If you are in search of a flat abroad, you are in the right place. I have experienced the feeling of insecurity while being in a new city and having no place to live. In retrospect I can say you can avoid the hassle.
While moving abroad, every expat, let it be a student or a businessmen is looking for a place to live. Everyone wants to save money. Here some tips including links to portals with flat-for-rent ads.
I will literally give you a piece of my expirience on looking for flats in Poland.
DO YOU WANT TO HAVE IT??
INSTEAD OF THIS?
So-called PRL Style
I think a lot of people associate Polish accomodation with the communism era – and it is true… to some extent. This is so-called PRL (as Poles call it). In old communist flats there are quite a lot of different things you would never use. If you rent such a flat, you have to keep it all. Otherwise, the owner will have a reason to take away your deposit.
In every Polish city or town there are old districts where you can find these artefacts, but there are also new districts appearing. In Warsaw 20 years ago there were no such districts as Kabaty and Wilanów. Nowadays there are luxury apartments there. And these disctricts are must-live in!
I would recommend making a research on new districts in the city of your destination. There is also lower crime rate there. When it comes to Warsaw, I would not recommend to live in Praga district in Warsaw – this is the worst place and the most dangerous in the capital of Poland (just my personal oppinion). If you would like to experience life there just watch Blok Ekipa on You Tube – you will definitely change your mind!
If you have already decided to come to Poland here are some guidelines that will help you.
1. Do not Rely on Middlemen
Real-estate agents take money, but will not live up to your expectations. They believe their task is to give a “unique database” of offers. But what is this “unique database”?
In 2013 when I came to Warsaw for the first time, having a stong accent and generally poor knowledge of Polish, I had no idea where to look for the ads, how to negotiate with the owners of flat etc. I decided to visit the real estate agency. In October when lots of students usually look for a flat, it is really difficult to get a good offer.
I looked for room-for-rent ads on different portals and contacted the owners. When I called the owners, first question was: “You have an Eastern accent. Are you from the East?” After the possitive answer they refused to show me their flats.
When I came to the middleman, he gave me the offer I could easily find on my own on Internet. He also contacted with the owners and arranged meeting for me.
I had to go around the flats on my own, got refusals again when suspicious owners required some additional documents from the different state offices. Slight descrimination, is not it? That was an outrage! In the end I stopped asking the agents for any new offers. And in the end I found a flat on my own and signed an agreement.
Another story happened to my friend. He went to the middle man and got an offer. When my friend came to that flat, the owner told she had never posted any offers and even started to shout at him. My friend decided to take revenge on the agency and came with a colleague, a policeman. The agency had to give the money back.
2. Look for some portals
In Poland it would be a good idea to check Gumtree, OLX, Gratka.pl. There is a wide range of offers from the owners, not from agencies. Make sure you do not choose the agency’s offer, because they might ask you for the payment if you rent a flat or even one-month rent payment.
3. React Instantly
Do not be naive thinking that the good offer will stay for long on the market. Call the owner or a responsible person and arrange a meeting immediately to be higher on the list of potential flatmates.Call the owner only at hours when he specifies. Some people prefer to gather calls after they come back from work. Some prefer to get response via e-mail.
4. Get to know your future flatmates
Unless you rent the whole flat, get to know your flatmates closer. It is a good idea to ask them if they have any bad habbits; pets (you would not like to have sleepless nights when it barks or when there is a floating pees smell). Agree on the responsibilities (how many times you have to clean the flat, the timetable for taking out rubish, agreement on parties at home etc).
5. Some words on Communist Ladies in Poland
Majority of them are convinced conspiracy exists. An American spy? Everything is possible. Be ready to find a lot of useless things in their appartments for rent and a PRL (Communist design). Some of them prefer to stay in the opposite room, that is why the flat is extremely cheap. But do not be naive. They will use you to govern. Apart from constant invigilation, they will not let you cook, wash you clothes in the flat, invite friends, turn on music. That is just horrible! After a year they will take away your deposit, because they can not find a vase you have broken.
I am going to write a second part of the article.
Do you want answers to additional questions??
Write your suggestions in the comments. Hurry up! =)