Housing in Prague
Prague Rental Market
Rental Market, Current Situation
As the number of well-refurbished and new built properties has increased over recent years, and the number of expatriate house hunters declined, rental levels have peaked and leveled out. However, demand has remained strong for well designed and presented apartments in the more popular expat areas of the city (Prague 1, 2, 5) and for smaller and cheaper apartments, affordable for Czech renters. Good quality detached family houses in the vicinity of the international schools (Prague 4, 5, 6) still fetch a premium and are constantly in short supply.
Residential Property Characteristics
The residential properties for rent in Prague can be delivered at various standards, ufurnished, furnished or with furnishing possibility at extra cost. Even the unfurnished properties have a built-in kitchen with appliances (stove, fridge/freezer), light fittings, floorings and sanitary accessories.
Air conditioning is rare. It is true that in the ancient thick wall buildings it is not necessary but for attic apartments it is recommended.
The prices vary by standard but mainly by location from 7 – 15EUR per sqm/month. Utilities and services are usually charged extra in the form of monthly payments which are once a year balanced with actual consumption. A security deposit to be held by the owner during the rent period is demanded at one month rent as a standard. Deposit of 2 moth rents can be asked for furnished properties and 3 months are rarely asked only for luxurious places. The real-estate agencies charge one month rent as a service fee (commission). No commission rentals are offered directly from owners but without an agent are difficult to find.
All variety of property types can be found around Prague. Individual types always relate to its location and era of construction.
The oldest houses in Prague 1 have only recently been reconstructed to their original beauty and may offer cosy and romantic dwellings. Though mainly in Lesser Town (Malá Strana) apartments often lack space and some comfort such as lift, easy car access and parking space. The houses across the river in the Old Town (Staré Město) are more spacious but parking and lift are often missing. The name of Pařížská street is the most prestigious name someone residing in Prague can have on its card, of course at the highest cost.
The residential apartment houses of art-nouveau, built on the turn of 19th century created the beauty of most of Prague 2. Offering more space with often added lifts can deliver today´s highest standards but quality must be closely checked. Especially Vinohrady became the favourite location for those searching comfortable apartments within walking distance to the heart of the city but offering enough places to relax, green parks and all sorts of entertainment. Another highly recommended quarter for residency seekers is Prague 5. The area of Smichov offers similar building standards as Prague 2, but less green parks and unfortunately heavier traffic than Vinohrady. Other quarters of Prague 5, such as Hřebenky or Malvazinky are characterized with less dense development of family houses or modern developments on green hills. Prague 5 also attracts expats whose children attend the French Lyceum in Drtinova street. Prague 6 is in the highest demand for its luxurious villas on the green and quiet hills of Břevnov, Ořechovka and Hanspaulka. Many foreign residents are also attracted by the Iternational School in the village of Nebušice, where can be found many family houses which makes this village the only outside Prague location with a busy rental market.
Shall you be looking for lower prices or having other reasons to seek in Prague 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 or 10 it is good to know, that a real bargains can be made there. A mixture of apartment houses, paneled blocks of flats and new developments has been created there. Residential houses are often mixed with industrial and commercial buildings. The advantage here can be more space and car parking availabilities. The disadvantage are usually smaller apartments (80m2 the largest available flats).
Getting a Rental
However it may seem easy to pick a property and conclude a contract with the landlord, it may not always process smoothly and quickly. The biggest difference from the developed markets is that there is no exclusivity. It means that one property can be offered and advertised by more agents. Sometimes 3, sometimes 5 or even more agents try to sell one apartment. The property agents also do not have the keys of the properties so in most cases the owner himself or another representative unlocks the door for a viewing. When selecting the property on the internet on your own, you must be careful that you do not choose the same property twice. This may happen, because the pictures of the property may look different from other agents and sometimes even price may slightly vary.
And you can bet that at the moment you decide on the beautiful place you have seen, another client does the same through other agent. The rule - first come first served- should apply here but sometimes a sort of bargaining may be launched and the landlord finally picks the one who offers more beneficial conditions or simply the one who makes a better impression (no children, no animals, does not look different).
The recommendations here are:
- try to decide asap, always make a good impression, do not immediately ask the landlord to do things for you (supplying new furniture, painting the walls in different colors, providing bigger TV set, etc.).