Do you want or need to choose an apartment for rent even though you are not in the Czech Republic yet? How to do it? What are the risks? Should I do it or not? Here are few problems which you will be facing so you can avoid them and go through the whole process smoothly.
You are a foreigner who is coming to the Czech Republic to work in international company for a few years. The first thing you have to do is to find some place to stay for the whole time. Probably the best will be an apartment for rent.
But you already know that immediately after you come to the Czech Republic you will start working so there will not be enough time to arrange some apartment.
The solution is to find an apartment before you come. Sometimes there can be a problem because you cannot personally meet your potential landlord, neither he cannot meet you. So here are few tips what you should be careful about.
Before you move to Czech
Here are 5 tips and usual problems you can expect or avoid
1.) Find some English speaking real estate agency or landlord
Not all Czechs speak English, unfortunately. Usually the younger generation speaks English, but the older generation very often does not. You will need to arrange with them to send you some pictures or, better, some videos of the apartment. Here is usually the first problem. Many real estate agencies do not have videos, neither landlords.
2.) Broker or a landlord doesn’t trust you
Some real estate agencies and landlords do not trust some stranger from abroad who they know him/her only through email. So they will be afraid to promise you something, deal with you etc.. This is said about Czechs but hopefully it is changing.
The solution can be if you send him/her some specific information about you. What faculty you are going to study, what company you are going to work for. Maybe some suggestion that a landlord can call your boss, coordinator from a faculty etc.. Or anything else what can help to make you trustful.
3.) “May I trust this agency or landlord?”
Ok, you like an apartment and you want to reserve it. So it will be available for you when you come. Most probably you will have to pay some reservation fee (to a broker from a real estate agency or to a landlord). We want you to be very careful in this situation!
Dealing with a landlord directly is the most risky. It is just a random person and you do not know him/her. Unfortunately some people, also Czechs and also landlords, are crooks and they will try to cheat you!
They are an individual so they do not risk a bad reputation among their “clients”, you even do not have chances to find out if you have their official correct name, address etc..
As you are a foreigner there is a small probability that you will sue the landlord or you will be finding him to get your money back! Usual reservation fee is about one to three months rent which is quite a lot of money!
We highly recommend to use services of some bigger real estate agency or any other company who already have a good reputation and references in this “long distance reservation” cases.
These agencies know that they cannot risk their image and cheat their clients. They will also make sure that they know a landlord, arrange an official contract with the landlord etc.. They also usually work only with trusted landlords who they have already some experience! At Foreigners.cz we usually go this way!
4.) Rental contract in English version
Most of normal landlords and real estate agencies do not have an English version of rental contract. So you will either have to arrange a translation (usually from 500 to 700 CZK/page) or trust the Google translator :) …and the landlord.
If you want to be perfectly sure you should hire some lawyer to check the contract – the Czech law can differ from others (and it differs according to our experience!)
5.) Your relocation to Czech
So what is next? When you come to the Czech Republic you will have to arrange many small things and details/administrative by yourself.
We know that every nationality has different needs. Non EU nationalities have to arrange some administrative at Immigration department. You will also probably need…
- public transportation ticket
- arrange energy transfer (if necessary)
- internet connection
- Czech SIM card
- open a bank account
- find out how the whole system in the Czech Republic works
You will be asking yourself “What should I know and be careful about?” You will need to know some basic rules, laws etc.. Try to find some good resources of information. It can be Expats.cz, a Czech friend, Couch Surfing or your real estate agent if you have an apartment for rent.
Directly after you come to the Czech Republic (airport, main train/bus station) you will have to arrange your transportation to your apartment. Non EU citizens are obliged to arrange a health insurance for foreigners, by the law.
Maybe you will just want to get some basic and general information about the Czech Republic, your place or city where you stay, some tips where to travel, tips what to do in your free time or you will be happy to get some possibility how and where to meet other expats and international students.
To meet other expats you can visit Foreigners.cz MeetUp in your city – Prague, Brno, Hradec Králové or Pilsen.
The final conclusion?
Even there are many risks when you arrange your apartment from abroad you do not need to worry if you are aware of all the risks and you will try to be careful about them and keep them in your mind. So I wish you a good luck, nice landlord, and no problems in the Czech Republic!
BTW: do you have some interesting (positive or negative) experience about renting an apartment? Have you arranged your apartment from abroad? We will be happy to hear your personal stories!