- Download our Moving to the Czech Republic Guide (PDF)
Expats seeking accommodation in the Czech Republic will be pleased to know that the country has a variety of homes to suit all needs, tastes and budgets. In addition, there are few restrictions on foreigners when it comes to buying and renting property.
Single expats or young expat couples usually opt to rent accommodation in the Czech Republic rather than buy, particularly if they are unsure of the length of their stay. In addition, many are put off by the extensive amount of paperwork, all of which is in Czech, required to purchase a property.
Types of accommodation in Czech Republic
There is a wide variety of rental options for expats to choose from, and apartments and houses alike can be found in a variety of styles from contemporary to baroque and beyond. There are also communist-era apartment buildings available, but these are best avoided as many are in a state of disrepair as a result of poor maintenance and construction.
Furnished, semi-furnished and unfurnished accommodation is available in the Czech Republic, with a variety of properties available in Prague especially. Many single expats choose to rent rooms in shared flats or houses, while couples and families often prefer to rent bigger apartments or houses for themselves.
Finding accommodation in Czech Republic
Accommodation can be found in newspapers, online, or through a local real-estate agent, and should ideally be secured in person and in advance. If it's not possible to travel to the country before moving there to secure accommodation, the next best option is to initially stay in short-term accommodation while looking for something suitable for the long term.
Websites aimed at the expat market will generally have listings posted at an extreme mark-up compared to what a local would pay. Those with a good grasp of Czech that are able to understand and navigate local websites will be able to find accommodation at cheaper prices.
Renting accommodation in Czech Republic
Deposits and fees
When renting accommodation, a deposit equivalent to one or two months’ rent is usually required. By law, this deposit should be returned to the tenant in full within one month of vacating the property. This is provided it's left in a good condition; if anything is damaged or broken, costs for repair or replacement may be deducted. To avoid being accused of causing damage that was already there when moving in, expats should take date-stamped pictures of any areas of concern before the start of the lease.
Lessees who find an apartment through an agent will also have to pay a commission fee – usually one month's rent – once they have found an apartment.
Leases can be for either an indefinite term or a fixed term such as six months or one year.
There are usually two versions of the lease: one in Czech with the other being an English translation, but in any legal matter the lease in Czech will be prioritised. Expats should have a Czech-speaking friend or preferably a professional translator look over both contracts to ensure that the terms in both are the same.
Utilities are usually not included in the rental price and are to be paid by the tenant. Expats should keep this extra expense in mind when drawing up their budget. The lease should specify the various utilities to be paid to the landlord in addition to the cost of rent.
Buying property in Czech Republic
Most properties are advertised at ten or 15 percent above their actual market value, and expats are advised to bid accordingly when making an offer to the owner. Properties for sale that are listed on English websites often have higher asking prices than those aimed at the local market.
As a general rule, property in popular historical districts in Prague tend to retain or increase in value. Expats looking to buy in newer suburbs should keep in mind the home's proximity to good hospitals and schools (especially international schools), the presence of green spaces and the accessibility of the city centre among other factors.
Some Czech banks are willing to provide loans to EU citizens without permanent residency, depending on the circumstances, while others will require proof of permanent residency. It's best to investigate mortgage options thoroughly in advance.
►Moving with kids? Find out more about Education and Schools in Czech Republic
►Read Healthcare in Czech Republic for an overview of medical care in the country
"The standard of housing varies, as it does anywhere. However, the cost is uniformly high in relation to what you get, whether you rent or buy.
There are a number of agencies set up to help expats get housing and act as intermediaries between property owners and tenants. While many of these agencies are quite honest and have good reputations, there are others that overcharge significantly for their services." Read more about Kevan, a Canadian expat, and his experience living in Czech Republic.
Are you an expat living in Czech Republic?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Czech Republic. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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