There is a good supply of real estate in Romania and enough variety to suit almost any budget. Expat housing in Romania is roughly divided between living in the city or staying in outlying suburbs.
Many expats arrive with their accommodation in Romania already secured by their company, as housing is typically something that is already included when expats negotiate their contract. If this is not the case, then it is not unreasonable to request that the employer helps with securing accommodation.
Types of accommodation in Romania
Accommodation within cities is usually limited to either modern or old Soviet-style apartment blocks, while housing beyond the city limits varies but tends to be more spacious.
Accommodation for expats moving to Romania includes furnished and unfurnished one- to three-bedroom apartments, as well as small cottages and larger villas. The price is largely the determining factor, and a general rule of thumb is that the more a person pays, the more they will get in terms of housing.
Finding accommodation in Romania
New arrivals whose employers have not already secured their accommodation often find accommodation through online property portals. Note that landlords typically advertise their properties at a much higher rent than they are expecting to achieve.
Apart from this, many expats also use the services of English-speaking and reputable real estate agents who are familiar with the local market. Foreigners are often assumed to be wealthy and are therefore frequently targeted by scammers, unscrupulous landlords and dubious real estate agents. Hiring a reputable real estate agent to assist with paperwork and lease negotiations can help to guard against this. Utilising estate agents is also useful in negotiating with prospective landlords who don't speak English.
When looking to renting property in Romania, it is also important to note that phrases such as ‘three-roomed apartment’ in property advertisements usually refer to the total number of rooms in the entire apartment, not the number of bedrooms (this applies to houses too).
Renting accommodation in Romania
The cost of renting in Romania makes up the bulk of most expats’ living expenses. This cost is on par with, or even cheaper than, accommodation in other Eastern European countries. Renting accommodation in a city centre will generally cost more than in smaller towns and outlying areas, and the rent will obviously be much higher in a modern apartment block than in a 1950s communist building.
Pre-arranged housing takes the hassle out of lease negotiations in a foreign country. It also means that if something goes wrong, an expat could ask their company to intervene.
Lease agreements in Romania tend to last for 12 months, but shorter leases can be negotiated. Leases can be terminated early, if need be, but this will require a month's notice. Rent is paid monthly and usually includes basic utilities. Furnished accommodation is also available at a higher price.
In order to secure a lease, expats typically pay a deposit equivalent to one or two months' rent. The deposit must be held at the landlord’s bank. At the end of the contract, the landlord may deduct expenses from the deposit for repairs to the property and for unpaid bills.
Costs and fees
Expats who secure their lease through estate agents will have to pay agency fees based on the monthly rent cost.
Those with a car should make sure where they can park and what the fees involved will be. Not all accommodation automatically includes a parking space.
Utility fees may or may not be included in the monthly rental fee. This usually depends on the landlord. Expat should ask which items (for example, gas, water or electricity) they would have to pay themselves before signing the lease agreement.