10 Tips for Renting Long-term Apartments in Kiev
10. Know Your Budget
Understand that your budget should include all utilities, such as electricity, hot and cold water, gas (for some properties) and heating. Other additional expenses include Internet service, parking, concierge service, building maintenance, and security service. In some cases, incorporating these expenses will dramatically increase your overall monthly living cost.
In most cases, the rental price seen in advertisements does not include payments for electricity, gas, and hot/cold water. Therefore, it would be wise to ask your agent for specific details about the price. First, figure out exactly what additional expenses there will be. Then check whether or not these utilities and other expenses are included within the monthly rent. Finally, calculate the total to determine the overall monthly living cost.
9. Heating /Cooling
The winters in Kiev are harsh. This cannot be understated. Even if a property description states that heating is available, be sure to inquire about and confirm all details. Most buildings have “central heating.” This heating system utilizes water and heats the entire building. Central heating is in operation from October 15th to April 15th. However, sometimes it can get cold prior to October 15th or remain cold after April 15th. Therefore, if you plan to remain before or after these dates, check to see if other forms of heating are available (e.g. electric heaters, fire place, air-conditioners, etc.)
Moreover, some apartments do not have individual air-conditioning units, since the warmer months in Kiev are quite moderate. However, Western influences in renovation and construction have instilled the value of having individual air-conditioning units within apartments. Be sure to ask about the apartment’s heating and cooling systems in detail with your agent or the home owner.
Unless you plan to purchase or rent a car in Kiev or have one shipped over, you will most likely utilize public transportation or taxi services. The public transportation infrastructure in Kiev and throughout Ukraine is well-structured. The metro (underground subway), trams, trolley-buses, buses, shuttle-buses (“marshrutkas”), and taxis are all available to get around. When deciding upon an apartment to rent, it is important to find out where the closest Metro station is located. Remember, the winters are harsh in Kiev. Since this will be your main means of transportation (especially for those who commute to work daily), you will want to ensure that the walking distance between your home and apartment is short.
If you plan to own a car while residing in Kiev, having your own private parking spot will be necessary in terms of both convenience and security. Having an underground parking spot is even more convenient (especially during winter months) and secure. Therefore, ask your agent or the homeowner to give you information on parking for the apartment. If a private spot is not available, make sure that adequate street parking is available. Spending time looking for a spot to park after a long day at work can be quite frustrating and time consuming. And often times you may need to walk a long distance. Besides, a random street parking spot at a distance poses as a security risk.
Most apartments come furnished. Get a complete rundown of all pieces of furniture and appliances. Check to see if anything you may specifically need is already included. If you are seeking an unfurnished apartment, most agents will be able to negotiate with the homeowner to remove some, if not all of, the furniture.
If an apartment comes unfurnished, but the desire is for a furnished one, then ask your agent if the owner will accommodate furniture for the apartment. This condition of agreement is also possible with a long term lease and 3-6 months of prepayment.
5. District (location)
As with most large cities in the world, Kiev is broken into various neighborhoods (“districts”). Spend some time and research the various districts of Kiev. Look for an apartment that is within your budget as well as convenient in distance to your work place/school, shopping locations, and places you may want to frequently visit during your downtime - parks, museums, churches, etc.
4. Bedrooms / Bathrooms
Most agents will describe a property’s bedroom/bathrooms as simply ‘rooms.’ If a property states it has 4 rooms, this may be only 2 bedrooms, one connected room, a living-room, and one bathroom. With that said, ask your agent to give you specific details of the property’s number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
Plan ahead, but not too early. Giving your agent 1-2 months of notice is good timing. This should give your agent sufficient time to find exactly what you are looking for. It doesn't make sense to start your search too early because the rental market in Kiev is very dynamic. Even if you find an apartment that you like, it is unlikely that the owner will agree to wait more than 2 months until the start of the lease contract, leaving the property empty during this time. You will have wasted your time, as you will need to start over. Furthermore, last minute apartment hunting is not recommended. The limited time for the search may result in paying premium prices for an apartment.
2. Contract/Lease Agreement
Most agreements are drafted in Ukrainian (or Russian) and English. Expect to sign a 12-month agreement, as this is the norm. If there is a chance that you may not need to reside in the apartment for the full term, be sure to ask the agent to include a clause in the contract that states the tenant has the right to terminate the lease early with no penalties at an agreed upon length of notice.
1. Use a Real Estate Agency
Although the least inexpensive way to find an apartment for rent is dealing strictly with the owner, it is always recommended to use a professional real estate agency, such as All Star Kiev Realty. A private real estate agent will find exactly what you are looking for, give you invaluable advice, make all necessary negotiations with the landlord, and draft contracts tailored to your needs. However, most importantly, with a real estate agent, you are better protected from getting into a trouble with rental scammers.
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