GUIDE FOR RENTING AN APARTMENT AS A STUDENT IN ESTONIA – VOJIMIR (MONTENEGRO)
If student dormitories are not your style, don’t worry! Luckily, there are plenty of other options available for those who wish to find a suitable accommodation in Estonia.
Before searching – define priorities!
As a student, you will probably need a stable internet connection, but not all the apartments have it. Don’t forget it! Another thing that you would probably need is a washing machine since laundry services can increase your monthly expenses significantly. Which heating system do you prefer, radiators or wood/pellet stoves? Think about the type of accommodation that suits you the best. The most common situation is renting a studio on your own or a room in a multi-room apartment, usually with other students. They can be either in a house (usually containing 3-4 apartments) or in a building. On the other hand, there are several hostels that offer special prices for students and include cleaning services.
Increasing the number of people means decreasing the price!
Location, location, location!
Closer to the city center or closer to your lectures? It’s up to you, but you should always consider public transportation connections and check if there are supermarkets in the nearby. For some people, being in a quiet part of the city is a big advantage. You usually don’t get a spectacular view through your window, but, during winter, you might prefer to look towards the south in order to get as much sunlight as possible.
How to search?
Let’s consider that you have no friends from your country that are already renting the apartment for two years in a row. Fortunately, there are several websites, as well as “specialized” Facebook groups where you can find something. The most popular websites in Estonia are www.city24.ee and kinnisvaraportaal-kv-ee.postimees.ee and they can be translated into English language as well (otherwise, you are doomed with Google Translate). Also, if you are already in Estonia, why not going to the broker directly?
Our evil enemies – brokers
Yes, they will try to squeeze every single cent from your pocket, but it’s hard to avoid them when you use the websites mentioned above. However, some properties have a note that they don’t use broker services and they don’t charge any broker fees. Usually, the broker fee that you pay when you sign the contract equals to one monthly rent. Moreover, renting usually includes paying a deposit for the same price (hopefully, you get that money back).
Based on my experience, if you use websites and e-mails, average reply rate is 10%, while on Facebook pages it can be up to 90%. Recommendation: find your own “broker”, preferably an Estonian course mate and ask him/her to contact the owners of the properties that you like. It can speed up the process significantly. Note that chances of receiving a feedback increase if you are looking for a long-term contract (6 months or more).
Signing the contract and payment
Instead of a broker fee, some owners ask for a contract fee (usually the same amount), which can be inconvenient when searching for the accommodation for a short period. Check if the owner asks you to pay the utilities (electricity, water, heating), which can be from 40€/month in summer to 80€/month in winter, but they can also be included in your monthly fee, so you pay a fixed price (good for planning your budget).
Therefore, check the property before signing the contract, move in, and straight to the second-hand shop for all the additional things that you might need!