Fraud when renting real estate in Serbia

Those who only want to rent an apartment so far should also be careful. Firstly, a universal rule for tenants of all countries, not only Serbia, is to unite, not to pay and not to move in without a contract.

And carefully read the contract itself: is it spelled out, is the apartment rented with or without furniture? Conditions for early termination of the contract? And the return of the deposit? And who pays the utilities? And so on.

But there are also problems specific to Serbia:

1. The refusal of the owner to issue a “white cardboard” to a foreign tenant — registration with the police. Sometimes the landlord simply dynamizes the emigrant, postponing the trip or not agreeing to go to the police with his passport at all. Most often, because they are afraid: suddenly the police, having learned about the tenant, will report to the tax office, and they will have to pay a fat piece of rent money to the state. Or the landlord is just lazy.

Do not hesitate to insist on white cardboard: it is the responsibility of both the foreigner and the landlord to issue it, if you do not have a «boravka»-residence permit, within 1 day after arriving in Serbia or moving to another place in it (if you have a residence permit — a separate conversation ).

Late with white cardboard or lack of it may result in a fine. And without a bookmaker, you simply won’t do a lot of things in Serbia — for example, you won’t open a bank account.

And do not fall for the frequent excuse «the police are not working today.» Typically, cities in each district have an on-duty police station open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

2. An attempt to transfer payments to the tenant that he is not required to make.

The standard contract implies that the tenant will only bash:

the rent itself;
to the utility;
security deposit (deposit) upon check-in;
to repair a broken one.
Everything else is from the crafty owner. There are times when the landlord tries to impose taxes on the tenant as well — on renting out real estate (porez na prihod od izdavanja nepokretnosti u zakup) or on property (porez na imovinu).

Confidently answer that these taxes are included in the rent itself, and you will not pay anything in excess of what is specified in the contract. The owner is obliged to deal with the tax himself.

3. Fraud with collateral (deposit). Get ready: when you are about to leave, the owner will fight for the deposit left to him, like a wounded lion, finding fault with every scratch or speck of dust you left. But this may not be a scam, but human greed.

But the fraud itself is possible even at the stage of choosing an apartment. On the wave of demand created by Russian emigrants, cunning people became more active, posting on websites photographs of apartments that do not exist in Serbia, often at unrealistically low prices, in our times.

When a foreigner, who has suffered from finding housing, calls on an ad, the “landlord” replies that he is somewhere in Europe for work / on vacation, he will not be able to show the apartment right now. And that he receives dozens of calls, and only those who immediately make a deposit are ready to “book” a home before their return.

The emigrant, afraid of missing out on a lucrative offer, sends money — and the swindler disappears along with the announcement of the apartment and the naive foreigner’s belief in a just world.