Accommodation in Hungary: scams you should look out for

Hi,

Committing to renting or buying accommodation when you’re new to or have not moved to Hungary just yet is always a stressful endeavour. Would you like to help us in putting together a handbook of what to look out for when house hunting in Hungary?

What are the most common scams in Hungary?

What are the red flags to look out for when scanning through adverts?

Is there a list of registered or accredited landlords or real estate agencies in Hungary?

What authorities should be sought should one come across an accommodation scam?

Please share your experience,

Bhavna

This is a great question.
I was considering asking something along these lines .
I've wondered if anyone ever got back their deposit money on a flat after their lease was over with.
I have noticed a few times where ex-pats say things like their power went off etc.
I suspect the landlord wants them to move out and break their lease before the time is up by shutting off the water, power or electric or causing some other uncomfortable situation to be able to legally keep your deposit funds and blame the renter for breaking the lease.
I am looking forward to reading any tales from lease holders to see if this happens often or is a rare occurrence.
I would take a wild guess and say these issues may happen if you rent directly from the owner and do not use a rental agent.
I know a ex-pat who pays their rent through a friend of the flat owner as they live outside of HU.
This go between person shows up at odd hours and odd days to collect the rent, late evenings etc.
Perhaps one should have every detail in writing before signing a lease. Not always easy to think up exactly what should be included in a lease agreement.
We once wished to do a short term rental in the city for only 6 weeks, 19 years ago.
Found a nice flat on Vaci utca but it had no stove or washer.
The owners told us to go ahead and buy them with our own funds and take it out of the rent.
That was just too odd so we passed on that ,"deal". Sounded like we could of opened ourselves up to alot of hassle.
We found that flat in a HU language paper and didn't use an agent.
We finally found another flat in the 5th to rent for 6 weeks and lucky for us the owner was "normal". If we couldn't communicate in Hungarian it would of been a lot harder to do.
Even so the flat wasn't as nice as the other one and it was messy but just 6 weeks time so we didn't push the issue.
One thing for sure, have it all down in writing before signing a lease and make sure you fully understand all the details.

Just thought of something else. What is expected from a shared flat.
Will your roommates ask for a deposit too?
If they have already put a deposit down on the flat will they ask you to chip in and if so, what are the details to ask for to make sure they give back your deposit paid to them?
Is their lease Ok to take in more renters or is this being done "under the table" ?
What will happen if the flat owner finds out that they rented to one person and see there are now 2 , 3 or more in the flat?
Make sure it is legal for them to rent a room out before giving any money to a 3rd party person.
Sort of off topic here but not really. In 1998 my son went to Sweden for 2 months. He planned on staying longer but things got too much so he left.
He wished to share a flat and found an add for a room mate. The guy was a bit older then my son, my son was only 22 ten and not too worldly with tricksters.
The guy was in his 30's and also a fellow American, guy was from Florida.
My son moved into the flat and for the first few days things were good.
Then the guy out of the blue says he has to leave fast, his grandmother in the US was ill and he had to see her.
He would of course be back in a few weeks...
Ok, the guy leaves and my son is alone in the flat.
Next few days there is a lot of banging and screaming outside the door, almost was kicked in.
The men outside happened to all be Arab guys and mad as heck.
My son had no clue why they were banging and trying to break in and screaming we are going to kill you etc.
Turns out the darn Florida American had run the add and taken in deposit funds from several people.
They thought my son was in on the scam but he was clueless.
He went to the police and they just laughed at him.
He met a few young Sweds who said no problem they would move into the flat since my son had already pre paid, they didn't care about the madmen banging and screaming , they would handle
them.
My son moved out, just didn't want to deal with it in case it got nasty.
He moved into a hostel.
It became obvious the FL guy was just collecting as much money has he could before leaving Sweden.

Marilyn Tassy :

This is a great question.
I was considering asking something along these lines .
I've wondered if anyone ever got back their deposit money on a flat after their lease was over with.
.....
We once wished to do a short term rental in the city for only 6 weeks, 19 years ago.
Found a nice flat on Vaci utca but it had no stove or washer.
The owners told us to go ahead and buy them with our own funds and take it out of the rent.
That was just too odd so we passed on that ,"deal". Sounded like we could of opened ourselves up to alot of hassle.
.....

I don't think I've ever got the deposit back from apartments I've rented long term.  And with permission I've also bought stuff with the rent money and left it behind for the landlord.  I've done minor repairs too and charged the landlord - fixing taps, getting the heating serviced.  When the landlord lives in another country, it's really convenient for them.

There's a bit of a cultural thing going on.  In countries where home ownership is rarer, it's common to get a place without fixtures and fittings - even the kitchen and light fittings will be missing.  That's something we don't see in the UK.  Most rented places in Germany say (and presumably now here) are rented for the longer term and the landlord expects people to be living there as though it was their home. 

But in my own country, we see rented properly more as a temporary thing, bit like a hotel, so we never do any decorating or real maintenance.   There, it's assumed after a long lease, the place will get a refit ready for the next tenants - paint, new kitchen, washer, fridge and all that. 

My own view on the deposit is that it's there for that purpose so I automatically assume I'll never get it back but equally I'm not going to decorate post lease and that's what the deposit is for.  If they ask for 2 months rent, it's just an overhead but anything more than that I would say no to that property.

Luckily I'm no longer renting in Hungary although that means I have to do all the maintenance!  But at least no-one is looking over my shoulder other than Mrs Fluffy, the kids and dog.

Hmm, if you do not get your 2 months deposit back then renting doesn't seem so great.
In the US it is more regulated. been awhile since we rented in the US but I think it is first last and security, sometimes they charge for extra keys and a deposit for a garage opener etc.
I have always gotten my deposits back.
Every state has different rules overall. They must do repairs in a timely matter and paint every few years if your long term. Rented a nice apt. in Ca once and they decided to even change our wall to wall carpets for us.
My son is about to rent in Japan, they call it "up front money" which is about 2 months rent up front which is considered as a "gift" to the owners, you never get it back. It also takes having a job already and having a local reference.
My DIL just started a job ( finally!!) in Japan but my son is just chillin' for now.
Some flats required both people to have a job before renting and some it is ok with just one income, plus references.
They also have certain styles of flats to rent to foreigners who do not have a local reference but they didn't go that route.
In Japan though the flat comes with no stove, fridge etc. you buy those yourself.
The do however have a crew come in and change everything, flooring, paint, new wall fixtures,lights so almost like brand new.
The up front fees are very high even more then 2 months rent.
He said what they looked at ranged from as low as $1,000 to over $4,000 in gift money.
Leases are also 2 years long in Japan .
Doesn't sound too great to rent over there.
It's nice to own your own place and not pay rent but then again renting is sort of a free feeling too. Can walk away when your lease is up without looking back.

Bhavna :

What are the most common scams in Hungary?

Recently, there are a lot of short term rental scams. Sites that claim this or that to some short term rental site, but fail to deliver on site. For this, one can but do the following.

- only book via sites that have a good reputation in Hungary (no -- Air BNB is not the best)
- really read the reviews of the property not just at the site you book at, but at other sources as well.
- pay with a credit card company that you know will refund you money if there is a problem. Do not use  a debit card.

Bhavna :

What are the red flags to look out for when scanning through adverts?

- The seller wants the buyer to use their attorney (don't ... get your own attorney)
- Seller wants cash in hand outside your lawyer's office or a bank -- don't do this.
- Property seems "too good to be believed".(i.e. cheap in price) Especially a rural property. There is a reason for that.  it probably does not have full year living rights (i.e. no power, water or sewage). or is so in BFN (Backwards Freaking nowhere) it is not worth buying unless you are a hermit. Many people buy thinking they can live on the property only to learn it is only classified as a "seasonal property" -- can't live there full time.
- The seller making claims that are false (the property has power, water, gas, etc. but it does not).
- The seller is not actually the owner (but if you hire your own attorney, this should come out and not be a problem)
- The actual "boundary" of the property may be misleading. Hire a surveyor before buying to know what exactly is the area you are buying --  do not trust what the seller tells you is the boundary. Not only will they mislead you, but they may not actually know themselves. I have had boundary disputes with EVERY property I purchased.
- Be aware --- as a foreigner --- you will pay an extra "foreigner tax" premium for this property. See my blog post :

https://stcoemgen.com/2014/01/17/elado-means-for-sale/

Bhavna :

Is there a list of registered or accredited landlords or real estate agencies in Hungary?

Not really. Despite what some may claim. This is the wild west. You are on your own-

Bhavna :

What authorities should be sought should one come across an accommodation scam?

None. Zero. Nada.

Well.... Actually.... You can submit a formal legal complaint (i.e hire an attorney). But good luck with that... May takes years. And if you loose, you pay the court costs.

Bhavna :

Please share your experience,

As mentioned above, I made a blog post about this some years ago:

https://stcoemgen.com/2014/01/17/elado-means-for-sale/

There is a consumer rights advocate located in a building near Blaha Lujza in the 8th district side of the st.
Sort of the Hungarian version of the Better Business Bureau.
We went in once to make a formal complaint against the former BKV, now known as BKK.
They were really nice and helpful and had us write up a legal complaint form and through them we sent it onto the CEO of BKV.
Got a return letter within a month but in the long run our claim was dismissed.
( We had paid the fine so we had admitted guilt by paying? Had us over a barrel at the time)
Sort of doubt a tourist has the time to go through these channels.

I noticed many ex-pats considering buying property here in Hungary.
Low prices are attractive but people often forget there is a lot of up keep with owning property.
There are laws about letting your grass grow out of control. So if you are not able to mow the lawn yourself, you'll have to hire someone to keep an eye on things when you're gone.
It's not like buying a wild hat or pair of shoes on a whim.
It's not easy to find a renter if your property is in some way out of the way place. If you do find one they may have a reason to hide out in nowhere land.
When we lived in Hilo it was common knowledge that some off the grid homes were off the grid for good reason. Many cult members moved to large plots of land and many drug growers also wanted to live far off the grid.
If you rent and someone is using your property for anything illegal you run the risk of being pulled into an investigation yourself and may possibly lose your land.
In fact don't think she was doing anything illegal but she got all culty and lived off the grid with others in Hawaii, that native American folk singer from the 60's... Buffy St. Marie.
Even insane Roseane Barr now lives in Hawaii, not sure which Island but think it's the Big One.
Then again Richard Prior lived in Hawaii and so did Geroge Harrison...They lived on Maui though.
It's not often you are able to rent to some artist or writer who wants to connect with nature, it's usually someone with something to hide.
Too far off the grid is cheap but not too many people in these areas are all happy to see foreigners and hardly anyone speaks a lot of English.
Just opening yourself up to a huge headache of hassles.

Marilyn Tassy :

There is a consumer rights advocate located in a building near Blaha Lujza in the 8th district side of the st.
Sort of the Hungarian version of the Better Business Bureau.
We went in once to make a formal complaint against the former BKV, now known as BKK.
They were really nice and helpful and had us write up a legal complaint form and through them we sent it onto the CEO of BKV.
Got a return letter within a month but in the long run our claim was dismissed.
( We had paid the fine so we had admitted guilt by paying? Had us over a barrel at the time)
Sort of doubt a tourist has the time to go through these channels.

Oh, BKV are notorious.  Our very young daughter was fined 8000 HUF by the BKV for some ticketing issue.  The ticket guy wanted to throw her off the bus in the dark in the middle of the forest between here and Moscow Square during the winter. I told her she should have called one of us to come immediately and sort that out. 

I was disgusted they could have thought it was sensible that a child could be dumped by the side of the road.  In the end, she was able to pay as we always  makes sure she has emergency cash but she was very upset of course at losing her money. It was nothing but extortion.  I don't even think she was given a receipt so I am not even sure it wasn't a BKV scam.

Wow, that's horrible, poor girl.
Yes, they more then likely pocketed her pocket money for themselves, may the burn in you know where!
To toss anyone out is more then mean in the dark and in winter, a child they should go to jail themselves.
one has to be a very low person to take such a job anyways...Or just evil.

Sort of got off topic, once again...
I didn't really mean to suggest that everyone buying property in no man's land is up to no good but over the years I've learned that usually there is some odd reason people who are not farmers or country people would choose to move into that enviroment.
I often think of the old tv show, "Green Acres" with Eddie Albert and of all people, Eva Gabor, the Hungarian. ( I know , going back a few years... look on U Tube...)

Marilyn Tassy :

.....
In fact don't think she was doing anything illegal but she got all culty and lived off the grid with others in Hawaii, that native American folk singer from the 60's... Buffy St. Marie.
Even insane Roseane Barr now lives in Hawaii, not sure which Island but think it's the Big One.
Then again Richard Prior lived in Hawaii and so did George Harrison...They lived on Maui though.
It's not often you are able to rent to some artist or writer who wants to connect with nature, it's usually someone with something to hide.
Too far off the grid is cheap but not too many people in these areas are all happy to see foreigners and hardly anyone speaks a lot of English.
Just opening yourself up to a huge headache of hassles.

Wow, I remember Buffy St. Marie.  I'd completely forgotten about her - co-writer of "Up Where We Belong".    I didn't even realise she was of native American heritage.

Roseanne Barr, there's another blast from the past.  Yes, it'd have to be the Big Island or one or the others as I doubt there's a "Big, Annoying, Talentless, Self-Promoting and Racist Island" in the Hawaiian chain. 

Does anyone who loses it  - except George Harrison - and money go to live in Hawaii?   Seems like Pryor had quite a few drug and personality problems. Dunno about the others.

I think off the grid in Hawaii would be a lot more interesting than off the grid hereabouts.  But islands always cost a lot to live on - everything has to be transported in, i.e. $$$$.

I just looked at "Green Acres" on U tube, just came to my mind per this subject matter, just the theme song alone is worth the one min. to watch, says it all... City dwellers moving to the coutryside, fish out of water.
Funny to see Eva Gabor in the role , HU accent and all.

Hawaii attracts some of the nicest and the most crazy people and not much in the middle.
There used to be a HU football team in Honolulu, that many Hungarians moved over there.
My ex- German born yoga instructor in Las Vegas has bought a second home in Kona, still has one in Vegas as well.
Never would of thought there was that much money in teaching yoga... She is a jack of all trades and worked hard all the time.
Used to be a ballet dancer then a show dancer on cruise ships, was a child tv star in Germany , has her own animal rescue in Vegas and owns a trade market with event stalls in Vegas, started at the bottom as a helper and now owns the whole business. Her husband plays drums in a band, they met on the ship. He is a good 20 years her senior and is now just playing in a local band on weekends in Kona and chillin' She flies back and forth to HI and NV like every month. She must have enough sky miles to fly first class for free by now.
Yoga and drumming , never would of thought.
Guess a normal 9 to 5 job just won't cut it these days.
Maybe if I practice my downward dog and buy some bongos I'll be in business!

Marilyn Tassy :

I just looked at "Green Acres" on U tube, just came to my mind per this subject matter, just the theme song alone is worth the one min. to watch, says it all... City dwellers moving to the coutryside, fish out of water.
Funny to see Eva Gabor in the role , HU accent and all.

....
Maybe if I practice my downward dog and buy some bongos I'll be in business!

We had a similar show (perhaps) called The Good Life.  Quite advanced for it's time and relatively quirky and of course typically British delivery.  It's about suburban dwellers who turn their house and garden to self-sufficiency.   It was wildly popular way back then - utterly snobby but amusing neighbours with too many airs and graces from the wife and a long suffering husband.

The main female lead  was a bit of a sweetheart in the media for her apparent cuteness and won a prize for best rear end of the year. Well, not very cool these days but it was the 70s and no-one knew about being PC or "Me Too".

I dunno about bongos but worked with a guy from South Africa who had married a woman from California.  He said when he got off the job we were on, him and his Mrs were moving to Sacramento or somewhere and planning to open a mini-golf course.  He was of the opinion you could make money out of anything in the USA - even being good at mini-golf.   Never found out what happened to his plan or if he's a mogul now who cornered the market. 

Strangely enough I also met this Hungarian guy who wanted to do the same in Balaton somewhere.  Never found out what happened to that one either but I see no signs for mini-golf down there. 

Might have been a real estate scam. I think he wanted money.

Marilyn Tassy :

There is a consumer rights advocate
....
Got a return letter within a month but in the long run our claim was dismissed.

That was my point. Trying to get real results about consumer rights here is mostly a waste of time, energy and money. IMHO, the existence of any "advocate" is mostly smoke and mirrors to make some people think consumers might actually have rights here.

So true, I've contacted the BBB 2 or 3 times years back in the US and also got no results.
At least they are on record as having issues with their company for what's that is worth.
I sometimes wonder where on earth all the honest or at least fair business people went.
Where there ever  any at all or was I walking around with Rose colored  glasses on?

The only scam that I've come across in looking to buy a house or apartment is this.

My wife who is Hungarian and I started to look at this place out in Budafok and the price was "too good to be true" so we went to see it anyways knowing that something may be up with it.
We asked the agent why it was the price it was and he said that on paper it is registered as "storage space" because "the owner of the property built this portion of the house for himself and decided not to live there" but that "we could get it inspected and registered after we buy it."
We didn't feel comfortable and started asking around on this site actually, and doing our research.
We came up in the end that: this could be inspected and registered but if the land itself was only allowed to have 2 dwellings on it then this third one, which is in the middle of the three could be deemed illegal and have to be demolished. Damage to the connected houses would happen as well.

So ALWAYS ask if the house is registered as a house, and how many dwellings are allowed on the land.

dougzies :

....... built this portion of the house for himself and decided not to live there" but that "we could get it inspected and registered after we buy it."
We didn't feel comfortable and started asking around on this site actually, and doing our research.
We came up in the end that: this could be inspected and registered but if the land itself was only allowed to have 2 dwellings on it then this third one, which is in the middle of the three could be deemed illegal and have to be demolished. ....

Great story and warning. 

I think this goes back to the fundamental agent issues - don't believe a word they say.   Nothing! Zilch! Nada! Nincs!

Before we bought our present house we heard all sorts of nonsense, particularly over utilities.   The agents will say and do anything to get you to buy.  It's an unregulated sector as far as I know.

That's why we would never buy another property without all utilities already and provably on site  - optionally gas - but at least electricity, water, sewerage, phone (i.e. internet).  Best to always ask the potential neighbours about the situation.

The biggest issue we actually found was access to mains water.

Even with my own advice, we cannot get  Telekom here - we have cable TV supplied phone and Internet service. The fibre cable is 30m away and I can even see the cabinet but it's "full" and there's no more capacity to install ordinary phone lines. That's despite us actually having a phone cable in the garden entering our house.  So I was fooled into thinking the phone line was actually connected to something.   

Doesn't really matter to me anyway now as all we wanted an ordinary phone line with some Internet but technology upgrades means we'll probably get a direct fibre soon enough.   Some Romanian guys installed a fibre cable in the street last year - they were from Digitel - special offer on now which I think is 3K HUF for 3 months(?) TV, phone and 1 GBps Internet.  My own provider will I hope catch up soon.

dougzies :

We asked the agent why it was the price it was and he said that on paper it is registered as "storage space" because "the owner of the property built this portion of the house for himself and decided not to live there" but that "we could get it inspected and registered after we buy it.".

Good point.

There is a similar issue in rural areas (especially outside villages): Houses for sale that do not have actual full time living permits. They can be used as weekend living, but not full year round living. Very difficult to get full year round living rights in many of these houses.

fluffy2560 :

I think this goes back to the fundamental agent issues - don't believe a word they say.   Nothing! Zilch! Nada! Nincs!

Before we bought our present house we heard all sorts of nonsense, particularly over utilities.   The agents will say and do anything to get you to buy.  It's an unregulated sector as far as I know.

That's why we would never buy another property without all utilities already and provably on site  - optionally gas - but at least electricity, water, sewerage, phone (i.e. internet).  Best to always ask the potential neighbours about the situation.

The biggest issue we actually found was access to mains water.

Even with my own advice, we cannot get  Telekom here - we have cable TV supplied phone and Internet service.

Similar problem for me.

When we were looking I insisted on a phone line, so I could do business over the Internet. I was out of the country when my wife viewed the house we bought and asked about phone and was shown the cables in the house. We closed, and then found out the cables.... were dangling from a pole near our house unconnected. People will lie here without concern. Good advice to ask the neighbors, as they really know what is going on .... but only if they are not also 30 meters away from the phone box.

In our case, we had to go wireless on the Internet. And this all happened when "Speedy" wireless was GPRS internet. Quite a step down from my wired connection we had then in "our other house". And only one provider had coverage for our house.

On 4G now, but still more expensive than if we had a wire to the house. C'est la vie.

Marilyn Tassy :

I sometimes wonder where on earth all the honest or at least fair business people went.

Social, economic and legal deregulation killed them off. Cheaters were no longer punished. And honest tradesmen could not compete with cheaters.

Various regulations help to level the playing field, by keeping cheaters in check. Which of course cheaters hate, so start to spit out all sorts of propaganda about how bad regulations are.

The end result is, cheaters own the politics now, so they dictate the rules and the rules favor cheaters. Which often means -- no rules (e.g. full deregulated free markets).

In other words, the assumptions that result in a Nash Equilibrium, are often no longer valid.

The biggest "scam" thing we ran into was with a hotel rental. Coming from USA we never heard of renting a residence as a hotel. So when booking a hotel from Florida I phoned and asked many questions from the place. Got here in Budapest and long story short the 6 weeks we paid for we stretched out over 11 different places in D 5! Ie moving from one place to another 3 days then 2, then 6 etc. I told the owner that i personally asked him about this and he stated this was standard Hungary to have a company own flats in a residential building!  I pointed out how he flat out lied as i asked him about this and he told me it was a normal hotel in one building! My dad made the guy pay for an Uber or cab to move our luggage each time so it was very annoying but worked out. Now the last place was one unit for what would of been the last 10 days so that was good. This time i looked at the place, i had wifi so i had him send me photos, photos nice ok cool. We move our stuff over and it was NOT the same place! Not only that it was awful! This was Dec and bugs were openly running around, small kitchen with no stove, loose floor, wall falling apart when you sneezed! I was like hell no! By that time we have found a long term lease already but we came with just luggage so we planned on taking the last 10 days getting stuff needed. A tv to allow UPC to install internet, landline, cable, dishes, linens, food etc. We realized this last rental was simply not going to work for the night let alone the 10 days! My dad said we will simply just move in our lease earlier than we planned. I was so mad! I said no that i NOT what we planned and paid for! I took tons of pics of the condition and was going to submit them with the photos of the place we were supposed to get to the credit card company. I will give good props to our credit card company as they instantly removed the money for the 10 days when i submitted the claim and told the company owner what i said and that I had photos, they told him if he can not prove his side then he was not going to get the money , especially since i said we would leave asap and not spend even a few hours in the place let alone the 10 days! About hmm 45 mins later one of his assistants knocks on the door  while we were getting ready to go and says he has a different place and he had the cab to move our stuff right now. Dad said ok lets go and see what it is like.  We all left to the new flat and it was not the other place but it was acceptable. As I said by that time we just wanted to take our time to run around and get stuff for the lease while still have a place with wifi, shower, etc and slowly be able to move in.  The power and everything is in the owners name so all that was on no issues but like i said we needed wifi and just stuff and food etc. So the place was ok so i told the credit card company to go ahead and give him the money for the unit as that one was ok.

About hmm 4 days later i went by the office to talk to the owner and ask him what happened. He told me that about 3rd week in when dad and i went in he spoke to us about our plans etc. We told him we are not visiting Hungary we are moving here to live and looking for a long term ie 1yr lease place as we are getting a residence permit to live here not tourists. We also told him of the difficulity we had been having driving all over Hungary trying to find a lease and getting so much drama and having real estate agents flat out say they will not rent to non white americans, telling us the non white american price is 300 usd equilvent, more than the listed price, simply not letting us see a place, houses for sale telling us the price is 10x more, agreeing to show up and then seeing us and walking buy like they do not know us etc.  One case a nice woman a Hungarian that spoke English i guess heard a woman say something rude to us and went and chewed her out! And also i will say a very nice Hungarian woman that was married to an Italian guy that had us look at a few places from some friends of hers that no drama, just were honestly not a good value, one place in D 6 was just too small, one also in 6 was near a bar and just randomly some guys were hanging around, (i mean i was with my dad and this guy walked up and handed me a beer and started talking about how i was a sexy black american girl, like Beyonce. His buddy gives my dad a beer and starts talking to him about the bars above and next to the flat and how he would tell some women to stop by and say hi to him as they would want to drink and party with LL Cool J/ Dr Dree looking guy! My dad laughed of course as he knows i can handle myself and honestly they guys were not disrespectful, just not what we are looking for to live at each day! And you know how that goes day in and out bar people?) and the other one was just not a good fit for us. So the hotel company owner mentioned of how there was a German guy that owned a large unit in Budapest that had 2 rooms to rent. Ok we do not live with any strangers, and we never set foot in Hungary until we moved here so no way, 3rd no way we did not want a place that might not meet permit needs immigration wise so did not even think of it. Just said whatever to the guy.  During that time we found our flat we live in now still. Ok so come to find out the company owner was that guy and knew we were coming on our last hotel stays and our issues and felt we should move in with him, he was that German guy with the rooms at his flat ! He told me he figured if he gave us a bad place we would i do not  know beg him or something and then we would be forced to move in his place in the 2 rooms and have no choice to rent from him! I told him that is beyond messed up!

So that was bad, but more annoying than like really bad!

FeliciaOni :

The biggest "scam" thing we ran into was with a hotel rental. Coming from USA we never heard of renting a residence as a hotel. So when booking a hotel from Florida I phoned and asked many questions from the place. Got here in Budapest and long story short the 6 weeks we paid for we stretched out over 11 different places in D 5! Ie moving from one place to another 3 days then 2, then 6 etc. I told the owner that i personally asked him about this and he stated this was standard Hungary to have a company own flats in a residential building!  I pointed out how he flat out lied as i asked him about this and he told me it was a normal hotel in one building! .....So the hotel company owner mentioned of how there was a German guy that owned a large unit in Budapest that had 2 rooms to rent. Ok we do not live with any strangers, and we never set foot in Hungary until we moved here so no way, 3rd no way we did not want a place that might not meet permit needs immigration wise so did not even think of it. Just said whatever to the guy.  During that time we found our flat we live in now still. Ok so come to find out the company owner was that guy and knew we were coming on our last hotel stays and our issues and felt we should move in with him, he was that German guy with the rooms at his flat ! He told me he figured if he gave us a bad place we would i do not  know beg him or something and then we would be forced to move in his place in the 2 rooms and have no choice to rent from him! I told him that is beyond messed up!

So that was bad, but more annoying than like really bad!

That's just really screwed up.   It's not normal at all to stay in a "hotel" of any kind and be moved every 5 minutes.  No-one does that.  I think these people were taking you for a ride. 

I think this always goes back to the issue of having a legit Hungarian to act for you.  It's not always about colour or whatever but about getting one over and believing you can pay more just simply because you're foreigner. 

I'm what I think might approximate to a WASP and if I open my mouth in some places, there's the immediate non-Hungarian price inflation.   That's why Mrs Fluffy always phones and talks to people and I say nothing usually and act totally dumb (often with reason). 

Non-HU price inflation is little less obvious these days around here but every so often there's always going to be one who comes along and tries it on.

Now speaking of a long term rental.

Well one thing i did NOT know that I had some expats tell me is if you do not have long term permit you can NOT turn on water, gas etc! I did not know this or to look for this. Thankfully our lease has all utilities and common costs at a flat rate. Only thing we had to turn on and pay personally was UPC ie the internet, landline, cable. But honestly that was not difficult at all, we just went in with our lease and brought the plan and set up appt for the guy to come by which he did on time and the guy was really sharp too, he knew his stuff! The help at UPC spoke english and set up for us to use digi to get billed electronic so i get an email when the bill is due and i pay either threw that site or upc direct site. So that was good and easy.

At least a Mammit Mall they were really good! My dad joked the guy that waited on us the 3 times we went threw needs to move in with us as he spoke good English, told us some things to help etc! He hee.
That location does have several English speakers at least in early 2016, which made since as while you wait they had this like nature show on in USA english about some guy going to like the Congo, or Vietnam etc catching giant mean fish with big teeth and then feeding live monkeys to the fish as bait! The help there was like totally fascinated with the show and like totally engrossed with it so it was not on for the customers at all! I have no idea why as I said it was in english on one of the english stations we get at home and not something i would watch but whatever.

As I said we knew no none here, had no like backup meaning no company or job moved us or not some church etc, it was simply just me and my disabled dad. And he had been to Europe many times and me also but never Hungary or this area. So Europe no not new but that said we knew nothing of Hungary. So we made sure to as much possible get a lease that was str8 up and clear!

I simply looked on some rental sites online here as i said above all our hotel units had wifi. Found a site that had some listings  that looked ok and price we could afford. As I said had some issues in various cities in Hungary including  Budapest. So when i inquired about this place i emailed the woman and laid it all out. Told her who we were, our situation, that we need a 1yr lease, need it to be in English, lease needs to pass immigration etc. I did not have a mobile phone here so i had to contact her threw email and going to the pay phone and putting coins in. That said she made it work totally. She had 3 places that were her listings we took the first one as it worked for us for several reasons. She had said the place we live at was taken at first by some others so we agreed in verbal, on a different one that was higher price really. Then when we went to her office, she said one of the others was for rent as the people that agreed did not have the deposit money and would not sign a 1 year lease. So she took us to see it as it was smaller but cheaper price and she personally knows the owner and the landlord. So we took it. She worked for a real company over in Pest side in city center. Real office with many agents there. Lease was their standard which has one side English right next to it Hungarian word or word spelled out. She had paperwork for everything and showed up her license to be an agent, the owner of the company also showed and gave us copies of the business license for us to give to government if needed. Our owner is an Arab man that lives in France now at the time in Egypt but he paid the company to list and find a renter and he pays a local guy to collect rent and be landlord.

We had no issues with the lease immigration wise, issues yes but not do to the lease directly more structure and not having government tell us things we needed to know.

That said our landlord is beyond lazy! Does not want to collect the rent, comes around the 20th of the month, wants to show up at 10pm, wants free food etc stupid annoying stuff. Day one in 2015 we told him we always have the rent money on the 3rd of the month why it takes almost begging him to show up to take the money is annoying but whatever. That said the guy at the time was like 25 and dumb as a rock ok it is over 3 years later still no better but we are used to it.

That said we had an issue with our shower was totally broken the floor cracked on it, no fault of our own. He totally tried to scam us and get us to pay for it and also do everything ourselves. Claims much bullshit at first. As I said our lease spells out clearly what the owner has to pay for so it was a manner of not honoring our current lease if he did not do this. We told him we were going to not renew if this was the case. I guess word got back to the owner and suddenly he was honoring the lease! And we did end up renewing.

Point i am making is people here will try to scam you and try you!

At that shower issue time we had already paid each and every month for over 2yrs and were going to sign for 3yrs more. So why act like this? Well basically he thought we were stupid and he could have the owner agree to cover the replacement have us pay and he pocket the extra money which would of been 140k huf. When we made it clear we were NOT going to be ripped off, were going to move out, possibility  seek legal action and also not sign for 3 yrs more he totally backed down and realized it would not work. Like i said the owner is NOT Hungarian or surrounding countries at all, so him losing renters that were paying each and every single  month no issues was going to cost him money and he is about doing business over anything. Now if our lease was not so str8 forward maybe would of been bigger issue.

So I will say to people do try to as best you can be on the up and up. If you do not rent from a company be careful! If you lease is not in English or your native tongue, be careful! If things are not clear do not sign it! If you have any questions address them, if they do not then walk away!

This is not a Hungary thing, this is anywhere! Even more so if you are not from the country and do not know things there. You are a guest, new to the place so the locals will have the benefit etc.

Since 2015 we have been back to the agent at the company that we rented from, as for us at least the leases require 2 witness to be valid. She is a realtor at a real company so she and one of the other agents are the ones that have signed ours over the years.  Just saw her this past November no issues, and she said if we do have serious problems with the landlord and do not want to call Egypt or France to talk to the owner see her as she will handle it both professionally as he pays them to list this place and others he owns and she knows him personally. So it has worked out.

Now i have seen that many expats rent from less reliable sources. Either friends, or the thing i heard from someone, "Attlia my bf of 2 weeks cousin sent this text message saying i could stay at that flat" and they wondered why there was some issues on things!

Or sometimes I have seen people rent from family or something and they get scammed at they give a bit more lead way and do not ask all the questions I would being totally foreign to Hungary. Which i understand as if it your family, or spouse's family, or people you think you know you let many things go.

We met some Americans on the tram that were very nice and where here with the church, i think it was JW or something. The church got their permits all that was ok. Then afterwords told them to either do 40hrs a week going door to door in Budapest trying to get converts and pass out leaflets. This was an older couple in their 60s so this was not something they could do! And they spoke no Hungarian! When they refused the church stopped paying their rent and said they had to move to a small flat that was nasty! Then they were seeking a deduction on their USA SS saying that they, the church has extra expenses for them! The church was saying they were paying their rent at the higher bigger flat in  D 2, when they moved to lower smaller place in 7. The people never agreed to do this work while here, they had to show that no documents existed in this regard. The church said as a life long member they were going to help them move to Budapest, their yearly tax deduction to the church for the past 42 years was supposed to take care of that and they were retired. The "work" the church was requiring would of caused issues with their SS anyway!

We ended up helping them to cancel that church res permit and since they were retired and could live here on that only to just simply get a retiree res permit. That way they could live here and also legally not work and not be forced too either! They did not even know they had these in Hungary! They said they were tight and have to watch the exchange rate but can be ok.

FeliciaOni :

stated this was standard Hungary

I have heard that one too. Far too often.

But does not usually pass the scratch test**. That is, scratch beneath the surface and one often may find the issue is not at all "standard". And may even be illegal..... Buyer beware.

** The person saying such things often assumes the listener (i.e. their victims) will not start scratching. Sadly, as with most confidence peddlers, grafters, and other scammers, their victims often don't question the false claims. In Hungary, you have to have a backbone. If anyone tries to scam or bully you, you have to bully back. Surprising how fast they may then back down here.

"you have to have a backbone. If anyone tries to scam or bully you, you have to bully back. Surprising how fast they may then back down here."

Exactly what i mean!

Like i said our landlord thought he could scam us by the owner agreeing to pay the replacement and then he having us pay for it so he could pocket the extra money! (The owner agreed up to 140k Huf to pay for the shower to be replaced. Our landlord was wanting to keep that money, have us pay full rent, and have us pay the whole amount of the shower! When we pointed out the lease states the owner would pay for structure repairs like this( oven, heater, fridge etc) and that the shower was rather old day one anyway.  And we said we would move out ie they would have to find someone else to rent it and hope they would be good on time renters like us! He totally backed down! )

But like i said things are like this.

Back in FL our landlord was from Serbia and she was really no different from our landlord here really. Our water heater was leaking she had a guy by and look and he said it needed replacing. Our owner/landlord refused to do this. Ok 6 mos go by and this time was when my father had his cancer surgery and radiation. He could barely walk and was still bleeding from the surgery. We came home and the place was flooded! The water heater totally gave way! My dad and I had to mop it up. We phoned our landlord/owner and she would not pick up, i went to her flat her car was there but did not answer. So i went to the mgr and he came over and was furious! He collected the money and all that for her, been working for her for like 10 years. He said if she did not reply in like an hour he was going to contact the VA as he was a vet also and knew that the VA would step in she was getting money from the VA for a sick veteran living there, and he was going to contact the health dept also in my behalf as i lived there too and it is not legal for me to have that either.

Well the min he did that she suddenly was home and had a guy out there and went and brought a brand new one in put it in!

Before that place we lived at a place that was owned by a Lebanese guy that refused to  fix anything and had a couple a few buddings over with a baby, there roof gave way and he told them to live with it, before that we lived at a place that was owned by a Greek guy he got upset that we wold not deal with moldy carpet even after an inspector said it needed to be repaired and got pissed we put in an air conditioner even though we paid our own electric.

Now i am NOT being racist when pointing out the ethnic background of the owners/landlords of the places we rented at in Florida USA. NO NO! Not what I am saying at all! My father and I are people of color ourselves! What i am pointing out is was not due to being an expat or anything as we were the Americans born in USA and the owners were the expats and they treated people born in USA in the USA just as bad as expats get here in Hungary .

It was our country, we knew the rules, we spoke the native tongue etc so that had nothing to do with it at all!

Point I am making is even with having the home field, he hee, unless someone was willing to make them do something and they were faced with getting in trouble and losing their business permit etc they would not do anything and would try to bully people even though it would cost them more. In the case of the Lebanese guy I found out after we moved he did not pay the corporate water bill for months and the city turned off the water to the whole complex. He tried to bully the tenants into paying extra to get it on which is NOT legal! Most paid but this one Native American guy refused! He told the people at his tribe or whatever the structure is for Native Americans and they sent in their lawyers etc and the guy lost his business, and ended up having to leave FL and also could not do business in USA, he was married to an american woman so i think he could stay but could not have a business, but i think that even ended as she was divorcing him so who knows.

klsallee :
FeliciaOni :

stated this was standard Hungary

I have heard that one too. Far too often.

But does not usually pass the scratch test**. That is, scratch beneath the surface and one often may find the issue is not at all "standard". And may even be illegal..... Buyer beware.

** The person saying such things often assumes the listener (i.e. their victims) will not start scratching. Sadly, as with most confidence peddlers, grafters, and other scammers, their victims often don't question the false claims. In Hungary, you have to have a backbone. If anyone tries to scam or bully you, you have to bully back. Surprising how fast they may then back down here.

I'd definitely agree with that. 

People are pretty stupid and very ignorant and far too emotional.   My  land dispute was dismissed by the errant neighbour as not solvable - i.e.  I wasn't going to win and therefore don't bother.  The amount of useless paperwork he had and a mixture of nonsensical half-baked legal opinions from people in the pub and hearsay from people passing seemed to give him an idea that his use of our land was entirely legal.  After a couple of weeks discussing it pleasantly I just told my lawyer to take it on and here we are about 4 years later and we have permission now to sort it out and they have at least legally given up. 

We have just told them we're putting in some pegs to mark the boundary - but even that is hard work as the official surveyor is fully booked up and we need builders to come and put the fence in asap.   That's proving strangely and conveniently difficult. 

People are weird too - my other neighbour saw the builder arrive, watched what was going on and told us not to trust him as his BMW car was too fancy - he'd just exploit the workers for his own benefit.   Well, thanks for that sound economic advice!  How'd that commie economic theory work out for you and your mentors Stalin, Marx, Fidel, Che and Trotsky?

But even though this is going on,  the neighbour is still complaining that it's his land, despite the legal process being exhausted in our favour and all the evidence to the contrary!

No telling some people.

fluffy2560 :

a mixture of nonsensical half-baked legal opinions from people in the pub and hearsay from people passing seemed to give him an idea that his use of our land was entirely legal.

And today, in many cases, that "pub" is AKA "Twitter", "Facebook", et al.....  :rolleyes:

fluffy2560 :

People are weird too - my other neighbour saw the builder arrive, watched what was going on and told us not to trust him as his BMW car was too fancy - he'd just exploit the workers for his own benefit.   Well, thanks for that sound economic advice!  How'd that commie economic theory work out for you and your mentors Stalin, Marx, Fidel, Che and Trotsky?

LOL!!  :lol:

Good call. The "neighbors" in Hungary have waaaaaaay too much time on their hands, And far too many opinions. The entire country seems be a back fence people gossip over.  :rolleyes:

fluffy2560 :

But even though this is going on,  the neighbour is still complaining that it's his land, despite the legal process being exhausted in our favour and all the evidence to the contrary!

One land dispute we had, got a surveyor who staked out the property boundaries.

Some short weeks later, my wife was in line at the land office for another issue, and was, by some quirk of fate, behind our neighbor in line who did not see her. When our neighbor got to the "window" the neighbor tried to convince the land office person to change the boundaries on the map**. How weird is that?

My thought: Welcome to Hungary. Where "knowing someone" can sometimes get results over what is.... right.  In this case the neighbor failed. :D

** My second thought was: if the neighbor was someone "connected" or had enough money .... would the neighbor have succeed in her request????  I can but wonder.... Because I know who have horror stories to that effect. And so again, Welcome to Hungary?  :(

klsallee :

.....
And today, in many cases, that "pub" is AKA "Twitter", "Facebook", et al.....  :rolleyes:

fluffy2560 :

...... How'd that commie economic theory work out for you and your mentors Stalin, Marx, Fidel, Che and Trotsky?

LOL!!  :lol:

Good call. The "neighbors" in Hungary have waaaaaaay too much time on their hands, And far too many opinions. The entire country seems be a back fence people gossip over.  :rolleyes:
......

** My second thought was: if the neighbor was someone "connected" or had enough money .... would the neighbor have succeed in her request????  I can but wonder.... Because I know who have horror stories to that effect. And so again, Welcome to Hungary?  :(

Oh for sure, it could have worked fiddling with the maps and if it had come up in a dispute, then no-one would really know if it was right or wrong without considerable work.  In our dispute,  we could only really tell for sure because we were short on land area after the surveyor had been to check.  I suppose there would have to be an investigation but I think land maps are held at county/megye level, not locally so it'd have to be quite a conspiracy to try and modify the maps and of course, alter the satellite photos - our boundary error was noted from that.  That kind of conspiracy could only occur if Mueller was in on it.

My neighbours (i.e. owners) are all mostly retired people and have plenty of time to lean over the fence talking nonsense and talk they do!   When we buried our kids' dead pet hedgehog and ex-hamsters, one of the neighbours was complaining because of the smell.  What a ridiculous statement!  What smell?  Unless you are genetically engineered to have the nasal receptors of a drug dog, you're not going to be able to smell small furry or spikey animals buried about 2ft down. Nothing like burying something for sanitising.  Call CSI Budapest.  Weird people infected with terminal hearsay!

As for Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, I reckon the model is close to peaking or has peaked and will start to decline.  And the faster it does the better.  Bit like McDonalds, case of adapt or die.   

While it's sort of off topic, I am still "laughing", well, almost,  "bathing" in a surfeit of schadenfreude radiation waves over the madness at Facebook over extremist auto generated celebration pages - click here to "enjoy".

Sorry, I give in, I am laughing....;)  What a bunch of morons!

fluffy2560 :

While it's sort off topic, I am still "laughing", well, almost,  "bathing" in a surfeit of schadenfreude radiation waves over the madness at Facebook over extremist auto generated celebration pages - click here to "enjoy".

Sorry, I give in, I am laughing....;)  What a bunch of morons!

:o

I admit--- I am stunned. Even that goes beyond the level of stupid I could imagine. But... then again.... it is Facebook. So of course it could go beyond my assumed level of stupid.

Facebook hubris. Facebook greed. Facebook failure.

Sad.

klsallee :
fluffy2560 :

While it's sort off topic, I am still "laughing", well, almost,  "bathing" in a surfeit of schadenfreude radiation waves over the madness at Facebook over extremist auto generated celebration pages - click here to "enjoy".

Sorry, I give in, I am laughing....;)  What a bunch of morons!

:o

I admit--- I am stunned. Even that goes beyond the level of stupid I could imagine. But... then again.... it is Facebook. So of course it could go beyond my assumed level of stupid.

Facebook hubris. Facebook greed. Facebook failure.

Sad.

Yup, couldn't more stupid than it is.   

Strangely I haven't seen any real information about FB doing something about it.  Not that I'm looking.

I'm going to add to your formula:

Hubris+Greed = Failure

And:

Stupidity+Religion+Intolerance+SocialMedia+Guns = Tragedy

But to keep sane, I'm thinking:

Vegetables+Curry Powder+Nice bread = Vegetable Curry Yum

fluffy2560 :

Stupidity+Religion+Intolerance+SocialMedia+Guns = Tragedy

Way too complicated. There are easier sub-sets.

Stupidity+Guns = Tragedy

Religion+Guns = Tragedy

Intolerance+Guns = Tragedy

SocialMedia+Guns = Tragedy

klsallee :
fluffy2560 :

Stupidity+Religion+Intolerance+SocialMedia+Guns = Tragedy

Way too complicated. There are easier sub-sets.

1) Stupidity+Guns = Tragedy

2) Religion+Guns = Tragedy

3) Intolerance+Guns = Tragedy

4) SocialMedia+Guns = Tragedy

Hmmm....I get the point...but ....

Stupidity+Guns = Religion+Guns

Deduct Guns from both sides, leaving...for all equations....

Stupidity = Religion = Intolerance = Social Media

Ok, I take it back..... I agree, it works.

fluffy2560 :

Stupidity = Religion = Intolerance = Social Media

How much social commentary, or hidden results, can one extract from this?

Stupidity = Religion = Intolerance = Social Media

Religion = Social Media

Hm.  Millennials?   :unsure

It would be interesting to hear from someone who rented in Hungary .
I wonder if anyone ever got back their 2 month up front deposit fees or not.
I'm afraid it could be a scam to rent with landlords who will never give back your deposit. They could be scammers who rent to you , collect your deposit fees and then make life difficult for you so you move out early or they find all sorts of damages , actually claim damages that you didn't make.
If the utilities are in their name they could stop making payments and have them shut off on you. That would make it impossible for anyone to finish out their lease if that happened.
I have no idea what rights renters have in Hungary legally.

Marilyn Tassy :

It would be interesting to hear from someone who rented in Hungary .
I wonder if anyone ever got back their 2 month up front deposit fees or not.
I'm afraid it could be a scam to rent with landlords who will never give back your deposit. They could be scammers who rent to you , collect your deposit fees and then make life difficult for you so you move out early or they find all sorts of damages , actually claim damages that you didn't make.
If the utilities are in their name they could stop making payments and have them shut off on you. That would make it impossible for anyone to finish out their lease if that happened.
I have no idea what rights renters have in Hungary legally.

I think people don't want to tell NAV  about their renting arrangements.  Hence the bills all remain in the owner's name.  If it's done with no contract and in cash with foreigners, then no-one knows. Foreigners don't know their rights. It used to be the case that landlords  had to register their rental properties and the contracts with NAV but no idea if that's the case now.  My own view is that a deposit of one or two months rent will never be returned regardless how nice everyone is.   I've come to accept that's just the way it is.  That's why I never bothered redecorating or anything -  that's what the deposit is for.

fluffy2560 :

I think people don't want to tell NAV  about their renting arrangements.

I have found that NAV tax avoidance, by locals, seems to be the really most popular Hungarian national sport.  ;)

klsallee :
fluffy2560 :

Stupidity = Religion = Intolerance = Social Media

How much social commentary, or hidden results, can one extract from this?

Stupidity = Religion = Intolerance = Social Media

Religion = Social Media

Hm.  Millennials?   :unsure

Took it here: Religion = Social Media  as mega  :offtopic:

New topic