Renting a Flat in Prague

A beginner's guide to finding an apartment in the Czech capital

Prague is one of the most wonderful Cities in Europe and attracts every year a lot of young people from all around the world to move here - if you plan moving to Prague, here a little guide to help you understand the local real estate market a bit better.


PRICING

Renting a flat in Prague is pretty easy.

Apartment rental typically costs between 10,000 CZK and 30,000 CZK per month, depending on how you want to live.

Going in with a roommate will obviously bring down the cost of living, but if you can't find one there's always flat-sharing, which we'll deal with below.


UTILITIES

Utilities aren't usually included in the rent and can cost an additional 3,000-5,000 CZK.

You can either have utilities billed to you, which can be very time-consuming, or you can have it billed to the owner of the flat.

If they're billed to your landlord you end up paying a monthly deposit and at the end of the year your landlord calculates the total cost for the year. In this case you either get refunded or you end up paying the difference.

Tip: If you plan on having the utilities billed to the owner, ask him or her to show you bills from previous years to get an idea of the cost.


WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

Flats can come furnished or unfurnished, old or new, reconstructed or rebuilt.

Some Prague apartments that haven't been refurbished since the Communist era are sometimes described as having "character." This could mean that fixtures, furniture and/or appliances date back to that time. This "style" could take some getting used to and, for many expats, lacks a little charm.

Be sure to look out for the condition of the flat you are getting.

Make sure the neighborhood you choose is right for you.

Some of the nicer, less touristy neighborhoods are Dejvice, Pohořelec, Letná and Vinohrady but there are plenty of other great places to live.

Just be sure to do some research before you move in.


LEASE

For a short-term lease you don't need a green card but for a long-term lease a residency permit is required.

A short-term lease is more expensive (30-40% more), but if you don't have a green card it can be your only option.

As far as contracts go, a lease is typically for one year and you need to give between one and three months' notice before leaving the flat.

You'll typically have to pay a deposit equivalent to one month's rent on any contract.

The lease will most likely be in Czech. If you go through an agency you may be able to get an English translation, but don't count on it.


UNDERSTANDING THE DESCRIPTION CODE

When looking at a description of a flat there'll usually be a code that tells you how many rooms it has: 1+kk, for instance, or 3+1.

The first number is the number of rooms while the second describes the kitchen.

Sometimes the room number will mean bedrooms, but sometimes it just means "habitable" rooms, so a "2" could mean two bedrooms with a small living area or one bedroom and one living area, so be sure to ask for a description of the rooms.

The second part of the code is often "kk," meaning kitchenette, so a place described as a 1+kk would be a one-room flat with a kitchenette.

A 3+1 would be a three-room flat with a full kitchen.

Because this is confusing and, like the Czech language, can take time to understand, here are some more examples:

1+kk = one room + kitchenette
1+1 = one room + full kitchen
2+kk = two rooms + kitchenette
2+1 = two rooms + full kitchen


SHARING

If you can't afford a place of your own, sharing's also an option, of course. The Prague.TV Classifieds section attracts a whole community of people looking for roommates.

Like any other kind of deal made online, however, it's always advisable to meet the person you'd be sharing with first, before signing a lease.

Sharing is also a great idea if you end up renting a flat with too many bedrooms and need a roommate.


WAYS TO FIND A PLACE

To help you find an apartment, you can use an agency, which will typically charge you one month's rent as commission. With Prague TV's Real Estate and Classifieds sections, however, it isn't always necessary to use an agency.


THE FINAL TIP

My final tip, no matter how you go about finding a place, is be sure to look out for the landlord's/landlady's mental health! We all know a crazy landlord can be a hassle, but if you don't even speak their language, forget it -- they will make your life a living hell.

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