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Rīgas Kore - Makleru Etika

Es rakstu so anglu valoda lai arzemnieki var to kartigi saprast. Beware of real estate agents that are helping foreigners find apartments. The following happened awhile ago, but neither "Rigas Kore", the real estate agency or manager will take any responsibility for their actions. As you will see, I conclude by advising all foreigners to change their locks.The facts: I am an American-Latvian born in the U.S. I am profficient in speaking and reading the Latvian language. I had decided to move to Riga. I spent about 4 months in Riga over a one year period preparing to move to Latvia for two+ years.I found an apartment that I liked on the Rigas Kore real estate agency website. The agent brought me over to see the furnished apartment and I signed a one year lease. (3 Biskapa Gate - apt # 21 on the fourth floor) The price of the apartment was 700 euros per month. Therefore, I immediately paid first months rent and a security deposit to the landlord. I also paid a 700 euro fee to Rigas Kore. The landlords were Victors Vilkovs and Sergej Radchenko.Less than 3 weeks into the rental, the aprtment was robbed during the middle of the night. Luckily, I had an American friend visiting me who was staying in the second bedroom and can attest to the entire story.It became evident that the open juices and milk in the fridge had been drugged. This caused both my friend and myself to have a very groggy sleep. When we woke up, we realized that our things, laptop, wallets, my passport, etc. were gone. None of the landlord's furnishings, including the tv, dvd player, etc had been taken.There was no sign of a break-in at the coded door downstairs. In addition, there was no sign of a break in at the front door of the apartment. The landlord assured me before the break-in (when I was signing the lease) and after the theft that there were only two keys for the apt - I had one and he had other. Both my friend and I realized in the morning that we had thought their was a person in the respective bedrooms in the middle of the night, but we were both so groggy (b/c of the drugs), that we did nothing at the time.Why the landlord? First it was some type of inside job. After the theft, I confronted the landlord about the break-in in front of the Rigas Kore agent. He wanted to have a drug screening done and was insisting that I had picked up some women and had been drugged and robbed by them. (Why would he have to make up any story?) Then he made a phone call and spoke in Russian, which I do not understand. After the call, he told me that he had spoken to the police in charge of the case and that my laptop had been recovered. He offered to pick it up for me. That might seem very thoughtful, but I had just come from the police station and had been talking to the inspector about the robbery - I needed to do this to get a new passport. He said that nothing had been recovered and that I should not expect it to be. Thus, it was clear to me that the landlord had access to the computer and was willing to return it.What the landlord would NOT allow me to do was to change the lock on the apartment. If the lock would be changed and the landlord did not have a key, I would have felt safe staying there. But as soon as I insisted on this, various physical threats were made.I could go on, but needless to say, I would not stay in an apartment that had been robbed by an insider if I did not fully control access.Rigas Kore plays a significant role. I requested that they return the 700 euro fee. They refused, saying that they had no legal obligation to do so. One could argue about legalities and moral obligations. I was, at the time discussing this with the manager of Rigas Kore. He was adament on not returning a dime.****The important aspect of this, however, is that Rigas Kore immediately started marketing the apartment, despite the knowledge of the theft and the evidence that it had been an inside job. Within one or two weeks the apartment had been leased to other foreigner. One can only imagine what occurred to this person. I have argued that Rigas Kore, as the real estate agent, has an obligation to cease renting apartments when they know that insider theft has occurred. But of course, it is in their interest to turn the apartment and make as many 700+ euro fees as possible as quickly as possible. This is a quick way for both the agent and the landlord to collect duplicate fees.Interestingly, I would watch for this apartment to come up in apartment listings and advise agents what had happened. In one case, there was a manager at other real estate agency that was listing the apartment. He asked me various questions about what had happened. Only later did I realize that this was the same manager, who had been at Rigas Kore.Manager, while at other real estate agency, and Rigas Kore continued to relist this apartment on a regular basis. IS IT ETHICAL FOR AN AGENT TO PUT A CLIENT IN AN APARTMENT WHERE THE LANDLORD STEALS FROM THE TENANTS? I think not. Should I receive reimbursement from Rigas Kore or manager for the 700 euro fee. It would only be appropriate.I recently contacted manager and Rigas Kore. No responses whatsover from Rigas Kore. He denied any responsibility. He turned the matter over to a principal of other real estate agency, who said that I should quit bothering his new employee. I should quit bothering him despite the fact that he denied my claims on behalf of Rigas Kore AND despite the fact that he listed the apartment on the other real estate agency site. Clearly, noone thinks that there is any wrongdoing or that I should be reimbursed.I would urge people to be very careful about their real estate agents. I certainly would urge people to stay away from Rigas Kore. One might wonder how many other scams like this are on the Rigas Kore or other real estate sites.As I reported this incident to the police and the American Embassy, both advised me that this scam was not new to them. Clearly, real estate agents and landlords take advantage of foreigners. I would urge everyone who rents an apartment to change their locks.VI

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Komentāri (4)

A Antiņš 06.06.2008

Un tagad velreiz to pašu tikai latviešu valodā :D:D:D

V Vitania 06.06.2008

Mr. Vilis Inde,

A lots of stuff like that happens every day here in our banana republic as I call this country and it does not matter that I have born here and lived here all my life.
As a foreigner you could not know the level of speculations in real estate market, but, then again, why did not you investigate the situation before you signed a contract or even before...? I assume - you had no idea of that it could happen like this.
Unfortunately - foreigners are robbed, cheated, treated bad even if they want to drink a cup of coffee in the Old City, not speaking about having an apartment in there.
And that's ok, because a foreigner - it is a cow for milking (if you know what I mean), he has a loads of money what he can spend, he does not know the legislation and his own legal rights, so he does not know how to act and what to do in circumstances as you told us.
And even if he gives a claim to police, I dont believe there will be anybody who would like to dirt his own hands with this, because it simply takes too long time and causes too many problems.
It's a pitty, but even native latvians are treated the same. People simply are careless, they don't give a sh** about others.
I would insist that you look for the attorney and finish this case as a winner, but, thats up to you. And - it is not a cheap joy, but, sometimes the money isn't most important.
And - if you have any evidence of you've been cheated, save it for the better days. You will need it, if you wanna and gonna fight.

Good luck!

S Sanda 27.06.2008

Sviests - patiesība ir kaut kur tur arā! :D

E elena 20.09.2008

100% bullshit! I strongly believe, that NONE of latvian landlords NEED your stuff! However, if you insist on this, I reccomend landlords to check the "guests" version. As I see the situation, you had been drugged and robbed by the night guests invited by yourself! Good luck!

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