As many of you know we moved from recently. There are a few reasons why we moved, mainly being closer to Kati’s school which cuts the daily commute in half (from 40 min. to ca. 20 min. one way). It is also closer to my work and the public transportation for others to reach us is a lot better.
Anyway we have been diligently cleaning, repainting and getting the small yard in order to get our deposit back. Last week we made an appointment with the owner to return our keys and hopefully receive our deposit back.
Hours before our meeting we get a letter from the owner detailing expenses owed to him and instead of receiving our deposit we owe him almost €1,000! It is difficult to express in words how we felt. It was being intensely stressed, angry and overwhelmed all at the same time.
There was a flurry of activity with calls, internet searches and rereading our contract. We are still in the process of seeing if we have to pay anything, he needs to pay us or if it will turn out neither of us pays anything.
Even if everything is legal and we do end up paying from our point of view it is still unjust and wrong. Let me try to explain. There is a section in our contract saying if inflation goes up more than 3% he can adjust our rent. (which is fine, inflation is a fact of life). The thing is he can request up to three years of back inflation payment. Right now it seems to be that if he owns the property, which he does, he can request his three years at any time. If he does not own it he would need to inform us of the inflation increase within 2 weeks or else he forfeits his right to request it (he is able to request for the increase before the next months rent). Christy and I think this is fair, we would have been paying increases through out our time and it would not be such a shock but to have to pay it at a one lump sum really hurt. He is also doing this with another aspect of trash, water etc expences. Which we think it would have been fairer (is that a word) to us.
Since most Austrians live in subsidized housing they don’t have to deal with renting privately and they think this sounds bad. But in thinking back through the years of the missionaries who have rented privately I know of only one from a dozen that has not had problems getting out of a rental contract without either a major relational conflict or parting with a lot of money or both.
Is it just us or does this sound unfair?