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Thread: Guide to Flatsharing in Moscow!

  1. #1
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    Guide to Flatsharing in Moscow!

    The purpose of this article is to get you acquainted with some typical issues and situations that you may have to face when trying to rent a room in a shared flat in Moscow.

    I've been living in Moscow for something over 3 years, and although I'm quite to the opposite of most people coming from the west, who choose never to brake their prejudices towards this lovely country, my post does hold some not-very-purple remarks about renting a flat with Russian room mates.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    The first thing you should know is that Russia does not have all the routines and regulations that we have in our countries.
    ex. Most contracts between the landlords and the tenants are not declared, in many cases they remain oral. There are no strict regulations by which the payments should be made by means of bank transfers for better traceability etc. In fact most payments if not all, are realized from hand to hand and using the good old "cash".

    The "Moscow is an expensive city so you should pay muchos $$$$$$ gringo" line...

    Moscow is a very expensive city in terms of realestate prices, but it is also completely chaotic.
    You can find a landlord who will rent out a 3 rooms flat in the dead center for 30 000Rur(happened to me) but the landlord of the flat next doors will rent the flat (in worse condition) for 75 000 RUR.

    So do not take what people tell you for granted, the argument "Moscow is an expensive city" means nothing especially if the original tenants are Russian and probably spent several month searching for the cheapest flat.

    Gringos should pay more for less
    Many Russians have a peculiar habit of taking it for granted that foreigners should pay more and often for less.
    So you may find yourself paying 2/3rds of the total rent for a 2 rooms flat, while only occupying one room.
    2/3rds is standard but sometimes you could be paying the entire rent without knowing it. This can be particularly annoying if you are one and your roommates are several.

    Check the rental agreement! If they refuse to show it, KNOW that you are paying more than a half.

    Last month rent, or the security deposit
    When you sign an official tenancy agreement in Russia (which gives you full tenancy rights), you are like in most western countries required to put down a security deposit equivalent to the amount of a monthly rent. This money can than be used by the landlord to cover the damages or to cover your last month of tenancy in case you need to leave prior to the end of the tenancy agreement.

    Now if the same request comes from a roommate who's not adding you to the official contract, it would be very unwise to satisfy this demand and trust him with your money, especially in a case where you haven't even got the chance to see the original contract.

    When you are renting a sublet, you do not have the same rights as the legal tenant, in fact you have no rights at all unless explicitly approved by the landlord! In consequence you shouldn't need to pay the same guaranties as the tenant! More than that if the landlord discovers your presence he can throw you alone or both you and the legal tenant out on the street and your money stays blocked with the tenant.

    Raspiska Raspiska Raspiska... does not replace the contract and is worthy only in case you have time you to loose with: the Militsiya, The court etc.....
    In Russia they have a thing called the "Raspiska" a receipt for the funds transfer between civil parties.
    It is handwritten and commonly used for the recognition of debts etc... while this surprisingly has some legal value, in the absence of the tenancy agreement and a legal base to reside in a flat... it could prove to be more than just tricky, using this document in front of the court or the police to get the money back.
    Needles to say that what you've heard about the states legal apparatus being a nightmarish mixture of Kafka and Dante's 9 circles of hell, is completely true.


    In spite of these little special characteristics most Russian people are quite decent:
    - some of them won't take you for Santa.
    - some will stop taking you for Santa after being explained that you see their game,
    - and some will just remain the Russkies whose portray we all carried in our heads before arriving to Russia.


    Now this being said let's get to the tips.

    Ask for the contract
    Check that they have the right to be in the flat!
    Profit from the occasion to check the price!

    Pay for what you get
    Explain that you are not Santa Claus and that you are not willing to pay more than what you get, regardless of the fact that your dad is a horribly rich millionaire who owes entire Europe and fleet of private jets. )))) This being a natural fact whose confirmation you can find in the two little letters on the cover of your passport usually saying "EU"

    Pay as you go
    If you like the flat explain that they are not in right to rent out the room to someone else and that by this fact the landlord or themselves can kick you out without notice in full right thus leaving any amounts higher than the monthly rent is excluded.

    Be polite and don't talk to people like animals
    If you have prejudices about people either learn how to see past them either live with the ones you respect. Russians can be quite naive but after a while they start getting the picture....those to whom this is addressed will understand.
    Last edited by Axel32; 04-02-2008 at 16:55.

  2. #2
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    Great post! I am making this one sticky
    Пыщ - Пыщ ололо - Я водитель НЛО ~ I. Reshetnikov

  3. #3
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    Sharing in Moscow

    Is it common to share an apartment in Moscow? I used to live in Prague and it wasnt common there. Expats would share together but not expats with Czechs.

    I may be moving to Moscow from New Zealand in September, depending on a job offer.

    Ben

  4. #4
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    I think it is quite common her. Know many people from abroad who are doing flat share.

  5. #5
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    To Live with Rusians or NOT to live w....

    Quote Originally Posted by Goosoid View Post
    Is it common to share an apartment in Moscow? I used to live in Prague and it wasnt common there. Expats would share together but not expats with Czechs.

    I may be moving to Moscow from New Zealand in September, depending on a job offer.

    Ben
    Personally I like to get to know and understand the countries where I travel or reside and I just don't believe you can achieve that in a classic expat style, from a protected bubble living only with expats and observing the "beasts" in your leisure time. I feel the best way to know the country is mixing with people seeing how they live, getting some of that genuine experience.
    But... I than again I believe it all boils down to how open you really are to seeing who those people really are and how open you are to knowing their culture

    the extract from Axels post about prejudice, and stereotypes summarizes my taught quite well

    Be polite and don't talk to people like animals
    If you have prejudices about people either learn how to see past them either live with the ones you respect. Russians can be quite naive but after a while they start getting the picture....those to whom this is addressed will understand.

  6. #6
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    This doesn't only apply to rental for expact. Some owners also try to gain more from citizens of othere Russian cities. Even with contracts, they simple ignore it. Really need some advice where to go if there is such conflicts after some months of renting.

  7. #7
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    Hi, it's great and very informative. I am Russian techer and need to rent flat for years. It's about renting flats in Russia at all. Now I am looking for a good flatemate because I will move in March!!

  8. #8
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    I see you russian teacher

    Hi its a shame you want to live moscow! i own a flat in Russia but not in moscow iam Australian guy i'd love it if somebody ''western would like to use it whilst iam not there '' they could use it free - i won't rent it to Russians!

    long story but iam afraid only people allowed in my flat are people bearing , principles, honesty, integrity, thats something ''sadly ive had a lot of trouble finding in Russia ''
    And i'd like to keep what i own you know lol - my flat i live 100% as Australian in every detail - they dont like it -------gee thats sad bad luck huh !

    In respect to accomadation i will happily let a ''westerner use my flat '' but its not in moscow no way known i'd live there ( i cant stand the site of the place ) ''too plastic and pretend for me'' 30,000 / 75,000 Rubles month rent - how rediculous ! for that money i would want 6 tarts + everything tossed in - and change.

    One thing i learnt in Russia that is without mister westerner they got a big percentage of nothing - aint that a fact, but man with dollars he makes the charges / rules not them! - same in any country !
    \
    Anybody interested free accom say 5 months the year speak to me - but iam not a bum i own lot of valuables so they have to be like in a role of caretaker - the catch ok free rent who cares , so if anybody is interested give a mail ok

    stevo51

  9. #9
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    you are a strange "Aussie" Steve....

    You have some very unaustralian attitudes and values...most Australians are tolerant people who can use reasonable English.

    I think you are a not Australian, not 52 and probably a troll doing this for kicks.

  10. #10
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    yakspeare

    You have to be joking mate a troll whats that supposed to mean ? would you like my phone number both Aussie AND Ruskie phone would you like my address in perth western Australia and/ or in Russia city where i have a place.
    What are you the FSB ?? Resident sticky beak ? ''mister correction '' lol lol !
    get of your horse huh ! are you a pom ? i was not long ago in pommy land Manchester - hmm nice place of course one would have to rob a bank each 3 weeks to live in England its thats f**king expensive ! your near charged to breath lol.

    Hey listen i don't have to be on here ok , iam only on here to warn a few of the warm and fuzzy folk ''that they are all going to get ripped off blind !

    Mate is this world you treat contempt with contempt 100% ''nice Aussies '' you jest! they all died out years ago this joints a dump - anyplace that lives by 1989 onwards pollie correct - do gooder grap - needs a bulldozer put through it .

    You look at some of these posts oh such and such needs something done go see this person ! - they only charge ''this much '' what a joke ! what ever happened to help fellow man ? ''freebie ''

    You people live Moscow, hey wake up if you are a pom / yank / Aussie you band together to beat the system you don't toss each other to the wolves ! that's not 70's Australia !
    And thats a good way of living/ morals / attitudes / you don't live by the ways they put forward in 2010 - thats for robots ! you live by your ways = correct !

    Hey sorry about being a tad willy on grammar ! but i view this forum i think ok il most likely - find 55 do- gooders pollie corrects ,+ 155 russians all got a house brick on the shoulder, hate the world - so the mentality and english skills on my view, it will be ordinary at best.

    So you try talk on the level you find - hey i write history publications for the government for a living, i can write excellent grammer if i wish , but when in rome you know ! you do as the romans !


    Wish i could find on here a decent aussie to talk to of my generation, as he would know exactly what i'm on about --but although our stats speak 636 Aussies live in Moscow well i only know 2 - god knows what fate has befallen the other 634 ! lol lol maybe they all got scammed to death !

    Hey iam a good guy iam not the enemy ( don't shoot the messenger ) iam not open to critisize - thats it ok !

    stevo51
    Last edited by Judge; 13-04-2010 at 19:38.

  11. #11
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    At any rate, on the forum there are different people: smart, polite, strange, specific, even mad.

    So you are welcomed, not matter. what group you belong to.

    Do not expect that you will not be criticized in case you tell a shit!

    The problem (for you) is that there are many members here both russians and expats who live here for ages, know bad and good things about cities we live (not only Moscow and S.Petersburg) and sure many can disagree with what you writing.

    At least, we can differentiate the truth from specific ways of thinking.

    Actually and frankly speaking, after reading some of your posts, I start doubting about your being in Russia or may be you have some specific (not average at leats) perception of life.

    Nevertheless, you can express youself as you like and be welcomed for doing that.

    Hope you will never come to Rostov-on-Don anymore!
    not only s.t happens!

  12. #12
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    Fair opinion of the person which has faced Russian Moscow idiocy. In Russia as well as in other countries there are good and bad people. In Moscow more than bad people. They have started to forget about hospitality which always was a distinctive feature of Russian. In Moscow the paper and contracts, even расписк rather corrects. But it is necessary to drive off 10 km from Moscow, a situation already absolutely other. Well and in Russian remote places about contracts as a rule at all did not hear, all on a human soul is under construction.

  13. #13
    michael.zay Guest
    Come on, guys!

    My mom is Russian and she's a resident of some provincial city called Kirov (some 1000km East of Moscow I suppose). I've been living there for some time while working on my thesis back in 2008. The city is a 100% different world from the one we call Moscow reality!

    I separate two sides of Russia for myself, it's European Moscow (making an isle of enlightenment and progress) and "true Russia" which includes all the rest cities of this vast territory.

    But having been strengthened by the European (i'm referring to the REAL Europe in here) and the US life, I would should conclude the regretful verdict of the only city I accept under the concept of "Russia-the-country/civilization" it's Moscow, and that's it.

  14. #14
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    [lang=fr]Thanks for the post, it is really helpful. I hadn't measured all the subtleties of the real estate market in Moscow.[/lang]

  15. #15
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    Looking for a neighbour

    Hello Ben,

    I am Russian. My colleague Adrian Cooper is an English teacher from Canada. He has lived in Moscow for about 10 years and we have known each others for several years. At the moment he is looking for someone to share a 2 room apartment or one large studio with. A few months ago EF invited him to Moscow again and offered him a 1 room apartment for 26 000 rubles per month. Butovo is very far from the center of Moscow and there is no land line phone there. So, he wants to save about 10 - 13 000 rubles a month and live closer to the center by sharing an apartment with another expat. Therefore, I wonder if you are still interested in sharing a 2 room apartment or a large studio with my colleague. The avarage cost is 30 000 rubles per month. So, it will cost each of you 15 000 rulble a month.

    My colleague is calm, decent and has a good sense of humour.

    If you are interested please don't hesitate to contact Adrian. His e-mail is coopea@yahoo.com, his Moscow cell phone is +7-985-241-44-49

    If you have questions about my colleague Adrian please feel free to contact me. My e-mail is natella_s@mail.ru, my phone is 8-903-963-56-10

    Best regards,
    Natella

    Quote Originally Posted by Goosoid View Post
    Is it common to share an apartment in Moscow? I used to live in Prague and it wasnt common there. Expats would share together but not expats with Czechs.

    I may be moving to Moscow from New Zealand in September, depending on a job offer.

    Ben

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