Newcomers looking for accommodation in Pittsburgh will discover that the city has something to suit everyone. Whether new arrivals are in search of a family-friendly home in the suburbs or a studio apartment in the city centre, they're bound to find something that fits their budget and needs.
Most new arrivals rent property at first in order to get to know the city and its neighbourhoods. It’s generally cheaper to rent than buy property in Pittsburgh, although buying can be a good investment in the long run as housing prices continue to rise.
Types of accommodation in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is fast-growing city and as such, an eclectic mix of housing styles can be found. There are plenty of new developments popping up, including luxury condos and apartments. Most of these are in the city centre. Further out, housing is more spacious and not as modern.
Apartment living tend to be most common close to the downtown area. Apartments are a good choice for young people who want to live close to the action in the city centre. Generally, apartment complexes in Pittsburgh are in good condition.
Condos are similar to apartments but with a wider range of communal facilities such as gardens, swimming pools, fitness centres and laundry facilities. Condo living is a great option for new arrivals, as these complexes have a noticeable sense of community, which is conducive to making friends.
Duplexes and fourplexes consist of either two or four living units attached to each other in some manner. These are often found in areas located close to the central areas.
When it comes to houses, there is huge variety in Pittsburgh. Sure, one will need to move further away from the city centre to have the best pick, but houses in Pittsburgh tend to be spacious and good value for money. These mainly consist of ranch, American foursquare and row houses.
Finding accommodation in Pittsburgh
When looking for accommodation in Pittsburgh, the internet is a great place to start. Online property portals can give expats a good idea of what’s available at what price. Most newcomers to the city will rent a property via a local real-estate firm.
Renting accommodation in Pittsburgh
Once new arrivals have narrowed down their preferences in terms of the type of housing and suitable suburbs, finding a property shouldn’t prove too difficult.
The rental process
When prospective tenants have found a property they’d like to rent they’ll need to start by filing an application. Depending on the situation, they can either do this directly through the landlord or via the agent overseeing the property. As long as all the relevant checks and references are verified, a lease can be signed. Foreign nationals moving to Pittsburgh will benefit from having their US bank account and social security number set up as this will speed up the whole rental process.
A standard rental contract in Pittsburgh is usually valid for a year with the option to renew at the end of the initial term. Depending on where in the city one hopes to live, it may also be possible for tenants to negotiate a shorter lease.
According to the Pennsylvania landlord-tenant law, a landlord may charge a tenant the equivalent of two months' rent for the security deposit for the first year of renting and the equivalent of one month's rent during all subsequent years of renting.
Some landlords may also require tenants to take out renter's insurance.
Renters need to carefully check the terms of their lease to determine which utilities are included and what additional expenses they’d be liable to pay for. In most instances, the landlord covers standard utilities such as gas, electricity and water, while tenants will be expected to pay for telephone services, internet and TV.
►For a list of recommended neighbourhoods, see Areas and Suburbs in Pittsburgh
Are you an expat living in Pittsburgh?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Pittsburgh. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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