As in most countries, it is perfectly normal that a tenant is required to pay a deposit to a new landlord to cover any outstanding utility charges or damages to the property during a tenants stay.
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In Poland, the normal practice is the deposit is an amount of one months rent, payable at the start of the contract and refundable at the end so when budgeting you should expect to pay at least two times the net amount of the rent at the start.
The deposit would not normally include the media figure ( utility fees etc ) as this is variable and any landlord who asks you for this should be questioned.
In the spirit of "a verbal contract is not worth the paper it's written on", ensure that the contract includes exactly the terms governing the repayment of the deposit. In some cases, normal wear and tear should not impact on your entitlement to receive a full deposit repayment. This can include repainting after a long period of tenancy or cheap IKEA furniture degrading after only a couple of years.
Having ensured the terms are clear, it is worth taking some pictures of the apartment when you are signing the contract with particular focus on furniture or fittings that are already damaged. Most Landlords will not give you a problem at the end of the contract but it doesn't hurt to have some proof should a dispute arise.
Make sure you are aware of the notice period you agreed to leave the property. In most cases, if not a fixed date contract, you will be required to give one months notice but it may be two or even three months. When you do give notice, address the issues of deposit repayment at the same time.
Arrange an appointment for the landlord to exchange keys and agree the deposit repayment and it would be worth preparing for this by checking you original photos you took when moving in with the current state of the property. It can only lead to more stress if the conversation goes over a few appointments and is best dealt with all in one meeting.
Normally there will be outstanding media costs ( electricity, water etc. ) the value of which would be unknown at this point. The landlord will take the meter readings and should give you written confirmation of these. In some cases you may need to revisit the utility companies to take your name off the bills or the Landlord will do this. It can be agreed that he/she uses your deposit to settle this and repay the remaining difference to you within 30 days to an account you stipulate. They should also include a clear copy of the utility bills reducing your deposit repayment.
The above all assumes that you have dealt directly with the Landlord but if you have used a property agent then you should contact them in the case of any issues and they would normally be happy to help.
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