Beware of your House Broker

My house lease ends on January 7, 2009, but we are trying to find a way to end the lease now.  I signed a 3 year lease through the advise of a Viet Kieu ‘contact’ that I knew.  He recommended that I sign a 3 year lease so I could keep the rent at a similar price ($500/month first year, $550/month last two years).  He assured me everything was okay.

Well, it turned out that I signed a really bad contract.  In the clause that I signed, it specificically said that I would have to pay double the deposit ($1500) if I decided to break the lease.  Yes, it said that.  I just saw it today.  How I missed it nearly three years ago, I do not know.

My friend asked me who the broker was.  I said I did not have one at which point she asked who helped finding the house and negotiating the contract.  I mentioned the Viet Kieu’s name.  She told me that he was the broker.  My friend did not understand why he would make me sign a contract like that.

Right now I will have to negotiate with my landlord about the last three months.  He has three month’s deposit but I need to move out in a month into the new office I found in District 4.  There is a chance I will lose it all if I move out.

We may try to get in to agree and not let me pay the last 3 months rent which is quite common in Vietnam.  In that case, my current roommate can continue to stay here and pay 1/2 of the rent.  I will leave and move into the new house since I really need an office to get some work done.

In the meantime, be wary of any house broker.  Let your trusted friends find you a good house.

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