Cincinnati's location straddles the borders of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, which means that expats moving to the city have a wide pool of housing options in terms of neighbourhoods, types of architecture and price range.
Factors to consider when deciding on a home in Cincinnati will include proximity to one's workplace, access to transport links, and, for expats with children, the presence of good local schools. In addition, expats will need to consider lifestyle preferences – such as being close to nightlife and entertainment facilities or access to green areas and open spaces.
Types of accommodation
Expats will find a range of property options in Cincinnati. From post-war houses in older neighbourhoods to modern riverfront apartments and condos, there's something to suit everyone’s preferences.
The type of accommodation available will often depend on location. Larger family homes are generally found in outlying suburbs, while accommodation in the more densely packed city centre is mostly in the form of apartments.
Finding accommodation in Cincinnati
Expats relocating to Cincinnati should begin their research on properties before arriving in the country. The internet is a great place to get the search started – websites, forums and blogs offer advice and insight into the experiences of other expats. Real estate websites and property portals are also useful as they allow expats to get a good idea of what is available and the costs involved in renting property in different parts of Cincinnati. Once in Cincinnati, the classifieds sections of the local newspapers can also be useful.
As expats are generally unfamiliar with the property market in a new city, the best bet is to consult a real estate agent. These professionals have an intimate knowledge of the property market and can often provide access to a wider range of properties, in order to find a place that meets an individual’s needs.
Renting accommodation in Cincinnati
Most expats relocating to Cincinnati opt to rent property rather than buy, at least initially. There are plenty of furnished and unfurnished rental options available in Cincinnati.
Making an application
Once expats have found a suitable property, the first step is to make an application to rent the home. Agents or landlords may carry out credit checks and it’s wise to have references from previous landlords or one’s employer to hand as these may also be requested.
Traditionally, security deposits in Cincinatti have been in the form of a lump sum equivalent to a month's rent, paid prior to the start of the lease along with the first month of rent. Tenants renting from landlords who only manage a handful of properties will still have to pay this form of deposit.
However, since early 2020, landlords leasing 25 rental units or more are obligated to accept any one of three forms of payment for the deposit:
- The tenant pays the deposit off in six or more equal monthly instalments;
- The tenant signs up for state-approved renters' insurance; or
- The tenant pays a one-time lump sum equivalent to 50 percent of their month's rent.
The insurance or security deposit is used to cover any damages to the home during the tenant's lease period. If the home is returned to the landlord in a good state, the deposit should be returned in full. Note that tenants who take the option of renters' insurance instead of a deposit forgo this benefit and won't be reimbursed.
The typical length of a lease in Cincinnati is 12 months. At the end of the leasing period, the tenant and landlord can either end or renew the lease. It is possible to break a lease early, and in this case landlords are required to make a reasonable attempt to find a suitable replacement tenant. If one cannot be found, the original tenant will be liable to continue paying rent until the lease expires.
Before signing a lease, tenants should establish what is included in the rental cost. Utilities such as water, gas and electricity are not usually included and are typically an additional expense for the tenant.
►Areas and Suburbs of Cincinnati provides insight into popular neighbourhoods among the expat population in the city
Are you an expat living in Cincinnati?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Cincinnati. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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