Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Business Practices of Renting in Korea

I just signed the lease to our new apartment and this place is gorgeous.  Not even going to show the photos since we decided to walk away from the lease.  The landlady decided to try and collect more money on the agreed monthly payment.  I guess the signed lease contract is null and void to her even though she signed it and even used a special stamp that verifies her identity.  I guess that dates back to the time of medieval kings and queens.

I spoke to the chief of the Housing department and I believe we can walk away from the lease.  I'm not sure if we are also bound by contract to move in, but I think she just violated it when she tried to collect more from us.  It is called a double contract and it is illegal.  I could have black listed her if I wanted to and it would be forbidden for any DoD employee or soldier to rent from her.  That would be harmful for her since she owns 5 rental properties.  The chief took my phone call as anonymous since I'm not out to ruin someone, but I think the damage has been done.  He will advise anyone not to rent from her so she may as well be blacklisted. Plus I may have to formally report it to get out of our lease.  I refuse to put my family through that.

That's not even the worse of it.  If we honored the contract she will collect the extra $100 a month from somebody.  If not from us, the real estate agent will have to pay.  Even though he didn't sign any document saying he needs to, but he still will.  The issue came up when the chief haggled the price down.  We were all prepared to pay the original amount, but she shouldn't have signed the lease at a lower price.  Haggling is done with everything here, not just at the flea market or garage sales. Now she is trying to recoup the amount she lost.

I would hope that not all landlords are this way.  I just don't believe that she doesn't think that she cannot honor the lease she signed at the price stated.  I find it funny that a verbal agreement supersedes a signed contract in her eyes.  I really think it's just her and maybe a few more other, but I would really think that a country like Korea conducts business on a more honorable way. 

I wasn't going to post any photos, but a blog entry without photos seems useless.  I hope we can find another apartment in SK.  We love the location and we don't really want another apartment building.  I guess we won't loose the playground area or the view if we find another unit in the same building.  So the photo above may still be our view and our playground.

I hope that this experience with this business woman is the last negative reflection I have of Korea.
I sincerely have high hopes for this place and moving here has been difficult so far.  I am keeping a positive attitude and will not be discouraged.


  1. That's rotten. Hope things work out soon.

  2. It actually worked out. We had a meeting with the chief of Housing and the owners of the agency. I didn't feel comfortable ruining her business and he gave me some time to think about it.

    Discussed it with Christian and we even looked at another unit in the same building, but ultimately we kept the lease under the condition that she honor it and not try to collect anymore money.

    If we had gotten out of it, the families that are currently renting from her will have to move at the end of the lease at their own cost. Not only will I affect a Korean business owner, but also 4 other families that work for the Army. I was definitely not cool with that situation.