Rental Accommodation in the Czech Republic
How to address the rental search correctly
Looking for accommodation could be a complicated process, there are certain rules to follow and certain things to pay attention to. Let’s have a look at some practical advice on renting, it’ll help you get oriented in this problem and avoid unnecessary trouble.
What to pay attention to
- Utility charges (poplatky)
Most rental prices in CR don’t include energy charges. On top of that, the ads often state a specific monthly charge, but it could turn out that it only includes general services, such as building maintenance and garbage collection. That’s why it’s important to always check which charges are included in the rent, and which ones you’ll need to pay separately.
- Real-estate agencies
Apartments are most often rented out through agencies whose service fee is generally covered by the tenant, and not the landlord. That means that before signing the contract you’ll need to pay the real-estate agency an equivalent of one month’s rent, as well as a refundable deposit.
- Refundable deposit
The tenant almost always pays the landlord a refundable deposit equivalent to one to three months’ rent before renting the apartment. The deposit serves as a guarantee that the tenant will fulfil his obligations, and it can be used only in case there’s some kind of debt to cover, for example the tenant hasn’t paid his rent, or there’s damage to the property that needs to be covered. In principle though the landlord is obligated to return the deposit to the tenant after the lease is over.
- Are you signing a lease agreement or a sublease agreement?
You might have heard the term “pronájem” (rent) with regards to an apartment or a house. It’s commonly used, but it doesn’t have a legal definition. So it’s important to pay attention to whether it’s lease (nájem) or sublease (podnájem) in your case. These two concepts are defined by the law and have their own rules. The main difference is in who is the person who lets you use the apartment. Lease means that the owner of the real estate directly lets someone use the property. The person using the property is called nájemce (tenant). Sublease is very similar to this, the difference is that the lessor doesn’t own the property, and is just a tenant who cedes the right to occupy the property to another person, i.e. the subtenant (podnájemník). Leased accommodation is explained by the civil code, which defines the rights and responsibilities of the contracting parties. However this law doesn’t apply to sublease. The sublease relationship is a lot looser than lease relationship, and the tenant and the subtenant are the only ones to set the rules of the sublease agreement. Most of the times such agreement would only contain rules and prohibitions that are appealing for the lessor: no pets, no kids, limits to the number of people, etc. So be wary of this kind of agreement and give preference to a lease agreement.
Where to look for accommodation in the Czech Republic
- Real estate agencies
You can go to one of the real estate agencies, have a look at the offers at the agency’s website or hire an agent to find everything according to your criteria. This way you’ll get the most options, since most of the Czech landlords prefer working with a real estate agency. On the other hand, the biggest drawback is that you’d need to pay extra for the agency’s services.
- Online offers
This is a very popular option. You can look for accommodation on different websites, social networks and platforms, where you can contact the landlord who published the ad directly. Contacting the landlord directly has the advantage of avoiding certain expenses.
There are internet marketplaces where anyone can post ads about selling or renting property. Some of these general, where you can sell, buy or rent absolutely anything. The largest and the most popular one is bazos.cz. Then there platforms specifically for real estate. Some of these only offer ads posted directly by the owners without real estate agencies’ services, particularly bezrealitky.cz and ulovdomov.cz. These websites also have the advantage of having filters which you can use to customize your search so that you only get the most suitable options, or you can set up text message notifications for new offers.
It also makes sense to join property rental groups on social networks. Czech people most often post ads on Facebook, either in different groups or on Marketplace. Marketplace is a Facebook feature used to view ads or find goods in your neighbourhood. The benefit of Facebook is that you can have a look at the lessor’s profile, and you can also publish a post looking for accommodation.
- Friends and acquaintances
If possible, ask around for accommodation in your neighbourhood. Many people look for tenants primarily through friends, and some haven’t even considered renting the property out before they were asked to.
What are the steps for finding accommodation?
1) Use the tips above to find available options
2) Contact the landlord
You should use the way specified in the ad to contact the landlord. Many prefer phone calls, others tend to use email. During the first contact you’ll need to introduce yourself and ask some basic questions not mentioned in the ad, e.g. about utility charges, facilities, whether it’s lease or sublease, etc.
3) Check the property
Once you agree on the conditions, it’s important to check whether the property matches the ad description. The first thing you could do is to find out the exact address and check if everything matches the description in the state real estate register online at: https://nahlizenidokn.cuzk.cz/
The next step would be to arrange a visit to the apartment. During the visit it’s important to make a good impression, because the landlord has the final say in who will occupy his property. Especially in big cities there’s a high demand, and it’s common for the landlord to show the apartment to several people at the same time. That’s why you’d often need to make the decision really quickly.
4) Check the agreement thoroughly before signing it
The agreement is signed through the real estate agency or directly between the owner and the tenant. The rent agreement should always be made in a written form and should specify both party’s rights and responsibilities. As mentioned above, it could be a lease agreement or a sublease agreement. Be careful and prioritize the first type. The agreement should specify the sum of the rent and the payment conditions. It should also include the terms for annual settlement of water, sewage, electricity, gas and other charges. Make sure the document specifies the landlord’s responsibilities correctly. For example, bigger repairs should be paid for by the landlord, whereas smaller expenses under 1000 CZK are usually covered by the tenants.
In case you’re not sure if the agreement is correct, it’s best to consult an expert. You can consult on it with ICP’s social worker. If you’d like to arrange a consultation free of charge, book an appointment according to the instructions described here.
5) Don’t forget to report the change of address to the MOI Department for Asylum and Migration Policy (OAMP)
Have you managed to find an apartment, signed a contract and are planning to move? Don’t forget that as a foreigner, whether you’re an EU citizen or a so-called third country national, you have an obligation to report the change to the MOI. You must report the change within 30 days since the change occurred. You can find detailed information and the form to fill out at the MOI website.
We wish you good luck with your search for accommodation! If you haven’t found the answer to your question in our article, contact us, and we’ll be happy to help.