Rental Agreements in Hungary
Understand the different elements of the tenancy contract and the obligations of the landlord and tenant when renting property in Hungary...
The major difference between short- and long-term rentals is the rental price and the equipment supplied with the property. Short-term rentals are usually aimed at the expatriate community. These properties tend to have nicer furnishings, are fully equipped, and therefore have very long and detailed inventories. It is advisable to take photographs of the furniture, kitchen worktops, and flooring for example to avoid disputes when the rental agreement is terminated.
Rental agreements (bérleti szerződés) vary greatly from agent to agent and from landlord to landlord. Most prefer at least a one-year contract. Sometimes landlords can request proof of regular income, but guarantors are usually not required. The contract, which must be in writing, usually includes:
- Names of both parties
- Rental amount and when it is due; if this is not stipulated in the agreement, the tenant must pay monthly and by the 15th of the month at the latest
- How utilities are to be paid
- Landlord's maintenance duties
- Inventory – including the condition of the property and any equipment included
- Whether pets are allowed and other restrictions
- For an example of a rental contract in Hungarian and English: Click here
When there is a change of tenant, it is generally the tenant's responsibility to inform the utility company of the change in name. The usual process is that the landlord and the tenant make a record of the meter reading for gas, water and electricity, by writing down the address, the exact meter reading and the date. This document should then be signed by two witnesses.
If there is no contract, and payment is given in cash, utilities generally remain in the landlord's name; in this case it is advisable to ask the landlord to see the bills before payments are made.
Landlord and tenant obligations
A landlord has to provide general maintenance, ensure that all cables, wiring, plumbing, gas pipes and fittings for example, are in working order, and provide repairs if necessary within 24 hours. Tenants should inform the landlord in writing of any necessary repairs that must be made. If these repairs are not carried out, the tenant may choose to end the rental agreement with immediate effect.
Tenants have to repair any damage they cause and pay all utility bills on time if this is included in the rental agreement. Alterations of any kind are only allowed with the landlord's permission.
Deposit and fees
The deposit is usually one or two months' rent which is repayable when a tenant leaves the property providing there is no damage and there are no disputes.
Agency fees vary greatly. Sometimes the fee is one month's rent, which is paid by the landlord, or it may be a monthly payment which is incorporated in the rent.
Landlords usually insure the building, and tenants insure their own belongings. However, insurance is not obligatory, so tenants are advised to check whether the building is insured.
Flats usually have a service charge (közös költség), which may be included in the rental amount; check with the lease agreement. This service charge includes rubbish removal, cleaning of communal areas, and sometimes water use, heating and insurance.
To terminate a lease agreement one month's notice is usually required, but this depends on the agreement between the landlord and the tenant in the contract.