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How to lease an apartment to a foreigner?

I have been professional in the residential property rent since 1996. On those far capital formation days the most financially reliable clients were expatriates: employees of newly opened embassies and first western companies, coming into the Ukrainian market. Getting such a tenant was a dream of every lessor. First of all, he could pay the rent in US Dollars, which guaranteed safety in those times after inflation of 1990s.

Secondly – he could pay much more than local tenants. Those times there was no deficit of a high quality proposition on the real estate market. The embassies could easily pay the rent in advance for 6-12 months. This allowed the lucky lessor to buy a new apartment at once. More of that, foreigners were considered to be the guarantee of decency and stability.

Today the situation on the real estate market has changed. All of us -Lessors, tenants and realtors – became wiser and more experienced. The market had been filled with offers. Tenants are running the show now, but expatriates are renting the expensive apartments segment still prevail.

What do you have to know before leasing an apartment to an expatriate?

1. First of all, the apartment has to meet the tenant’s requirements, in terms of location, number of rooms, condition, renovation quality, furniture and equipment. Local lessors have coped with this. The weakest point for today is usually the front entrance condition, parking places availability, view from the windows and bad neighborhood.

2. Secondly, it may be difficult to overcome cultural differences, language misunderstanding and lack of communicative experience and conducting negotiations with foreigners. In this case the help of Real estate agency specialised in expatriates’ accomodation will be needed.

3. Very often, Lessors don’t understand that the company expatriates` employer, allocates certain budget for the rent. And there is no way for the tenant to pay more, even if there is a gold toilet in the apartment.

4. Cash payment happens not that often as lessors would prefer. In most cases company is paying the employee’s rent, and is willing to do it legally in a national currency. For the lessor it means income tax payment obligation.

5. Registration is required for all foreign tenants, except those, having diplomatic status.

6. It’s quite difficult to lease an apartment to for expatriate without professional help. Advertising in mass media and internet is not effective either. The best solution is to cooperate with the real estate agency, specialized on work with foreigners.

Serhiy Shevchuk, “Teren Plus” real estate agency

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