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Poland is a great place to study, do business, or enjoy the country’s vibrant culture and lifestyle. Coming to Poland, one may wonder how the process of searching for accommodation goes.

While most of the time renting a place in the country goes smoothly, there still exist unfortunate instances when expats can be defrauded and made pay for an apartment that doesn't even exist. Thus, it’s important to take certain precautions before signing a lease agreement.

How to assess a housing offer

The main rule here is to pay attention to all the details of the offer description and to not hesitate to ask any additional questions. It’s a good idea to:

Make sure you understand everything in the property description and ask a Polish-speaking friend or translator for help if needed

Enquire about additional costs: water, gas and electricity, internet and TV, waste disposal, property upkeep fees, cleaning fees, etc.

 Good to know:

You may ask your potential landlord for copies of bills and receipts to make sure these costs are manageable, especially during the winter. As some apartments in Poland still use electric heating, utilities can go up significantly during colder months.

  • Check how long the rental period is and how much time in advance you should give notice about discontinuing the rental agreement
  • Agree on who will be responsible for property maintenance: fixing broken appliances, repairing furniture, etc.

Unless you are looking for a place urgently or want to have on ready when you arrive in Poland, it is always recommended to arrange a viewing.

Arrange a viewing of the place

You have seen the advertisement for the place, and you want to arrange a viewing. The main thing to keep in mind at this stage is that you shouldn't pay any money for the viewing. Therefore, if the landlord or agent ask you for a fee that covers the tour, it would be in your best interest to refuse the offer and avoid future contact with this person or the agency. Another thing to keep in mind is that you must not pay the rent or deposit before you have seen the apartment and signed the contract.

When viewing the apartment for the first time, it may be difficult to figure out what you should be looking for precisely.

You could start by going on a quick expedition of the neighbourhood. See if you like the location of the apartment and if all the needed amenities are close by: shops, public transport stops, etc. Make sure you feel comfortable walking around by yourself, and you are not far away from the things you like having in your everyday life (e.g. a park, a cinema, etc.).

During the viewing, pay attention to the owner’s demeanor — is the person pushy or even aggressive, do they get irritated by your questions, do they cross the boundaries by asking too many personal questions? The owner is someone you will have to be able to trust — think, for instance, of emergency situations where you need immediate action to be taken by the owner regarding a damage.

Examine every room, furniture, and corner, and immediately point out any damage to avoid being held accountable for it at the end of your lease. Ask the owner to repair it, or negotiate a possible discount on the rent. It’s a good idea to snap a few photos of the original state of the apartment before you have moved in.

If you are sharing the house with other people, trust your instincts and first impression — ask yourself the question: Can I live in harmony with them? Housemates are often a good source of information about the property and the surroundings.

What to consider before you sign the lease agreement

Usually, in Poland, the lease agreement is signed for 12 months, and most of the time it is impossible to terminate the agreement sooner that the stated date. Therefore, you should think things through before committing to long term rental. The deposit for the apartment is usually equal to one month rent, and it should be clearly stated in the lease agreement.

The contract should also include:

  • The payment method: we recommend you to pay via bank transfer to the owner’s bank account so that you have a receipt
  • The owner's and tenant's contact details
  • Cost of utilities and other extra charges
  • The duration of the lease
  • Payment deadlines: is it at the beginning or at the end of each month?
  • Details about how and when you will receive your deposit back
  • The maintenance of the apartment

Read your lease contract very carefully because you may find hidden or not unclear clauses, which may transfer the responsibility to you.

 Useful link:

Accommodation in Poland

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