- Download our Moving to Turkey Guide (PDF)
If expats are willing to negotiate, use common sense, and keep their wits about them, finding suitable, well-priced accommodation in Turkey should be a straightforward process. Housing is widespread and varied, with many great deals to be found. It is also a feasible and popular option for expats to buy property in Turkey, as property rates are fairly low.
Types of accommodation in Turkey
There are many types of accommodation available in Turkey, from flats and apartments to houses, condominiums and luxury villas. The price of property in Turkey varies greatly according to the type and quality of a residence, its location, how recently it was constructed and whether it has parking facilities. Parking space is at a premium in Turkish cities, especially in Istanbul. As can be expected, property prices are generally higher in urban areas than in rural areas.
There are no specific expat areas in Turkey, although expats moving to Istanbul might want to check out the districts of Nişantaşı, Teşvikiye and Cihangir. These all offer a good range of accommodation options, and at the same time are vibrant parts of the city to live in.
Furnished vs unfurnished
Rental properties in Turkey can either be furnished or unfurnished, as both are equally available. Furnished apartments and villas often include everything from beds to cutlery and crockery. Many expats prefer renting fully furnished accommodation, as it saves them time and the money involved in either transporting furniture from their home countries or buying it once in Turkey. That said, furnished accommodation will be pricier than unfurnished, and it also usually requires a larger deposit.
Short lets from platforms such as Airbnb and Zingat are fantastic options for expats initially moving to Turkey, as they allow them to explore the different areas and suburbs in their new cities. The main benefit of short lets is that they are more affordable than hotels, and the cost typically includes utilities. Additionally, short lets are typically fully furnished, allowing rents to fully experience living in a particular neighbourhood before fully committing.
Finding accommodation in Turkey
There are several online property portals for finding accommodation in Turkey, while expat social media groups are also a viable option. Expats should also consider engaging the services of a reputable real-estate agent when searching for a place to rent. The vast majority of Turkish estate agencies will have a dedicated rentals department. Not all agents can speak English, so it's worth trying to find an agent who is more experienced in dealing with expats.
- Emlakjet is a popular online property portal in Turkey. While the website may be in Turkish, new arrivals can find some of the best deals here.
- Zingat offers both short-term and long-term rental solutions throughout Turkey.
Renting accommodation in Turkey
Finding suitable accommodation in Turkey should be a straightforward process, but expats should do some research before leaving their home country. As with most aspects of life in Turkey, negotiation is key when renting accommodation. Points like the monthly rental fee and the deposit to be paid can all be negotiated with the landlord. If one lacks the stomach or the skills to do it alone, one can ask the real-estate agent to negotiate these points.
The rental process
The rental process in Turkey depends on the route expats choose to take. Most expats will research properties online and contact some local estate agents who will set up viewings. The estate agent will help with any negotiating to reach an agreement with the landlord, and will then draw up a rental contract. The deposit and the first month’s rent need to be paid before the start of the tenancy.
If one decides to rent accommodation directly from a landlord, the process is fairly straightforward and more relaxed. Expats should nevertheless uphold a formal relationship with their landlord and ensure they still get a signed and notarised rental contract. This will help them avoid any misunderstanding that could come up in the future.
Rental agreements in Turkey don’t necessarily follow a specific form or set of requirements. When renting directly from the landlord, a verbal agreement is often made, but it is recommended to secure a written tenancy contract. This can be used to document the lease term, rent and deposit as well as the responsibilities of both the tenant and landlord.
The period of a long-term lease agreement is typically negotiated between the landlord and the tenant. Long-term rental contracts are typically signed for one year. There is also a rental increase for each year the contract is extended. This rate should be agreed upon when the contract is drawn up. Tenants should ensure that they understand all the terms and conditions laid out in the contract, and if there are any uncertain clauses, these should be sorted out and amended before signing anything.
Turkey's rental law does not have any stipulations on pets. Therefore, the onus on allowing or disallowing pets is on the landlord. Expats will need to discuss this with their landlord and ensure they get written permission to live with their pet.
The tenant will likely have to pay between one and three months' rent as a deposit, as well as one month's rent in advance, to secure their new apartment. The deposit is reimbursed after deductions have been made to cover damage caused by the tenant or unpaid utility bills at the end of the term of the lease agreement. Agents will also charge a fee for their services, which is also typically negotiable.
Termination of the lease
Tenants may terminate a lease in Turkey by giving at least 15 days' notice. If notice is not given within the prescribed period, the lease will be extended for an additional 12 months, so it's essential that expats give their landlords appropriate notice should they wish to move. Tenants should also ensure they return the property in the same condition they found it, as landlords will deduct money for repairs from their security deposit should the property be damaged beyond normal wear and tear.
Whether the tenant is liable for utility bills in Turkey will depend on the agreement made with the landlord. Sometimes these costs are included in the monthly rental price, and other times not.
Some landlords will arrange all utility services themselves. Others will leave the responsibility to their tenant. In rare cases – mostly when renting directly from an owner – utilities may be included in the monthly rent. Expats should ensure they understand the arrangement before they move into their accommodation.
Utilities can be paid at banks or with automatic payments through one's bank account. Automatic payments are the most convenient option. These can easily be arranged by visiting the bank with a copy of the bill. Expats should never make a payment to someone who comes to the door claiming to be an agent, as utilities are never paid like this.
Electricity supply in Turkey is managed by the Turkish Electricity Transmission Corporation (TEİAŞ) and is distributed by several companies across the country. The company is currently undergoing privatisation and reinvestment to boost electricity and gas production. Turkey faces power outages, so tenants should ensure they purchase surge protectors to prevent appliance damage.
To connect their electricity, newcomers must visit their local supplier's office and fill out a subscription form. Electricity Generation Company (EÜAŞ), ENKA and Istanbul Energy are the main electricity suppliers in Istanbul, while Ankara is served by Bedaş and EÜAŞ.
Expats will need to provide the supplier with their rental agreement, proof of identity and the previous installation number, which can be found on the electricity meter. Tenants must then pay a subscription fee and select the wattage to be delivered to their home. Renters can expect to receive their bills monthly, quarterly or biannually depending on their supplier.
Expats moving to Turkey's major cities such as Istanbul and Ankara will have access to mains gas. While almost 80 percent of Turkey's population has access to natural gas, some provinces do not enjoy the same access. The major gas suppliers such as Istanbul Gaz Dağıtım (IGDAŞ) and Başkent Doğalgaz Dağıtım (BAŞKENTGAZ) are government-owned.
Similar to electricity, tenants must visit a local supplier's office and submit their rental agreement, previous installation number, proof of identity and utility bill to connect their gas. Expats must pay a refundable security deposit as well as a non-refundable connection fee.
The water supply in Turkey is managed by local municipalities, and in major cities like Ankara and Istanbul, the drinking water is sourced from dams and is then chlorinated. This chlorination often makes the water unpalatable, and as such, most people in the country choose to drink bottled water. Large bottles of water are available for delivery to one's residence.
Still, customers will need to connect their water for other uses. They can transfer an account to their name by visiting their municipal water office with their rental contract, proof of identity, meter reading and connection fee. Expats must be aware that subscription procedures can vary between municipalities – it's important to check with one's local municipality before beginning the process.
Water bills are issued monthly or quarterly, and they typically include an environmental tax. The local municipality will institute a penalty for late payments after a seven-day grace period.
Turkey boasts excellent and inexpensive internet service providers (ISPs). WiFi access abounds in the country, while ADSL is also available. Expats must provide their identity documents and a recent utility bill to subscribe to a service. Most ISPs will offer integrated mobile and internet services, making it easy for expats to keep in touch in Turkey.
Bins and recycling
Waste management in Turkey is overseen by local municipalities which are responsible for collecting, separating, disposing and recycling rubbish. In urban areas, the municipality provides large dumpsters where residents can drop off their rubbish for curbside collection.
Recycling is a relatively new concept in Turkey, and its definition continues to evolve. Households are encouraged to separate recyclable waste from other materials, and Istanbul is home to several recycling facilities. Another significant part of the country's recycling efforts is the rubbish collectors who make a living from collecting recyclables and selling them to depots around the city that then sell them to factories for recycling.
►For information on managing your finances see Cost of Living in Turkey.
►Read Healthcare in Turkey for information on medical care in the country.
What do local expats say about housing standards in Turkey?
"From my experience the standard of housing is good. City dwelling is mostly in apartments which are spacious, have balconies and are usually well maintained. Some expats with families are housed on the outskirts of cities in apartment complexes with pools, gyms and other facilities. Retired expats living on the coast tend to live in private villas with their own pools and gardens." Check out our interview with British expat Faye to learn more about living in Turkey.
"The standard of housing here really depends on the area you live in and the age of the building you want to live in. There are some nice apartments available to rent or purchase, as well as some stand-alone houses. These can be furnished or unfurnished. The newer buildings generally have natural gas hooked up, but the older buildings might not. Adana is known for its hot summers, so I would recommend that you plan to purchase air conditioning units for your house if it doesn’t already have them." American expat Ginny Lou shares her experience of life in Adana in her interview.
Are you an expat living in Turkey?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Turkey. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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