The basics
Study abroad : Student Accommodation

Renting an apartment in a new city

How do you find and secure an apartment when you move to a new city in a new country? Misko from Eurasmus explains the process in the following practical guide...

renting an apartment in a new city
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One of the biggest problems which occur when students are going abroad is finding accommodation which is safe and secure. It is crucially important that online booking accommodation companies have feedback from other students who have already use their services; these comments and reviews will help you decide which landlords you can trust and are reliable.

Before booking an accommodation, read carefully the private and policy statements which will help you to better understand what your rights and obligations are. Usually students don’t read this and then later complain about their rights.

On the web there are a lot of accommodation companies which are completely free to use for students. It is a myth that if you pay a fee to some accommodation company, everything will be alright. Spend some time doing some research about all the companies and check for references from other students on third party sites or those you know already.

 

Booking your accommodation

Find a trusted student booking accommodation company and read the booking policy carefully so you completely understand all the rules and obligations. Check the room which fits all your needs and preferences. Before booking, ask any questions which aren’t clear for you like for instance, ‘Where is the nearest subway station?’, ‘How expensive are the shared cost?’, ‘How many people are in the flat?’ etc. Also ask about the amenities in the apartment, the neighbourhood, and whatever you think that is important for you.

When everything is clear, you can book your accommodation. It is common in many European countries that you need to pay a deposit which is the value of one month renting price.

After paying this deposit, you will get in contact with the landlord who will explain everything about moving in to your new flat such as the date you can move in etc. It would be great if you could arrange a Skype call with the landlord to start a good relationship. You can even ask them for the contact details of the other flatmates so you could meet them (or connect with them on social media or by email), before you arrive in the country.

When you have arrived in the apartment the landlord will show you the flat common areas (kitchen, bathroom, living room etc.). Unpack a bit of your stuff and sleep a night. Now you should sign a contract with the landlord, which again you need to read first carefully.

After signing the contract you just need to pay the shared bills each month, clean after yourself, respect your flatmates and enjoy your time abroad.

 

Terms and conditions which confuse students

Let us explain some commonly used terms and conditions made by landlords or booking agencies:

The deposit

The deposit is one of the first things that confuse students and causes unnecessary arguments. The amount of money which you pay before entering the room is kept by the landlord until you finish living in the room. If everything is fine and there are no damages on the furniture or other items, you will get your money back. If there is anything broken or requiring fixing, money from your deposit will be used to make these fixtures.

 

Paying rent

The tenant always has the obligation to respect and follow the agreement. In order to have a good relationship with a landlord, pay the rent before the specified rent payments dates.

 

Smoking

In many flats, it is forbidden to smoke in the whole apartment not only in the common areas (including the use of electronic cigarettes) so respect the rules. It is not pleasant for the non-smokers.

 

Visitors

You can have visits at reasonable times with reasonable frequency provided that the visitors don’t cause any nuisance or annoyance to other flatmates. It is normal that your friends come to visit you and even sleep at your place, but only one friend should visit you during 2 nights in the week if it isn’t specified differently in the agreement or in accordance with the landlord.

 

Landlord’s access

The landlord can enter the flat immediately if it is a case of emergency; to carry out the Landlord obligations under the signed agreement; or to take gas, electricity or water meter readings. However they can’t move your belongings or enter your room without your presence.

 

Basically these are the main rules while renting a room but sometimes some landlords have more rules which you need to respect, like quiet-time during the day between 2 and 5pm. In any case, respect the rules, your roommates and your landlord, and you will have pleasant stay in your new home.

 

 

This post was written by Misko from Eurasmus, which helps international students find accommodation and internships abroad, as well as connect with other international students studying abroad.

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About Author

renting an apartment in a new city

Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad. His role is to plan, produce and share editorial, videos, infographics, eBooks and any other content to inform prospective and current international students about their study abroad experience. When he's not thinking about student visas in Sweden and application deadlines, Paul is an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.