Renting a flat in Prague: 4 great ways to find your new home

Renting a flat in Prague is not cheap, but finding one is not an easy game either. As someone who moved several times during these years, I know how stressful searching for an apartment to rent can be. Many don’t see beyond flatshare options available on Facebook groups, because they are too scared of exposure to Czech language. And I think it’s unfortunate. With the right resources you realize that many limits about finding a good flat in Prague are only in your head. So, I thought it is a good idea to share my own experience, and some tips from my expat friends. Hopefully, I can save you some time and a couple of grey hairs. In this article I will show you 4 great ways to find and rent a flat in Prague, and to do it quickly.

Renting a flat in Prague can be a challenge

First, consider your budget. Now, decide whether you want to do a flatshare or to rent an entire apartment. If you are looking for a room, the best place for you is Facebook groups. Many offers here are commission free. Looking for an apartment just for yourself? I recommend Bezrealitky platform, these offers are only commission free, so there is no agency to collect any fees.

However, there are also scenarios when going through an agency pays off greatly. Besides, both Facebook and Bezrealitky have some disadvantages as well, which I’ll lay those out further in the article. And, you will also learn about one particular agency, that is very affordable and is widely praised by foreigners. Last but not least, if you are at the risk of having no roof above your head at all, consider discounted offers with Booking. I’ve done some research and I listed out some tips for affordable solution at the end of the article.

1. Facebook groups – first stop for renting a flat in Prague

Advantages of searching for apartments / flatshare on Facebook

If you are looking for a room or an apartment for renting in Prague, Facebook groups have several obvious advantages. They are very English-friendly, which is a big plus for people, who just came to Prague from abroad. Communication here is more relaxed and informal.

Also, you have a wide selection of apartments as well as flatshare options in these groups. In fact, I don’t know a better place for flatshare options than these Facebook groups. Even though the majority of landlords prefer long-term tenants, Facebook groups are more flexible. So, if you want to rent a room or a flat only temporarily, finding those options here is a bit easier. Finally, most of these Facebook groups ban real estate agents. So if you want to avoid paying an agency fee, this is an obvious choice.

Disadvantages of Facebook when you are looking to rent a flat in Prague

There are few disadvantages as well. As always, you will pay a premium for the English-friendly environment. Foreigners are less price sensitive, it’s as simple as that! We often agree to pay more to save ourselves from Czech language exposure. 🙂 From what I’ve noticed, apartments advertised on Facebook are on average 10-15% more expensive than what I’ve seen on Bezrealitky and on other platforms.

Another inconvenience is that you don’t have proper search tools on Facebook. That makes efficient filtering by criteria such as price, location, disposition etc, simply impossible. As a result, it’s more difficult to compare the apartments. And of course, it’s easy to miss an option, that could be more suitable for you. Also, beware that apartments and rooms don’t stay on the market for too long. As the demand for renting in Prague is extremely high these days, apartments are quickly off the market. So, if you feel like searching through Facebook is taking too long, you might reconsider that option.

Lack of direct contact with the owner when renting a flat in Prague is a red flag!

Also, especially in case of flatshare, you don’t usually deal with the owner of the apartment. Instead it’s often one of the current tenants who is negotiating with you. They have the rental contract written in their name and they are basically sub-letting a room. There is nothing wrong with that, of course. Just make sure to clarify all the legal points that might be important for you.

For example, you might want to register the apartment’s address as your residence address at Ministry of the Interior (MOI). In fact, all foreigners must have an address of registration in Czech Republic. In such case, the owner should provide you with a “proof of accommodation“. It’s a pretty basic form that must be filled in and presented at MOI, but it’s very important for your registration. Otherwise, if it’s one of the tenants signing the form for you, they should also prove they have the legal permission of the owner to sub-let the place. That should be clearly stated in the rental contract they signed with the owner.

How to find those Facebook groups for flatshare or renting a flat in Prague?

Flatsharing groups for expats in Prague

Here is an overview of the biggest and most active Facebook groups for flatsharing in Prague:

LGBT-friendly flatshare options sometimes appear in Queer Expats in Prague community on Facebook. Vegans who are looking to share a flat with people with similar food preferences, also have their own group. You can check out this small but pretty unique group – Vegan flatshare Prague/Veganské spolubydlení Praha.

Apartment rental groups on Facebook

And here is a shortlist of Facebook groups that focus on renting (mostly) apartments in Prague:

All in all, when it comes to renting a flat in Prague or to finding a suitable flatshare, Facebook groups are a great option, of course. Especially for those who have time and patience to go through a vast and largely unstructured offer. In other cases, you can keep an eye on Facebook to catch a potential good deal, but I would pick a different primary channel. If you consider yourself a busy person or you are in a rush to find a flat, keep reading.

2. Bezrealitky.cz – how Czechs approach renting a flat in Prague

Advantages of using Bezrealitky.cz

“Bez realitky” means “without real estate agency”. This reflects the fact that here you can rent an apartment directly from the owner, avoiding paying agency fees or commission. This is a proper platform with thought through design and a powerful search engine. There is a huge number of postings and you can sort them by any criterion you like. Think anything – from location and size, to the type of the building and availability of a balcony. Finding and then renting a flat in Prague using this platform is much easier than with other alternatives. They also provide all users with in-built legal support, background checks, profile verification etc. Landlords love it!

My favorite feature of the platform is that you can see apartments matching your criteria right on the map. Overall, here you can enjoy a great selection of apartments to rent, prices as low as they get in Prague, and many tools for better search experience. Searching for an apartment in Prague using Bezrealitky platform is largely as pleasant as any other type of online shopping.

Disadvantages of Bezrealitky.cz when looking for an apartment in Prague

The biggest problem is that all these beautiful features are only available in Czech. That makes it difficult for foreigners to use the platform when they are trying to find an apartment in Prague. However, I would not like you to be immediately discouraged. Nowadays, Google Translate can do magic! And, if you can ask a Czech-speaking friend to help you to set-up your account (just buy them a beer), your efforts might be well rewarded. Even though the expectation is that you write to landlords in Czech, many can speak at least some English. So, yes, your experience with bezrealitky.cz will be bumpier if you don’t speak Czech. But, on the other hand, you are more likely to find a nice, affordable apartment in Prague on this platform.

Another point to keep in mind is that once there is a nice offer, dozens of people jump on it. So, you need to stand out from the crowd and be extremely credible. The whole process will be in a way similar to a job interview. I recommend getting a premium account with Bezrealitky. It costs 299 CZK. Get it right away and fill it in entirely, including your real name, photo and all other details.

Also, when you write to a potential landlord, make sure you present yourself as a reliable person. No matter what, convince them that you are interested in renting their flat for long-term. Also, consider adding a link to your LinkedIn profile, if you have something impressive to show there. That would certainly be much appreciated by your potential landlord.

Brace yourself – landlords can be racist and ignorant!

Unfortunately, some (if not most) local landlords have a tendency to mistrust foreigners. Some people attribute it to the communist history of the country, others say it’s just pure xenophobia. I personally tend to believe that too many people simply live in their little bubble. And, obviously, without exposure to other cultures they limit their own horizons. Ignorance is a choice and I don’t want to judge people for their choices. On the other hand, I think it’s important to warn our readers about the potential issues they might face.

Don’t be discouraged seeing ‘Not suitable for foreigners’ or ‘Only for European nationals’ in the texts of the ads. Sometimes, they’d say they don’t want to have foreigners rent their flats because of higher taxes or fees they’d have to pay. Or, they might refuse to provide you with a proof of accommodation for your registration at MOI. These are just silly excuses to avoid dealing with building bridges with another culture. None of this is backed by any real law or administrative fee for the landlord.

It’s annoying, I know, but it’s their choice and their apartment. Don’t waste your mental energy on their drama. Instead, focus on your own pursuit of happiness and comfort in your new flat. Besides, in Prague there are always other options available for renting. Keep reading.

Renting a flat in Prague is a bit easier with Bezrealitky.cz
Screenshot from © Bezrealitky.cz website

In summary, Bezrealitky is a great tool with a huge database of available apartments. These rental offers can be easily filtered and compared in many different ways. However, without Czech, you will need to put some effort to take full advantage of it while searching for your next flat in Prague. Also, there are no flat-share options here.

3. Real Estate agency is the most convenient option

The most straightforward way to deal with finding and renting a flat in Prague is by going through a real estate agency. Using services of a freelance agent is also a totally viable option.

Advantages of using an agency when trying to rent a flat in Prague

Approaching an agent might be a perfect solution in the following situations:

  • you are short of time (e.g. you previous landlord suddenly terminated your contract)
  • you are not physically in Prague
  • your requirements for the apartment are very specific
  • you are fed up with searching though Facebook
  • you feel discouraged by getting rejected by landlords you’d met so far.

There are many English-speaking agents, who will happily arrange everything for you. In general, it’s nice to have someone by your side, who understands the market and the legal specifics. They can certainly save you a ton of time and shield you from anxiety that so often comes with searching for a flat to rent in Prague. A good agent can connect you with unique offers. For example, properties that are not even on the market yet (not listed online). In such case, you get a chance to be ahead of the game and secure a good deal. They would also be able to communicate all the legal aspects with the landlord. Besides, they could significantly help with handling cultural barriers.

Disadvantages of a real estate agent

Obviously, the services of a real estate agent in Prague cost something. Usually, the fee is a one-off payment that is the same amount as how much you pay monthly for the flat they find for you in Prague. It might seem a lot, especially today, when there are many Facebook groups without agents’ offers. But if you are looking for a long-term rental, this might be a very smart investment at the end of the day. An agency can find a good deal for you, the one you would not be able to arrange yourself without being able to speak Czech. And over time, as you save on rent, your initial investment in the agency fee pays off. With the current average prices on rental flats in Prague we are now looking at about 10 months time to compensate for your initial investment.

Of course, this is all true if your agency is doing their job properly. It might also happen that they will not provide you with any added value. Or worse, a bad agent might try to take advantage of your situation and pressure you for an unreasonably priced offer. Therefore, it’s always better to ask your friends for recommendations of a good agent. In general it pays off to be informed about the situation on the market and price levels.

Example of a good agency

Many of our Facebook group members praised services of IdealniNajemce.cz (Perfect Tenant in English). It is a platform with a pretty unique offer, because they go beyond simply letting you rent one of their flats in Prague. They provide their tenants with assistance, i.e. insuring the household for you, sending a professional to fix stuff if something stops working etc. All their listings are bilingual (English and Czech) and they rent out apartments from their own portfolio. That way, you don’t even get to deal with a local human landlord at all.

In summary, a real estate agent is a great option if you manage to find the right professional. Yes, you pay the fee, but it might save you from paying too much for your apartment every month. Not to mention, that all the mental pressure that looking for an apartment in Prague puts on you may cause anxiety. And, mental health counseling is not cheap for non-Czech speakers either! 🙁

4. Booking.com: temporary alternative to renting a flat in Prague

At first this might sound counter-intuitive, but Booking can provide you with a perfect temporary solution when you are risking to have no roof above your head at all. It’s true, that most hotels in the city center are too expensive to even consider. However, there is plenty of small hotels and guesthouses outside of Prague city center. These offer a competitive temporary alternative for renting a flat in Prague. I particularly recommend checking offers in Prague 4, Prague 7 and Prague 10. These areas tend to be the cheapest in the long run, but still well connected to the city center.

Especially with the rise of AirBnb offer the prices on Booking decreased. Besides, it’s really worth checking last minute offers as hotels tend to drop prices quite significantly in the last moment. The logic is simple – they lose money if the room remains empty overnight. Therefore they do their best to sell the nearest room-nights as quickly as possible. So, if you end up in a situation when your flat rental contract is terminated and you haven’t found your new home yet, consider this option. And those of you, who prefer the city center, no matter the cost, pay attention. Here is a fancy widget with the best deals in Prague for you.

Booking.com

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