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Luxury flats behind schedule

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Ten months ago, Yvette Taylor settled the last installment for an apartment on Prague’s prestigious Italská street. Now she has been finally allowed to bring her furniture to the flat. But when the movers arrived there, they found out that the flat is not ready yet. What to do now with the furniture that she brought from Spain?

Yvette Taylor paid over CZK 4 million for a luxury one bedroom apartment in the development project Riegrovy sady. It should have been ready in October 2007. In March 2009, Václav Šlosar, head of RS residence that is in charge of the construction, confirmed in an email that there was nothing to prevent Taylor from bringing her furniture to her new flat. So she ordered a lorry to take the furniture from Spain. The transport cost CZK 100,000.

She wanted to equip the flat before she comes to the Czech Republic again with her small child. Šlosar agreed to meet her on Monday, 6 April, but did not arrive. Instead, he sent his subordinate to hand the keys over. Moreover, instead of a CZK 4 million apartment, there was just a construction site. The building administrator assured the surprised Taylor that everything would be in order by 13 April when the furniture was to arrive.

But on Thursday the plasters fell down from ceilings in the flat and the administrator told Taylor that bricklayers will not be able to finish the work owing to Easter holidays. And he offered her at least the future garbage room to store her furniture there.

No right to keys to flat she paid for
A lorry with the furniture arrived on 13 April. But the provisional room turned out to be too small for all the furniture worth CZK 1.5 million, so some of the equipment had to be deposited in the unfinished flat. Suddenly, RS residence s.r.o., which promised to finish the flat in the autumn of 2007, started making excuses, saying it cannot work in the flat when the furniture is there.

One of the workers in charge, who introduced himself as Šnajdr, said that Taylor has no right to get keys to the flat until everything is finished there. He admitted that the company was to blame, and warned that Taylor can ask for compensation in line with the contract but cannot move to her flat.

“However, my contract does not set any binding date on which the flat has to be handed over, and I could only ask for financial compensation if the flat was not approved for use in time, and that has happened already,” Taylor said. And how did the company deal with the chaos? “Mr. Šnajdr allegedly cut the administrator’s annual bonuses by a third for giving me keys to a flat that I have paid for almost a year ago. That’s all,” said Taylor.

Be careful about disadvantageous contracts
Taylor’s lawyer had warned the businesswoman that her contract is disadvantageous. “However, when I asked for changes to the document, the developer told me to sign it as it is or buy a flat elsewhere. And other developers have the same contracts as Sudop that RS residence is a unit of,” Taylor says why she signed the contract even though she was aware of possible problems.

“No one is going to pay me the damage I have incurred. But I want the public to know what is the practice here. There are 160 other people who have to deal with these constant postponements and who need a place to live, to store their things somewhere and to draw a mortgage loan,” Taylor said.

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