It’s a good idea to start searching early for accommodation by first choosing the district you’d prefer to live in and then seeing what options are available within your budget. You can do this either by browsing the Internet or contacting a real estate agency.
You can and look for advertisements online or in the newspaper. Some examples are:
www.gratka.pl (Dom i Nieruchomości)
The real estate section of olx.pl (‘nieruchomości’)
A print newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, has a housing supplement called Gazeta Dom.
On Facebook, many people post offers apartments or rooms to rent, just beware of scammers.
Check the phrases “mieszkanie do wynajęcia.” Be mindful of some of these online ads. For example, in Poland, each room is counted. So a 2-room means that there is a bedroom and a living room. This is unlike most other countries where a one-bedroom apartment means there are a one-bedroom AND a living room. Most apartments come fully furnished, but you can find others that are empty if you want to bring in your own furniture.
If you would rather get the services of a real estate agency, they offer protection in case of any disputes and even work up the rental agreement with the landlord. Keep in mind that they will charge you for their services, usually a minimum of at least a half month’s rent.
Some examples of real estate agencies are:
www.pepehousing.com, which is a group of ex-Erasmus scholars who provide quality apartments to students. The prices are usually higher than what you would find elsewhere, but the quality is also higher
Rentflatpoland.com is run by a French expat, and entrepreneur who helps foreigners find housing. This is considered to be a very reliable and trustworthy service.
Tips on finding an apartment:
Calculate what you can afford.
Don’t rush. If you can’t find a place to suit you right away, stay in a hotel until you do find one.
Get to know the districts and how they might fit your lifestyle needs.
Use different resources to locate housing. Some are better than others.
During an apartment viewing, make sure to look and act professionally when you meet the landlord to increase your chances that he will choose you.
How to avoid scams and surprises while looking for an apartment
Don’t pay for the rent upfront, especially with cash.
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Don’t trust anyone who won’t show you the apartment.
Make sure the flat really exists by comparing photos of the building with google maps.
Never pay a fee to view the apartment. This should always be free.
If you encounter a scammer, try to report him through whatever website he is using. This will help others in the community.
Conclusion of an agreement
After the landlord agrees to rent you an apartment, make sure to ask him to sign a contract with you. This will protect you in case you end up having any disputes with your landlord.
These items should be outlined within the agreement:
A detailed description of the condition of the apartment before you moved in. If possible, take photographs for your records.
The address of the rental premises
Details of the tenancy terms such as a list of people who can live in the apartment, the deposit amount and how it will be returned, the monthly amount and its due date, and whether or not tenants can make physical changes to the apartment.
Details on who is responsible for utility charges
Details regarding the length of the contract, and the amount of time in which you have to give notice when you leave.
Data on the landlord and the tenant, such as first and last names, dates of birth, address of the landlord, including document numbers that support the data
Signatures of both parties
There is no standardized template for a lease agreement. You can find options on the internet, but it is up to you and your landlord to agree on your specific set of terms. Once you have agreed upon and both signed the contract, the landlord should give you a copy of the lease contract written in Polish. If you do not speak Polish, it might be a good idea to bring a friend who speaks Polish or ask your landlord to provide you with a translated copy.
Note that if you are sub-leasing an apartment, the landlord might try to give you an informal agreement. While this is allowed, it is safer to ask for an official contract that includes all the bullet points listed above.
Students coming from abroad often encounter issues with landlords who don’t want to rent to someone who doesn’t speak their language or doesn’t want to rent to them for a short period of time. Because of this, you should start your search early. However, these options listed below will be easier for you to secure if you are a student.
The easiest and cheapest option for students is to stay in a public or private dormitory. However, the number of rooms available is usually limited, and the quality is often very low in comparison to dormitories run by the universities. Larger cities usually have more options, but the prices can be just as high as renting a room in an apartment. Still, the experience of living with a lot of students can be an essential part of the student lifestyle.
Shared accommodation in Poland
Sharing a flat is a good way that students or young professionals can afford to have their own place. Prices will of course depend on the location and size of the flat. But since the properties in Poland are usually come furnished it makes moving into a new apartment much easier.
A good place to find accommodation as a student might be on your university’s website. They may have a page allowing students and landlords to connect.
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