be at least a way to handle it.

Now i know how this is, our lease states that major repairs are the owners responsibility, once again in Hungarian and English so why did we have 2 to force the landlord to do something he is supposed to do? I do not know.  We thought we were going to have to move over this as not repairing a major thing was clearly a violation of the lease. We of course did not want to do this. So my dad after giving our landlord 2 mos to find and get the repair done and he doing nothing at all, i had to find someone, a fellow expat that has not even been in Hungary as long as us mind you and speaks less Hungarian than us which is zero! He hee. We had it replaced and deducted it from the rent. Which is what the lease says we can legally do. In fact our least says if after 3 days of telling the landlord he does not fix it or start the process we can do what we did. Dad and i gave him much longer to try to be nice.

Long story short was our landlord trying to scam or have an evil plot? Nope just pure lazy! We had recpicts of the things brought at OBI, a though signed labor cost with the guys full name and his residence permit info etc all that to show what we were deducting from the rent. Our landlord did not even bother to read any of that! Just was happy it did not take the whole month of rent. And told us he was glad we found someone and did all the work. Dad asked him if that was a problem for him or beyond his abilities he should of just told us. I mean he is a landlord that is his job, and well he is Hungarian i would of thought he would of known how to find someone! He told us he was too embarrassed to admit he could not do this!

I think there is a lack of professionalism going on in regards to flat rentals. But OP is dealing with something else really. I do not understand why if the landlord, owner wanted them there they would not do this. I mean keeping a good person in that pays the rent each month would be be worth it. I thought about if we had this situation well of course we would move as this would be a reason to break the lease. Now if we moved clearly from the owners standpoint that means he does not get that steady rent every month, and if we had to do this then we would have to contact immigration, get new documents etc and at least since our owner is on a business residence permit i really doubt he would want to risk issues with that. 

I am curious to know what happened to the OP?

Yes, think we are all waiting on a follow up report on this issue.

FeliciaOni :

Long story short was our landlord trying to scam or have an evil plot? Nope just pure lazy!

Well, there is kind of a scam and evil plot there. The landlord got you to do all the labor and time to plan, buy parts and correct the problem. That time is money. Money the landlord did not have to spend. But you had to spend it, and could not bill it to the rent since you had no receipts for "your time". ;)

FeliciaOni :

I mean keeping a good person in that pays the rent each month would be be worth it.

Depends on the market. If there are more people wanting to rent than spaces available, the landlords can get away with more, because there is always someone willing to replace you who may also pay the rent, but complain less.....

{The landlord got you to do all the labor and time to plan, buy parts and correct the problem. That time is money. Money the landlord did not have to spend. But you had to spend it, and could not bill it to the rent since you had no receipts for "your time". }

Well that is where you are wrong, that was added into the labor cost! Labor was the guy doing the job and ALSO our labor in the fact we had to do all this.  We did charge this and this was part of what was taken out of the rent.

I am not sure what real estate people are saying, but i will just say for district 2 on Bem Rakpart there is not "someone willing to replace you who may also pay the rent, but complain less." Our flat was empty or only short term rented for 4yrs before us. The listing company told us that the owner will only rent for signed 1yr or more, which was a problem as many of the Hungarians were not willing to sign that long. Then even we were going to look at a different flat as this one was taken, then the company said they backed out when they found the owner was Egyptian, 2nd person other than us told the company they would not rent to a non Hungarian person. The owner paid a real estate company to list, show and deal with all this up front then once they find someone that is legit they are done and the landlord takes care of the monthly things ie collect rent each month, pay the services, repairs etc.

When we told our landlord we were going to look at other places to rent and not sign for more years the landlord said the owner agreed to the more years and also to not raise the rent or common fees for next several years. We signed to stay here and then this month the landlord said the owner would lower the rent if we agreed for more years than we asked for.

From talking to several real estate companies and people Budapest flat rentals are really hurting and if not are going to drop in prices as there is less and less people moving here to rent at least than even in 2015 when we came. I even have agents that i contacted in 2015 that blew me off then email me asking if i am still here and being so friendly now and emailing me telling me that flats i wanted to look  at in 2015 now are for rent again but at lower prices than 2015!

So i understand why the owner wants us to stay!

FeliciaOni :

{The landlord got you to do all the labor and time to plan, buy parts and correct the problem. That time is money. Money the landlord did not have to spend. But you had to spend it, and could not bill it to the rent since you had no receipts for "your time". }

Well that is where you are wrong, that was added into the labor cost! Labor was the guy doing the job and ALSO our labor in the fact we had to do all this.  We did charge this and this was part of what was taken out of the rent.

Actually, I am pretty sure I am right. But if someone wants to show me Hungarian renter's law that says otherwise, I will happily stand corrected. And below may then not apply*. :)


In general, and in nearly all fiscal transactions in Hungary, you can not (legally) charge your time without an official receipt. Because the landlord technically will have to declare the itemized costs to their accountant, and no itemized cost or income can be declared here without receipts.

And your charging for your time, may then even be taxable income for you in Hungary.....

How your landlord and you "deal with that" on or off the books was not my point. My point was, you are not suppose to do that without an official receipt for your time. Which individuals can not provide. And some landlords thus may not accept renters taking their time off on the rent to fix an issue.

In other words, the rules here are different than the USA. And you may be breaking the law without knowing it. And just because someone else agrees to do something here with you, don't assume it is legal. They may be running all sorts of scams you are not aware of, but which you may ultimately be responsible for -- ignorance of the law is not a defense. ;)

* But what are the odds it wouldn't turn into a legal battle to get my full hourly rate -- from years of International consultancy -- to just go and pick out things like plumbing fixtures...... For if I can not get my full hourly rate, then the landlord would be getting my time basically still for free. But that's just me. ;)

As i was saying to the OP he needs to look at what his lease agreement says.

Ours states a Hungarian law in Hungarian(and also translated into English but it says that the Hungarian view will always be the one if favor if an issue comes up) that the real estate company mgr cites that if a landlord does not handle an issue that is supposed to be handled after being aware of it in 3 days then the renter legally can address it themselves and deduct from the rent ALL costs INCLUDING personal inconveniences, time, etc.

So no we were NOT charging a cost for our time we were charging for the fact that the landlord did not obey the terms of the lease! The cost of the taxi was a recepict, TMobile has a charge per min for a call to someone which they document what number you called and how long you were on the phone with them, the fact that my disabled father was having to deal with this and risk to his health etc.

There is no hourly rate or income earned, it is simply what renters have the right to do.

I do not feel like pulling out our lease to copy and paste all this online as this is not the issue. But what i have found out that IF you do not have laws stating written in your lease that the law applies to you then it does not!

Yes it is not like the USA where ok this is law of land etc, in Hungary as a renter there are laws but if they are not written that they will apply to you then they do not.

(Like not an issue with us, but there is a Hungarian law which you have to make sure is written on your lease, that if you are on a work assignment (or some other reason i think it said something else like serious sickness or death that would cause extreme hardship of a direct family member or proven close family) and that ends due to no fault of your own and you have to leave Hungary, you can legally break the lease with no legal penalty to you. You do not get your deposit back but the owner can NOT sue you for breaking the lease and the rest of the months rent. Of course you would have to document and prove all this)

Which if you are new to Hungary how are you going to know this?

That said, the OP should explain this to others what does his lease say so all of us can be of help!

I mean as i said we rented from a company but if he just is renting from a personal person or something then that may be the problem.

I do know that in Hungary if a person does not make people do something it will not happen.

I talked to my dad about what would we do if this happened, he said most likely the OP should go to his embassy or the Red Cross i have heard would help, as no power is a humanitarian issue really.

FeliciaOni :

As i was saying to the OP he needs to look at what his lease agreement says.

Ours states a Hungarian law in Hungarian(and also translated into English but it says that the Hungarian view will always be the one if favor if an issue comes up) that the real estate company mgr cites that if a landlord does not handle an issue that is supposed to be handled after being aware of it in 3 days then the renter legally can address it themselves and deduct from the rent ALL costs INCLUDING personal inconveniences, time, etc.
....

We had the same in our contract when we were renting an apartment.  In the end it came down to us getting a quote and then sending it to the owner for an OK and if it was fine, then we'd deduct it from the rent.  We didn't bother charging for our time as it was more a bit of give and take to get the issue solved as well as saving him coming from Austria.

But I should say, despite this wealth of cooperation, our landlord was really awkward at the end and he kept our deposit after threatening me with legal action. He wanted us to fix up the place to the same standard as it was when we rented it.  Sorry matey,  I said, read the contract, keep the deposit and we're done, have a nice life and with that, we walked away (literally, we just walked off and left the keys on a table there and then).     

I had been well prepared for him to go off the rails and demand all sorts of BS so I was able to remain calm. I really had been expecting it.  I  had already reconciled myself to not having the deposit back.  So I just took it as the price of doing business and an easier life post-rental.  It was empty about 1.5 years and then he sold it.  We heard about it from our former neighbours who we see sometimes.  The apartment is only about 400m from our house.

FeliciaOni :

supposed to be handled after being aware of it in 3 days then the renter legally can address it themselves and deduct from the rent ALL costs INCLUDING personal inconveniences, time, etc.

Let's say that is all true.

It was still most likely far cheaper for the landlord to accept your declared expenses than him having to do it. So, still he is cheating you (and lets not get into the time you spent -- time you will not get back in your life and time the landlord should have spent -- not you. Which for expats that have a full time job here that is time they do not necessarily have to spend.). That was my point. And that is also why the landlord did not fix your issues sooner. He was waiting for you to give up and do it yourself. I am sorry, but that is the game they play here. Which is why you were not being nice waiting.... you were just being a bit unfamiliar how the game is played. :)

FeliciaOni :

in Hungary as a renter there are laws but if they are not written that they will apply to you then they do not.

I can tell from that comment you have not had to fully deal with the Hungarian courts system....

FeliciaOni :

Which if you are new to Hungary how are you going to know this?

Hire an attorney to explain to you your actual rights and limitations and reality of the court system here. And pray your attorney is competent..... :)

Or take some advice from someone who first arrived in Hungary in 1998 and has learned by the school of hard knocks..... (cough.... cough.....). :D

It would be a nice answer to the mystery of the lost landlady if the poster let us all know if he is out on the st. ,using a tea candle to see at night or has located his landlady and issue is resolved.

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