The new housing rental is a jungle: scammed tenants and landlords who do not pay the agency | Business | EUROtoday
Housing rental in Spain has turn into a enormous jungle. Four months after the entry into pressure of the housing regulation, which prohibits businesses from charging the tenant for his or her companies and solely permits this expense to be transferred to the landlord, there are nonetheless actual property businesses that proceed with this unlawful observe. And there are a lot of who attempt to get round the norm with completely different methods. In any case, extra and extra actual property businesses, confronted with the change in situation, have given up and are abandoning the leasing enterprise to give attention to shopping for and promoting. The loser of this new actuality is, as soon as once more, the tenant.
Let’s begin with the unlawful assortment of the fee. Some do it boldly, with none disgrace, and demand a month-to-month cost for his or her intermediation companies. Then the jungle turns into a swamp. “It would be a month of deposit, the month of management plus VAT and the next month,” studies a actual property agent when requested about an house for lease in Madrid. When warned that this is an unlawful observe, she replies: “I’m sorry, those are the requirements.”
But there are extra businesses that attempt to break the norm with practices and subterfuges which can be clearly a fraud on the regulation. “In the beginning there were real estate companies that continued to charge as is, as if the law did not exist. Now those that disguise the amount of certain pseudo-services are increasing,” says Rubén Sánchez, from Facua (Federation of Consumers in Action). Just a few calls to some businesses reveal a new observe: charging the tenant a month-to-month lease plus VAT for finishing up a necessary “vulnerability study.”
Consumer associations encourage these affected to report back to Consumption. However, “if we are very interested in accessing that home, we can pay it and then claim it in the first instance before the Administration and also before the courts of law. For claims of less than 2,000 euros, a lawyer or attorney is not necessary,” they recall in the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU). To this finish, provides César Díaz, from the authorized space of the Federation of Consumers and Users (CECU), “documentary evidence of payment must be left, either through a receipt or transfer.”
Another path that businesses are taking is seasonal leases, the place the tenant will be charged. In a actual property agency that rents one in all these residences, they clarify the circumstances: “It carries an agency commission as it is a temporary contract and the owner asks for a one-month deposit plus two months of guarantees.”
The downside is when the rental of a routine residence is camouflaged as a seasonal rental. This is fraud of regulation. “Most of these seasonal contracts are not,” believes César Díaz (CECU). “We are very afraid that this exit from the housing market to be used for tourist rentals could be driven by real estate companies, not only to be able to charge the tenant their commission, but to be able to collect it every shorter period of time,” Díaz continues.
Rains, it pours. In June, Facua denounced round thirty actual property businesses unfold throughout completely different Spanish cities for charging commissions to tenants. He is ready to obtain a response from the regional client administrations. The OCU, the place client complaints proceed to reach, has carried out enforcement actions thriller purchasing throughout these months to conclude that “there are agencies that continue to impose the commission on the tenant.” This group is assessing the authorized feasibility of the infractions to proceed with a doable criticism.
The actual property employers say they’re not conscious of particular instances of fraud and defend that their associates have been duly knowledgeable of the new market circumstances. “We have zero tolerance with opportunists, who are the minority,” says José María Alfaro, president of the Federation of Real Estate Associations (FAI). From the Look & Find community they guarantee that their sellers have stopped charging the tenant, though this has meant that some businesses not present the intermediation service to the tenant. “The consumer has lost an option to receive a service, which he previously could contract or not,” says Jorge Torrent, supervisor of Look & Find.
For Jesús Duque, vice chairman of Alfa Inmobiliaria, the regulation is logical as a result of “the one who contracts the service is the owner, not the tenant.” And he provides: “Otherwise it is a crime and must be prosecuted.”
In the Federation of Associations of Real Estate Companies (FADEI), with greater than 5,000 members, in addition they don’t have any document of client complaints concerning this situation, “which does not mean that it is not happening,” says Montserrat Junyent, its vice chairman. “We have done informative and training events,” she insists. “However, it must be taken into account that, for example, franchises are legally and financially independent from the headquarters, so it is difficult to know what each office and each associate does.” Furthermore, explains Junyent, “on many occasions these are salespeople who refuse to follow the instructions of the company itself due to precarious pay.”
The accounts do not come out
The decline in revenue on this sector, made up of greater than 100,000 brokers and round 30,000 actual property businesses, is a reality. Until 4 months in the past, most shops charged every occasion a month-to-month charge. Now just one, and hopefully, as a result of there are homeowners who refuse to pay for one thing they’ll do themselves. And much more so with the sturdy demand that exists. The accounts of many franchises that had been specialised in leases do not work out. Hence, they’re specializing in gross sales, seasonal leases and vacationer housing. Many not have a single common rental of their portfolio. “Removing a professional manager is a problem for the tenant, who will find themselves with leonine contracts and increased rents,” says Alfaro.
Others, nonetheless, attempt to recuperate revenue by creating a new service for the tenant, post-rental administration: direct debit of provides, contracting alarms, incidents… They have gotten a sort of property administrator, however of tenants. “The sector is adapting to new circumstances. Many agencies are opening their portfolio of services to post-rental, for which they charge the tenant a percentage of the monthly payment or a complete monthly payment,” says Francisco Nomdedeu, member of the General Council of the COAPI of Spain.
Consumer associations have doubts about whether or not these companies are one other method to circumvent the regulation. “The important thing is to separate the management services, for which you cannot charge, from these others,” defends Junyent, who speaks of a reconversion of the sector.
Rental Insurance, which launched this leg two years in the past, earlier than the entry into pressure of the housing regulation, insists that it is an unbiased service from that of actual property administration and the signing of the contract. Antonio Carroza, its president, explains that he anticipated the change in route of the market. “In the rental business the power lies with the tenant, not the owner,” he believes. “We charge for a tenant service. It is about addressing incidents, legal advice and assistance, marketing of energy with better conditions…”.
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