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baje

Who is responsible for repairs?

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After renting for a few months with no real issues... the apartment then developed 2 electrical issues. 
Two lights stopped working and I replaced one no problem as that would fall under "my" responsibility. However the other one can't be replaced as it was wired in somehow and would require an electrician to be removed. Also some of the electrical sockets stopped working around the same time. Checked the fuses, reset them and still not working. 
Contacted the agent who then took over a week to contact the landlord / owner and I was told that I need to pay to make the repairs and "if" they think it's a fault of the apartment then I can submit the information to see "if" I would be credited for the money spent.
The solar heater also stopped working for over two weeks and not sure if it's worth bringing that up. 
Based on the experience of the community here.... is it safe to say that the Turkish law is not like the USA or UK law where these types of repairs are handled by property owners?

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Baje,

If this an issue internal to the home and was not created by you, then it is the homeowners responsibility. It may take some assertiveness and working through the agent to get it resolved, but my experience is to have the landlord send their own person out and fix. Otherwise, they will claim you hired someone who was doing it dishonestly, that there was not a problem, and they are not paying. 

There are Turkish Tenant Laws, but Turks rarely pursue through the courts and therefore many landlords are not concerned with the basic rights of the tenant. Stick to your guns, tell them to send their own electrician, work through the agent, and if all else fails contact an attorney. Rates are rather affordable compared to US standards. A simple notification should be enough to get them to act. It's sad, but this is all too common, that's why you see most Turks buy at all costs necessary. 

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It is up to the agent to chase the landlord. Go to see the agent and be assertive. If this fails I believe you can serve the landlord a letter which has been notarised, to request the repairs within a reasonable time.

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Let us know how it goes.

It isn't like the USA. Many landlords, for anything inside the apartment, will do nothing and expect the tenant to fix it. However, I'll echo what has already been said... If it is part of what you are renting, like the electrical fixtures, or something outside of the apartment and part of the structure, like the solar water heater, they are supposed to fix it.

In reference to the notification letter, if you need legal proof that the landlord has been notified, this is done by a noter (notary). According to your instructions, they draw up a letter of notification about the problem and that they need to fix it. When they notarize it, it becomes part of the official record. Then the noter puts the letter into an envelope and sends it to the officially-registered address of the landlord, by taahhutlu posta (registered mail). In this way, both the delivery, and also the contents of the letter in the envelope, can be legally proven. That is why the noter mails the letter and not you. It makes it impossible for the landlord to say they weren't notified of the problem.

Hopefully it won't come to that. I mention it because if you just make a phone call or send them a regular letter yourself, the landlord may say that they never got a phone call or a letter.

I recall that when I was working at a military base in Turkey, the Turkish lawyer there was of the opinion that, if the landlord has been legally notified of the problem and fails to take action, you can then send copies of your receipts to them and deduct the amount of your expenses from the rent you are paying. In my (non-lawyer) opinion this wouldn't require another legal notification since you will have the original receipts if there is any question about the lower amount of rent that month.

I hope that helps... good luck in straightening this out.

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Please do... the gist I get is that going through the Turkish courts is a very lengthy process. And the rental laws tend to favor the tenant more than the landlord anyway. So first of all, your landlord will be highly unlikely to take you to court. And if he or she does, the court, from what you have said, would likely rule in your favor. So I, in my non-lawyer opinion, think that if you just pay the price for the repairs and send the receipts and a reduced amount of rent according to your expenses, your landlord will just have to, as we used to say in the military, "eat it, and live."

Let us know what happens. You have friends here.

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Giving an update on this situation ....
In the end I got someone privately to take a look at the electricity as the real estate agent just read the request message and never replied. 

I also was able to contact the owner of the apartment via WhatsApp and he promised to send someone to look at the solar. This took 2 weeks before someone showed up.... and said he was there to fix the electricity. The communication with his only Turkish, my only English in person... assisted by someone who spoke limited English on WhatsApp continued for quite a few minutes and seemed more like a SCAM than anything else. I explained that there was nothing else wrong with the electricity and it was the solar.... he opened the fuse box, did absolutely nothing and the person on the phone told me to pay him 80TL and take it from the rent. More trying to get the solar fixed I again tried to explain the real issue... so he took a look at the internal water heater inside instead. Turned it on and tried to explain the water was working for heating. At this point I knew I wasn't getting anywhere so I just said ok so he could leave. Now magically the guy on WhatsApp said to pay the electrician 100TL and take it from the rent.
I managed to get the guys name and number and sent him a message directly telling him I'm not paying anything and especially without an invoice. He kept insisting to pay it and I don't need an invoice to the point that he realized I wasn't going to pay for "no work done", and eventually said he'll pay it himself and I just pay the rent as normal.

Subsequently contacted the owner of the apartment to see if he knew anything about this situation and he too read the message without reply. 
Just amazing and a bit funny the lengths people will go to scam someone and avoid repairs.

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I think that is a good example of why they have the notarized notification letters. It's a shame you have to go through all of that. It may also help if you write down, in Turkish, exactly what you need to be fixed, at least to show to a repair person. Or even take a photo with your smart phone of what you want fixed to remove any ambiguity. In fact this is what I have done. When my whole solar water heater and tank blew off my roof, I took a picture of the wreckage on my terrace, and sent it to my landlord! :shock: Thankfully I have a good landlord, he had it fixed in a couple of days.

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Your solar heater probably just needs topping up. Most of them will have an expansion talk which should be refilled (not completely) with a mixture of antifreeze (same as a car) and water. Over the course of time some of this evaporates. Try it and see (I would try just water first to see if there is a leak). good luck

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Don't know if I would call it a scam or not. That's a reasonable fee for someone coming out to your home to take a look. he could have attempted to charge more if he was scamming. Sounds to me like a lost in translation issue as far as why they can't fix it. I would say that most anyone in that field here in Turkey will not have the language skills nor the previous foreigner interaction to accurately assist. 

Do you have any Turkish speaking friends that can call or be there while you are getting it fixed? This would seem to be the easiest way.

Cheers

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As far as I know in Turkey everything happened inside home should be fixed by tenant. No? 

I have a question. For example, we gave deposit to the landlord. Now that we want to leave they should return that money. With respect to what they pay us? I mean do they look at the devices and walls and everything?

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If nothing is damaged, you should get all of it back. It's up to them if they want to do an inspection. If anything is damaged then they can deduct enough money from the deposit to have it fixed, then give you the rest.

The best way to do it is to have the landlord go to a bank with you and open a special deposit account. That way, the bank keeps it and not the landlord. After the end of the contract, if the landlord hasn't filed a court case and put a hold on the money, you can withdraw it after a certain time, I believe it's 90 days.

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Surely the security deposit was paid when the contract was signed. We had this in TRNC when we rented. It was one month's rent. We were contractually obliged to give one month's notice at the end, this we did and did not pay the final month rent in lieu of our deposit. Landlord was happy with that, as we gave access to his workers to paint the house while we were still living there so that he could re-rent it quickly.

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