Archive for March 9th, 2009

h1

Apartment Rental in Ukraine

March 9, 2009

Oh the horror stories, oh the dismay, oh the unrealistic expectations!!!

OK – let us start at the…….start.  You arrive in Odessa looking to rent an apartment.  Price will be dictated by a number of factors, such as duration of stay (the longer the stay, the cheaper it becomes).  A few days or weeks will cost anything from $50 – $120 per night dependent upon location and decoration.

Long term rental, on-going or specific term 6 – 12 months etc etc. contracts, works out much cheaper and can be from between $250 and $500 per calendar month, again dependent upon the standard and location of the apartment in question.

If you find one you like, do not “fanny about” for a week thinking about it.  The rental market is fast and furious here, even more so during the summer months, so if you like it make the decision within 24 hours if you can……….if not sooner!!!

Do not expect the apartments all to be of “western standard”……..or even close.  That is not to say the vast majority of apartments are like squatting in a derelict or abandoned building, although in a few, it can certainly feel like it.

Expect to pay additionally for the utilities, particularly in the cases of a long term stay. 

Do not expect any contract to be written in English, or indeed the landlord to speak English.  If you want the contract translating into English then it will be at your expense and in your time……..during which the apartment may well have been let to others whilst you have this done.

Alternatively drop a comment here or at www.odessfx.com and help can be found.

Although the law states rent should be paid in the local currency (UAH), it is common for landlords to ask for US$ instead.  Please do not expect the landlord to be paying any tax on your rental of their property……..which can and often does lead to OVIR registration problems if you intend to stay for more than 90 days at a time.  Again drop a comment here or to OdessaFX and help will be at hand.

Some landlords can be “unpredictable” and can sell the apartment from under you even if you have a valid rental contract.  They have also been known to evict you for no reason and with absolutely no notice even if you have a valid rental contract.  The fact that you have a valid rental contract can and often does mean very little in these situations……..like everything else in Ukraine, you are not playing on a level playing field as you would expect elsewhere. 

It is not really as bad as it sounds and these occurrences are not exactly happening all the time………so do not dispare.

I once remember being on Old Arbat in Moscow, (when I lived in Moscow,) watching the local souvenirs/stall traders in action.  At one point, at the far end I could see what was obviously a tour guide holding the Union Jack above her head and like the Pied Piper, leading about 30 UK tourists down the street.  At this point, the local traders flipped the price cards over on their stalls to display an inflated price………well you would, wouldn’t you?  I am sure London traders do the same to Japanese tourists…………the point of this tale?……..the same can often occur when renting an apartment here.  The price may well inflate if it is known you are foreign, so it is therefore worthwhile taking along a local to “haggle” on your behalf.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n3LL338aGA&feature=related

Expect there to be no instructions for the heating system, cooker……….or anything in English once you have selected and paid for your apartment.  Rental normally means, in the case of long term, 2 months payment on your first day and the full payment upfront for a short term stay. 

In fact, the more I type about apartment rental, if you have no Russian or even “fair to crap” Russian language ability, I would suggest www.odessfx.com as the place to contact to help you through this process.

Apartment rental is, however, long or short term, much cheaper than any of the hotels in Odessa……….even those which resemble and have the appeal of the “Bates Motel” from Psycho.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCgxjOJp0xk&feature=related

h1

Idiot’s Guide to Domestic Property Purchases in Odessa

March 9, 2009

A “Beginners Guide” to purchasing land, houses and apartments in Ukraine.   

The first document you will need to accomplish any of this is your tax ID document.  It is issued by the Tax Police in your local Oblast.  This gives you (if a personal ID Number) or your company (if a company ID number) the right to buy and sell anything in Ukraine (less those specifically prohibited to foreign nationals without permanent residency such as agricultural land – it does allow you to lease such land however).

Land

You cannot buy agricultural land as a forgein national.  You also cannot buy gardening allotments as a forgeign national but you can lease both.

When you purchase land from a seller you should recieve a document showing the plot of the land in relation to surrounding plots.  What you are buying is shown as a solid block amongst other land boundries and a scaled up plot of your land individually on the same document showing the exact size to the centimeter of the dimensions of the land.  This is computer generated from the land registry department and given to you by the seller.  Both you and the seller then go to a notary with the document and they confirm all detail is correct.  The notary then signs, stamps and dates this document.

You also get two more documents at this time from the notary.  Both are on official Ukraine paper with hologram seals and unique numbers at the bottom of the document. The first document states all information about your piece of land.  Basically the system is the notary requests all information relating to the land and it’s current registered owners – this should hopefully match the name of the seller , if not you have a problem!  This information takes approximately 15 minutes by electonic check with the Land Registry Department in Kyiv.  Assuming the name matches that of the seller (or in the case of deceased owners documents showing proof of death and relationship of next of kin) then the official document is placed in a printer and the Kyiv information thereon and the last paragraph names the seller (and tax ID) agreeing to sell the land to you (as named on your Tax ID) and stating your Tax ID number.  It is then signed on the front, and stamped and signed on the back.  The back of the document also states that date and time (to the minute) the document was produced.  The front page will also state the full address of the plot of land and the very very long registration number of the land plot.

The second document produced there and then is on similar hologrammed paper which states that the seller (name as in passport) sells you (name as in passport) the property/land (the full address and full land registry number).  There is then a full disclaimer against any will which maybe in force negating any claims from relatives upon death who were not aware of the sale.  On the reverse side of this document it continues with the disclaimer relating to any court actions etc. etc. by relatives.

The seller then signs that he has sold the land and the buyer that they have bought the land.  The notary then signs and dates and stamps this document also.  This last document is produced signed and dated and stamped twice.  One stays with you the buyer and the other is retained by the notary and forwarded to central land reigstry in Kyiv.

At this point you then pay your money which is normally a cash transaction here – NOT before (unless you have paid a % deposite before completion, again in cash).

You then take your 2 hologrammed official documents your initial document as per paragraph one (with the solid coloured land plot) to your local Land Registry Office, with your passport, Tax ID document.  They make copies of all documents.  You pay a fee and you are given another hologrammed official Ukraine document.  This one also has the Ukraine Trysub on it.  This has now only got your name on the document as owner of this plot of land, hologrammed document ID number and summerises the other documents in relation to address, plot size and location.  This is again stamped and signed on the front.  On the rear of the document is has a large drawing of your land plot, a hologrammed seal and is stamped and signed again.

The land registry will NOT retain any of the original documents as they now are proof the land is yours.

This last document mentioned, if you are the seller (not the buyer) is taken from you when you sell the land so that in effect there is only ever one official document saying someone owns that piece of land in circulation.

Buying a House

First of all, you must check the above documents for the land on which the house sits exist and are correct and in the hands of the lawful seller.

You then must be given by the seller a full technical passport.  The electrics do not form part of the passport  – just structural details walls etc.  Even if you buy a bare bones appartment from the likes of Ctikon or Berega for example, they should provide you with an appartment passport even though the appartment is brand spanking new, regardless of any other guarantees they may offer you.  Without one you will never be able to sell it on (or at least you should not be able to sell it on  ).  I would caution anyone against buying either new or second hand appartments without this document as you will never be able to sell it on afterwards unless you get one.  This document also forms part of the ownership documentation, he/she that holds the document stands much more chance of keeping the building (or appartment) in the case of disputed ownership.  It is called a technical passport or tehnicheskiy passport (sorry no cyrillics on my laptop).  It consists of a covering page showing the address, stating the fact that it is the technical passport and the name of the owner.  There is a space undernath for subsequent owners details during the selling process and places for offical stamps regarding the sale and the fact that no changes structural changes have been made to the building during that period of ownership.  It should also show the name of the indivual who made the technical passport and bare the stamp of the council of the region in which the building (or appartment) is in with supporting signatures from the author of the document that all is correct and the building is structurally sound.  The second page is a small outline of the building (or appartment) in the grounds (if applicable) in which it is situated.  Basically it shows the buildings exterior dimensions inside the plot of land.  This to is “stamped” and “signatured”.  The next page (or pages) depending on how many levels the premises consist of is a detailed drawing showing all measurements, position and thickness of walls and locations of windows doors etc. etc.  It will include any partitioned (ie. plasterboard or “Gyps”) walls which can be knocked down with a lump hammer in 2 minutes    There is a page for each level of the dwelling.  This to is “stamped, signatured and dated” etc. on each page.  The next section of the document is a detailed spreadsheet naming the purpose of each room, the size in metre squared.  This also is stamped but not always signatured or dated to be fair….dunno why.  The last section of the document is stamped and signed and on offical embossed paper saying who carried out the survey, the full address and the owner of the property at the time of the survey, ie company or private individual.  On the reverse of this document is another stamp stating it has been registered with the local council.  The last document relates to the registration number of the house (or appartment) and it’s appropriate registration number which is given after the survey and acts as a form of receipt on sale for those who update the computer showing who owns what (to avoid disputed ownership).  This also is stamped and signed on embossed paper.

The system is there for a number of reasons – one to stop unsafe modifications by people who either pretend to know what they are doing (god knows there are many here) and to protect the legitimate buyer as only those with the technical passort (and their details thereon) will should/win in the case of disputed ownership as to have the document your ownership is registered with the local council.

Buying An Apartment

As per the documentation for the house relating to the technical passport only.

Hope all the above gets rid of the “mystique” the agents like to charge between $5000 and $20,000 for!!

One further point, for those who want “Building Insurance” without the technical passport you cannot get it.

Please note this is a beginners guide to documents you should have/recieve/part with when buying and selling.  It sounds simple (and it is) but can take upto and over a month on occasion as many sellers do not have all the documents for whatever reason.  If in doubt at any stage a good notary or lawyer will keep you straight. I would not rely under any circumstances on the advice of an agent you find in the newspapers like Aviso!! 

That is it – you now own a piece of Ukraine.

h1

UEFA 2012 – Odessa………..Accrington Stanley, who are they?

March 9, 2009

Odessa is one of the Ukrainian cities in the frame from hosting part of the UEFA 2012 football tournament, to be co-hosted with Poland.  4 venues in Ukraine will host the games, the home grounds of Dynamo Kyiv (Kyiv) and Shavtar Donesk (Donesk) will be two………..for the reason both resemble stadiums and not a car park or a farmers field.

Amongst the other cities looking to host the tournament is Odessa.  The home team is called Chernomoretz (or translated, Black Sea).  Accrington  Stanley Chernomoretz………Who are they?

Chernomoretz are currently languishing towards the bottom of Ukraine’s top league (very like my own UK club…….who also wear blue and hail from a location close to the sea on the South Coast…….coinsidence or conspiracy – I am yet to decide).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgYP1d5nN2o

Anyway, Chernomoretz are indeed the local Odessa top flight team and play at the Chernomoretz Stadium. 

The use of the word “stadium”, in comparison to, say, Old Trafford, Anfield, Stamford Bridge etc. etc. is like comparing that of Old Trafford and, well………Accrington Stanley.  In fact I am sure, John McCain managed to get more people into his “town hall” rallies than will actually fit inside (or even turn up to each week) the Chernomoretz Stadium.

There are of course, grandiose schemes and plans to turn the existing stadium into a modern EU style stadium (as has recently occurred in Kyiv and Donesk………but Chernomoretz is not backed by Oligarch’s with more disposal income than a small South American nation).

The question is then, where will the money come from.  Well actually it is not the question yet, as Odessa has yet to be confirmed as a succesful bidding location……….despite good road links, rail links, international airport and port facilities and being on the “Poland side” of Ukraine.

This indecision has not dampened the City Administration’s desire to host the tournament, http://www.odessa.ua/news/19679/, indeed, why would it.  Odessa is a major tourist destination for those who know it exists and so any world/europe wide media exposure can only be good for the City…….can’t it?

You can follow the developments here: http://www.odessa.ua/announce/8021/, as in theory, it will be updated as things happen……….or fail to happen.

If, by some miracle, Odessa is to host the tournament, then, of course there is an ever decreasing critical time-line for the Chernomoretz Stadium to find the funding and complete the works in readiness for the tournament.  Even with the Mayor’s construction background and contacts, starting works today will make it a “tough ask”.  It maybe that we see Torres or Walcott playing on the half built car-park and being rudely challenged by a large chunk of reinforced concrete.  We may even see a replay of the famous football match between Germany and England from WWI, in surroundings similar to no-man’s land on that Christmas Day, whereby more care and attention is paid to the craters and pot holes, than any potential illegal challenge from the opposition in a mistimed or cynical act.

For anyone who has attempted to do business here, of course, this comes as no suprise…….Ukraine is not a level playing field.

Even if the stadium is completed on time there is then the question of where you put all the fans.  Despite Odessa being a major tourist attraction, there is a serious lack of “quality” hotels and short term rental accommodation, which given the time-line, financial crisis and Ukraine’s “laid back” attitude to almost everything with a dead-line, will probably result in “floating hotels” in the docks……….and various drunk europeans being found bobbing up and down in a rather bloated and fish-nibbled condition in the sea after their team’s performances and subsequent alcohol intake. 

Getting fans to the stadium will also be an issue as all buses are always packed at any time on any day even outside of the normal tourist season.  Add in seasonal tourists and several thousand football fans, the pressures on the transport system will be immense.

I know, I know, get in extra buses is the answer, but from where and who will drive them?  Ukrainian drivers are on a par with those from India, Mad Max films or Demolition Derby’s and drive their “machines” like guided missiles…….if there is a space in the traffic, close your eyes, foot down and when you open them, you are either where you want to be……….or have hit someone else.  Bus drivers, relatively normal drivers in comparison and are obviously licensed for such a roll……….as well as being psychologically assessed to want to have such a job in the first place one would imagine!

I will also remind everyone of the “Needing to Pee…….Or Worse” blog I wrote here at this point also.

I will return to the logistics and facilities again………..if Odessa is to host the tournament. 

If Odessa doesn’t host the tournament, or football isn’t your thing, you can always download a very “cool” game called Warhammer to your computer and ignore 6 weeks of football with comparative ease.  Take a glance at www.spearheadblog.com for some serious (well semi-serious) advice on playing in conditions which actually mirror the Chernomoretz ground as it exists now!

 As yet, “they think it’s all over”………………..but it ain’t…..just yet anyway!!

%d bloggers like this: