Q: I am wondering what are the laws regarding noise in an apartment complex. Our upstairs neighbors, make noise all day into the night (about midnight). We have tried to talk with them, had the apartment management talk to them, but they ignore all of us and still make noise like’s it the thing to do. What should I do to avoid physical confrontation?
A: Since you have already contacted the neighbors and the apartment management to no avail, we recommend that you involve the police. In the event that your neighbors continue to make unreasonable amounts of noise, we recommend that you call the police at 112 and lodge a complaint. Officers from your district police station will then pay a visit to the offenders. If your neighbors continue to make noise after the police visit, then they will be officially charged with a misdemeanor. You can also submit a complaint to the National Environmental Dispute Resolution Commission. This website is only available in Korean.
National Environmental Dispute Resolution Commission
Q: For a long time, I’ve suspected my landlady of coming into my apartment when I’m not there. Occasionally things are moved, or lights are on/off that weren’t before. About a month ago, I had a day off of work, and I slept in. I awoke to find my landlady in my kitchen, looking through my shelving. I asked a Korean friend about calling the police, but he told me that it’s not against the law, since she owns the building. Is that true? And is there nothing I can do about a nosy landlady??
A: We would advise you to first speak to the land lady and ask her not to enter your room without your consent. As per the law, all landlords, regardless of whether or not they own the building, must get consent from tenent before entering the building. If you have future problems with her after notifying her that you do not want her to enter the building then you may contact your local police and file charges of trespassing.
Q: Let’s say that a tenant gets an apartment, but must pay the key money (deposit: jeonse). Once a landlord gets the deposit money, he/she puts it into his/her bank. Now, for the time the tenant stays in the apartment, the key money collects interest right? When the tenant withdraws the key money, who gets the interest that has been collected on the money? The landlord or the tenant?
A: Landlord has the right to claim the interest that has been collected on the money by the tenant deposited.
Q: If a landlord charges a tenant 450,000 won/month for rent and decides to raise his/her rent fee while she/he is into the contract, is that right? Must the tenant have it stipulated in the contract that an exact amount of 450,000 won is to be deducted for rent and not more or less? Or, is it customary for a landlord in Korea to raise his rent fee during the contractual period? What if there is a rent increase throughout the contract? Can the tenant object to it?
A: The answer of this question is depend on the period of your contract with the landlord. Usually, the contract period is 2 year base for Korean, and a landlord is NOT allowed to make any change of monthly rent fee during the first year of contract. However, a landlord can raise his rent fee up to 5% following the second year.
Q: I rent a place for 2 years and I will renew my contract. I originally paid 400,000 won per month and my landlord told me he will add 50,000 won per year so from next month, I will have to pay 500,000 won. I heard that the adjustment is les than 5% every year (and not 25% after 2 years). Is there a way I can renew my contract with paying only 5% more per year? If I refuse my landlord’s conditions, does he have the right to not renew my contract?
A: Within the contract period, landlords can increase the monthly rent by up to 5%, but after the contract period ends, there is no such limitation on the amount of monthly rental landlords may ask for and landlord have the right to decide for the renewal of the contract.