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Accommodation in Russia

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Following the radical turn taken towards a free market taken by Russia in the early 90s, following the fall of the Soviet regime, the whole country has been affected. No sector, including the real estate market, has been spared by the economic boom whereby rent prices have considerably increased. Nonetheless, finding affordable accommodation in Russia is not impossible.

Rent prices, especially in big cities, are much lower than in other western capital cities like Paris or London. Renting an affordable flat is quite easy for a foreigner, especially taking into account that foreign professionals in Russia can request much higher wages than those of Russian citizens. Finding an affordable Western style flat is where the headache starts. Russians have a very different concept of a flat in good condition. Hence, when asking more details on the state of the property, you should ask whether it has had a renovation or a euro-renovation. The two types of renovation are very different. On the other hand, if no renovation has been done, you may find the property insalubrious compared to what you usually find in the West. 

However, most Russian cities have a pleasant environment and a dynamic lifestyle to which you should not have much trouble adapting Russians enjoy going out and practising sports, and you are likely to find a gym, a basketball court transforming into an ice rink in winter, a cinema, several bars, cafes, restaurants, museums and theatres in every district.

Rent

In general, you will need between 250 and 550 euros per month to rent a one bedroom flat in Russia while you will spend from 1,150 euros monthly for a modern city apartment. Note that Moscow, like all capital cities, is the most expensive city in terms of rent. But you can still manage to find accommodation at affordable prices in several neighbourhoods.

If you prefer luxury and great comfort, you will need approximately 4,000 euros per month for a penthouse, and around 8,000 euros per month to rent a house outside the city centre. Many young professionals opt for a Western style apartment in the city centre but need to share the rent with one or two flat mates. 

 Good to know:

When it comes to apartments, you have a variety of options – standard, average or lower quality apartments, luxury apartments including renovated apartments, apartments dating from the Soviet, which are currently being renovated and Western style apartments ,which are practical and comfortable.

Lease terms

Unlike in many European countries, you are not required to subscribe to housing insurance. Note that rent is to be paid monthly in cash or, more rarely, by bank transfer. Usually the landlord will visit you at a set date every month to pick up the rent.

Once you have found the accommodation which best suits your needs, you will have to pay a deposit which is equal to a month's rent or sometimes half a month’s rent. 

In case you wish to terminate the lease, you are required to give the owner one to three months notice. However, the owner is not allowed to terminate the lease unless you are not complying with the lease conditions.

Find accommodation

You should be vigilant and careful during your visits and when reading lease contracts. Do not hesitate to ask questions until you are satisfied with the answer. If you have a Russian friend ready to accompany you during visits it will definitely give you more power in negotiations. Note that many Russians act as real estate agents to earn a little extra every month, but some of them are in reality crooks and others are so inexperienced that they bring contracts full of mistakes. To be on the safe side, you are advised to ask them to send you the contract by email before you meet and sign the contract.

Moving into a new flat in Russia is a very quick process and therefore if you liked a flat you should not take too long to make an offer to the agent or directly to the landlord. Flats in good condition, fully furnished, with facilities and a central location are highly sought after, especially in big cities. It is not rare that several potential tenants are given the same appointment to visit the flat and make an offer straight away. Note that rent is always negotiable and you are advised to negotiate the price if you think the rent or the agent’s commission is too high. Finally, tenants are not expected to pay for the flat or house maintenance bills, they will only pay for their own consumption of electricity, water and telephone.

If you do not feel confident enough when speaking Russian and do not have a Russian friend ready to help you, it might be best to search for accommodation through a real estate agency. On the other hand, if you speak Russian well enough, there are plenty of housing options which you can find on the internet and without commission. Always be careful when calling the telephone number shown in the ad and systematically ask whether the person on the phone is the owner or an agent. Some agents who are not professionals put their ads on websites not dedicated to agents in order to attract tenants. Others ask you to meet them at the agency first to pay a fee to visit the apartment and then take you to visit the apartment. Some even show the same pictures for several flats at different locations when the pictures shown are in fact a model apartment, not the actual apartment you will visit.

 Useful links:

IntermarkSavills
Arkadia
Evans
Blackwood
Beatrix
Booking.com
Home Away
Air Bnb

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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