So you would like to rent an apartment in Krakow but you’re not sure how to start?
1. Understand your needs
Before you start searching for an apartment decide what you really want. Ask yourself the following questions: Where in Krakow would you like to live? What is the maximum price per month you are able to pay? If needed, what would you compromise on: the area or the price? What kind of living standard do you expect? Do you prefer taking showers to baths? Or maybe you really want both?
If you don’t mind generalisation, if you’re looking for a place near the Krakow Main Square or Kazimierz prepare for two things: it’s going to be a kamienica and it’s going to be expensive. If you find somewhere in a lower price, its standard or condition is probably not as good.
2. Renting privately or through an agent?
It’s really down to you and your situation which options will work for you better. Are you already settled in Poland and know how it works or have you just arrived a few days ago and need a place really quickly? Do you know Polish or will you trust Google Translator? Read here for more arguments for and against hiring an agent; if you decide to rent on your own here are some tips:
- Websites to visit when renting privately: www.gumtree.pl; www.gratka.pl; www.morizon.pl. Unfortunately, those websites don’t have an English version, so better learn a few necessary words like mieszkanie (flat), kawalerka (studio), pokój (room). When it comes to what you can find there – some listings will be in both Polish and English, most often though it will only be in Polish and you will have to ask someone to translate the offer for you!
- If you go for a real estate agency, make sure they speak English. Agencies that have an English version of their websites and English speaking agents, and operate in Krakow are for example: www.hamiltonmay.pl; www.leachandlang.pl. Of course, you can also contact us using the enquiry form on the left side!
3. Get in touch
It’s easy with an agent – they will not only connect you with a landlord, they will actually work as your p.a. – it’s their task to check everyone’s busy schedules and make sure you can all be at one place at the same time.
If you decide to rent a place without an agent, prepare for a real adventure. Most young people in Poland speak English, the older generation though doesn’t. So either learn Polish really quickly or ask a Polish-speaking friend to communicate with a landlord and set up a viewing for you!
If you wish so, that’s already a moment to ask the first questions. Where exactly is the place located? How to get there best? Any parking spaces? Anything goes.
4. Do the viewing
Whether you rent privetly or via an agent, the very next step will be the viewing!
Whilst you’re there make sure to look around the flat, see if you really like it, but also don’t forget to ask the following questions:
- What are the actual costs of using the flat. How much is rent and what is included in it? What do you have to pay for separately?
- What would be the deadline for rent payments? Or for the deposit payment?
- How is place is heated and how well is it insulated? – this will affect your bills! Mind you, there are lots of places in Krakow with electrical heating and that’s quite an expensive thing. Your bills in the winter might go up to a few hundred zloty a month – just for the heating!
- How well the property has been maintained – does it require any repairs?
- Can you keep pets there?
- What is the internet speed? (imortant if you work from home a lot!)
- Any annoying neighbours? Students that throw parties every Saturday? Or maybe someone unhappy about every little noice after 10pm?
- How long can you sign an agreement for and what is the notice period?
4. Sign an agreement and move in!
You liked an apartment, the owner liked you. You can sign the lease and move in, right?
Well, just remember about a few things. Basically, hope for the best but prepare for the worst!
Make sure you sign an agreement in English. Always read it carefully so that you know your rights and obligations. There’s still time to ask a few more questions and ask for adjustments. E.g. the deadline for paying the deposit.
Discuss with your landlord any additional things that come to your mind, like e.g. whether you can terminate your contract before its expiry day and what will happen then to your deposit 🙂
Make sure an inventory (possibly with pictures) is attached and signed by both you and your landlord. This might save you a lot of time and stress when you move out later.
Do the meter reading and discuss how you’re going to pay for the bills: monthly? per quarter? Do you have to put the bills on your name?
Once it’s taken care of, you can finally enjoy moving in!