Expat Guide: Things To Think About When Moving In – Prague
When you have found the right apartment, there are still some important things you need to take care of before living “happily ever after” in your new place. If you are still searching for accommodation, check our previous expat guide devoted to housing: “Expat guide: Where To Look For Housing in The Czech Republic”, and find some useful tips for flat-hunting.
Written by Nataliia Sliusarenko.
When you have found a place you like, been to view it and come to an agreement with the owner, it’s time to conclude the rental contract. Unless you are renting an apartment through a real estate agency, it is your responsibility to make sure that the contract is up to standard and includes all the necessary information.
In many countries there is a measure of respect for written agreements, and Czech Republic is one of them. When concluding the contract with a lessor, ask for the agreement to be put down in writing. This way you will have physical proof of the agreement and you will be protected under the law in case the promises made in the agreement were not met by the lessor. If the lessor is not willing to provide a written contract, you might want to reconsider whether you want to deal with them or not.
According to Daria Somova, a relocation expert and founder of Move to Prague, who helps foreigners move to the Czech Republic, it is very important to check the apartment you are moving into at the cadaster. There you can find the information about the real owner (this is who really needs to be dealing with you, or at least know about you), their existing debts, and the registered status of the property. If the apartment is registered as a non-residential space or atelier, it is impossible to live there legally.
Moreover, pay attention to how detailed your contract is, as it should include everything of importance, including the monthly rent, information about utility costs, a description of the apartment’s facilities, the deposit, and the duration of the rental period. If the owner has promised to install additional fixtures or furniture, do not sign the agreement before it is installed, or ask to include this information in the agreement.
It is typical in the Czech Republic that rental agreements are concluded in Czech only. That’s why Daria recommends always having someone review your rental agreement first, and never signing it if something is unclear, so as not to jeopardise your stay in the Czech Republic.
Paying a security deposit is a common practice in the Czech Republic.The exact amount of the security deposit should be stated in the rental agreement. In general, the deposit should not be more than three times the monthly rent, meaning it could be anything between 0 and your monthly rent multiplied by 3. When moving in, list the pre-existing damage in the apartment in the rental agreement, so you are not charged for it later.
Make sure that both you and your landlord have signed the rental agreement, as the signatures are proof that the rental agreement has come into force.
When renting accommodation, in most cases the landlord is responsible for the security of the building. However, it is your responsibility to insure your personal belongings. Arranging home insurance in the Czech Republic is quite easy, as there are lots of companies ready to provide you with insurance that will cover your needs. Here is a list of several companies providing home insurances:
The price of the insurance varies according to what kind of damage it covers, the amount of damage it covers, and the area of your apartment. On average the price of the home insurance is CZK 150 per month. You can always ask the insurance company for a quote before buying it. Most insurance companies in the Czech Republic will have English-speaking employees to consult you on your policy, but the contract will be concluded in Czech. Some companies can also provide you the contract in English, but this is usually just for your information and is non-binding.
In most cases, utilities such as water and heating are included in the rent or stated there separately. As for electricity and gas, they might be included in the rental agreement, meaning that your lessor would be the one responsible for paying the fees, or you may have to conclude your own contract for electricity or/and gas.
To do this, all you need to do is to visit the office of the local gas/electricity supplier, fill in the required forms and sign the agreement.
Here is a list of several electricity providers in the Czech Republic:
The list of gas providers:
Usually the same energy companies provide electricity and gas together.
When concluding the contract, the company might ask you to present these documents along with your application:
- rental agreement
- owner’s approval for service connection
- Czech citizen guarantor (If you are not a permanent resident)
As for the Internet, in most cases you would need to get your own internet contract, which is quick and easy to arrange. The minimum length of contract is usually two years. To conclude the contract you need to call or visit a local branch of the internet provider of your choice and order the contract. Your provider will send you an internet router just a few days after the call or visit. Here you can find a few internet providers in the Czech Republic:
After you have signed the rental contract, obtained home insurance, and sorted out the utilities, relax! You can now breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy life in your new apartment.