Accommodation in Istanbul

Istanbul is a large, sprawling city where it can be a challenge for new arrivals to find accommodation. Most expats looking for accommodation in Istanbul tend to choose the areas on the European side of the city, although there are also plenty of housing options on the Asian side.

Two popular areas on the European side include Beyoglu and Sariyer, where a number of foreign consulates, schools and hospitals are located.

Types of accommodation in Istanbul 

There are numerous accommodation options in Istanbul, including flats and apartments, houses, condominiums and luxury villas. The price of property in the city varies according to the type and quality of the residence, its location, age, and whether or not it has parking facilities, which are at a premium in Istanbul.

There are options for furnished and unfurnished apartments and houses in Istanbul. Many expats choose to live in ‘sites’. The ‘site’ (pronounced seet-ay), or housing estate, is a very common concept in Istanbul.  Expats can find sites containing housing options to suit every budget and taste, ranging from large villas with private gardens and swimming pools to apartments with a communal pool, gym and garden. 

Factors to consider when house-hunting in Istanbul

Traffic congestion can be a real problem in Istanbul; expats should therefore consider the proximity of their house or apartment to public transport and the distance they will have to travel to get to work, as well as schools, shops and entertainment. 

Renting accommodation in Istanbul

Leases in Istanbul are usually signed for a year. A deposit equivalent of around one to two months' rental is usually required to secure the property. An agency fee may also apply if going through an agent.

In order to rent property in Istanbul, expats may need to provide a number of documents, such as their passport, a letter from their employer and proof of income. Other documents may also be needed, depending on the landlord or agent.

Utilities, including water, gas and electricity, are normally included in the rental price for short-term leases, while those in long-term rentals may be expected to pay for their utilities. This is usually dependent on the landlord and may be negotiable. 

Bear in mind that most landlords and estate agents may not be able to speak English and most rental agreements are written in Turkish, so it’s best that expats have a trusted friend or colleague who speaks Turkish to accompany them on their house hunt.