So you’re planning to move to Bucharest for a while. That means that you are also probably thinking of renting a flat (apartment) where you are going to live while you work / enjoy the city. Here are a few pointers to get you started on your journey. Make no mistake, unless you move here on an expat contract and your company takes care of these aspects, this will not be an easy trip. Romania is not extremely well regulated when it comes to renting places and sometimes it’s more of a common sense decision rather then just black and white.
- Know your budget
When moving to a new place it’s usually easy to just assume that you will have the a budget for rent and that will take care of everything. Not necessarily true for Bucharest. First of all you need to know how much you are willing to spend monthly for rent only. While the price range for an apartment in Bucharest ranges between 250 euro per month to 2500 euro month so do the advantages and disadvantages that come with the offer.
Prices are usually expressed in euro per month and do not include utilities or administration fees. That means that apart from rent, you will have to pay for electricity, heating, tv & internet, water and building administration costs such as cleaning of the common spaces, elevator electricity (should the building have an elevator), security (if the case). Costs vary from building to building, from neighborhood to another so it’s really hard to give an estimate. Usually, for a medium market apartment you should pay around 70 euro – 90 euro per month for administration fees (including the above) only. See here the utilities costs index for Bucharest.
2. Know your needs
Are you going to get home and to work (or wherever) by public transportation? Then perhaps living close to a metro (subway) station is really important. Are you outgoing and want to party every weekend? Then you should look at how far you are from where the action is (the historical city center). Do you enjoy peace and quiet? Don’t rent near a highly trafficked intersection or road – there’s lots of flats near intersections. Are you going to drive while you stay here? Then you should definitely get a parking spot with your rent. If you plan to bring your family here and you have kids you are probably going to want to rent near a park. Knowing your priorities and being able to compromise (unfortunately you cannot have all the above especially if you are on a budget) is really important when looking at long term rentals.
3. Know who you are renting from
Most of the housing market in Bucharest is offered to rent by individual owners. This means that (depending on your budget and necessities) that you might be renting from older individuals which do not have any experience renting to foreigners or might not even speak English. Also, be aware that while some owners will sign a contract and pay taxes for their renting income, some don’t even want to talk about it as they only want to make “gentlemen agreements”. In this case you will pay the money “in hand” each month. If you get your rent deducted from your employer a contract is a must and I personally highly recommend you have something signed as well since this will protect you from most forms of abuse. Ask to get the contract translated before you sign it and also put it all aspects that seem unclear. Some owners still believe that it’s ok to drop by whenever they want to “check up” on the state of the apartment. Others think it’s ok to ask you to leave the apartment in 3 days because they want to move back in. Having a signed contract will not relieve you of all worries but at least it gets you some rights which you can claim should you have a dispute.
4. Rent furnished or non-furnished
Some apartments come fully furnished and fully equipped (from kitchen appliances to tv and washing machine), others have some form of furniture (perhaps a bedroom and a living room) while others are rented bare. Of course, the non-furnished ones are cheaper to rent but you should take into consideration the costs of furnishing an apartment. Of course, there’s always IKEA or if you aim for the higher quality product Mobexpert or custom made (contact us for a quote).
5. Comissions & taxes
If you will rent through one of the many real estate agencies on the market expect to pay a comission (tax) which is usually represents 50% of one months rent – sometimes more. Most agencies will make you sign a form of precontract when you preview the flats. so they make sure you don’t just call the owner after you visit the place.
Resources and more: should you want to consult the local market yourself, here’s a few sites you can look at (granted, in Romanian, not EN).