If you are coming to the Czech Republic to work or study and need to rent an apartment even before you arrive, it is important you know the process, and potential risk.
Here we would like to provide you with helpful tips and common problems so you can avoid them when renting an apartment from abroad.
Not all Czechs speak English, therefore, it is best to arrange your apartment with an English-speaking agency or landlord. You will also want them to send you photos or videos of the apartment to avoid any unwanted surprises when you arrive at your apartment.
You may find that a landlord or real estate agency does not want to deal with a stranger from abroad. This is because there is a lack of knowledge and trust between the foreigner and the agency. A solution for this is to give the agency specific details about why you are coming to the Czech Republic like your work institution or university, or have your employer or university faculty make contact to establish trust on your behalf.
If you have found an apartment you want to reserve to ensure availability, you will most likely have to pay a reservation fee in the form of 1-3 months rent. Be extra careful in this situation! Ideally, you are dealing with an agency because dealing directly with individual landlords is the most risky. We recommend you use real estate agency’s with a good reputation and references in “long distance reservations.” Therefore, you know they are working only with trusted landlords. At Foreigners.cz we usually go this way!
You will want your rental contract in English. Unfortunately, often times, an agency will only offer a contract in Czech. So you can have a translation arranged (average 500-700CZK/page) or simply trust Google translator, and the landlord. Of course you can always hire a lawyer to check the contract so that you are completely sure of what you are signing.
Finally, we want to offer you some tips for when you arrive in the Czech Republic. There will be many details to arrange, and every nationality has different obligations. As a non-EU nationality you must arrange register with the Immigration department, and arrange health insurance for foreigners. Most foreigners will also need; public transport tickets, arrange energy transfers (if not included in rental agreement), internet connection, Czech SIM card, bank account, and perhaps you want information on good pubs, trips to take, questions about Czech law, etc.
We recommend you try and find experienced and reliable resources for information, such as Prague.tv, Czech friends and colleagues, real estate agent, etc. If you are interested in meeting other in the Czech Republic feel free to come to the Foreigners.cz MeetUp in your city – Prague, Brno, Hradec Králové or Pilsen.
When you arrange your apartment from abroad, there may be risk but if you are aware of them, and proceed carefully, you should not experience any problems. We wish you a good stay, and the best of luck in the Czech Republic!
About the Author: Vojtěch Stehno, co-founder Foreigners.cz