Monday, September 28, 2009

Help from Fellow Expats

Here's a tricky one:

I was wondering if you could guide me to information about payment obligations regarding repairs within the chonsei system. My specific problem is that we have a leak in our bathroom ceiling and I'm wondering if the apartment above us has any legal responsibility to pay for repairs or to share the cost etc. (i.e. do they pay for repairs that effect only their apartment/living space or does one of us pay for the whole thing? or is there another system that's followed?). Any advice would be appreciated.

Wow, that's a tough one. I would appreciate some solid advice on this one as well. All I know is that when the same type of thing happened to me and it wasn't my fault or the tenant above me, the liability fell on the building's owner and I don't think there was much of a fight about it. However, if your personal property was damaged, I'm sure the wrangling will get more heated.

Sadly, I just don't know to answer and so I appeal to the greater community: Any advice?


Alex said...

I explained the situation to a Korean and she replied that the person whose pipes are problematic should pay. (Meaning if the problem is because of the pipes that the upstairs apartment uses, that they should pay to have any damage below fixed)

She is by no means an expert, but at least that is the opinion of a local. Perhaps the best bet is to ask at a real estate agent who would have an impartial opinion and perhaps know more about laws covering tenants if there aren't already specific clauses in the jeonse contract.

Chris in South Korea said...

This is one case where reviewing the contract is probably the first step. In general, problems developed in your unit are detailed in the contract - but communication is also key. The goal is simple - resolve the problem - without putting any of your millions in key oney in jeopardy. So long as the landlord / landlady knows about the problem and they are taking steps to see the problem corrected, things *should* resolve peacefully.

In this sort of situation, you may have your school on your side - did they put up the key money? If so, they have a certain incentive to get things figured out. Whatever deposit they've collected from you is usually just a fraction of what they've put up on your behalf.

The Expat said...

Excellent comments, guys.

Alex: It would make sense that those who have the faulty pipes should at least be more responsible for the damage than the questioner, but there's also a chance that the tenets above don't know that there's a problem. If they didn't know, then it would be harder to get them to pay for it. I think talking to an agent is a great idea.

I would suggest that the questioner looks around their neighborhood and drops by a place for a little info.

Chris: I'm not certain, but I don't think many schools follow the jeonse system. Some wealthy schools might if they are large enough, but others just pay the 5-10 million in key money and then monthly rent. Still, I think that's solid advice for anybody having issues with their place.

The Expat said...

From my Facebook notes, Mike adds:

There are no guidelines for this as it usually varies depending on where you live and who your owner is. The general baseline is anything over 30,000 won and your owner has to take care of it but its best to just ask beforehand. The real estate agency is generally a good place to start asking.

Regarding the specific issue, I've heard that the ... Read Moreabove also extends to issues within the building unless the owner can prove someone is specifically at fault for said damages. The reality is that the owner can ask for some payment from both residents (think of getting into a car accident here) if the repairs end up being substantial. Once again though, it really depends on the situation.

Hope this helps.

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