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Finding rent in Poland without speaking Polish?


Jun 4th, 2016, 05:16 AM
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Finding rent in Poland without speaking Polish?

I'm a European citizen who's actually Polish by birth (but I have no Polish citizenship and do not speak Polish). I speak my native language which nobody speaks, and I speak English.

How should I go about finding a place to rent in Poland?

I have no preference for location (although I gravitate towards the Northwestern parts, they are less like the Baltic countries and Russia), and one of the main things for me is that it would be cheap and would be an apartment (not a room). I'd be renting for at least a couple of months, but stay longer.

Where should I start? My main concern is that I do not speak Polish or Russian at all, and from what I know, few people speak English in Poland. Especially when we're talking signing a contract.
livenorway is offline  
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Jun 4th, 2016, 05:26 AM
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Dzien dobry.
My experience is that I have always found someone who spoke English esp in the cities.
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Jun 4th, 2016, 05:38 AM
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I'm studying POlish right now and it's driving me crazy, I'm about ready to give up, it is so difficult.

Having said that, I would think it would thus be easier for daily life and what you want to do in areas of Poland that are more cosmopolitan, obviously, and where there are more English speakers. I would presume this would be Krakow in the first position. But given its popularity with tourists (tons of Brits go there, all over the place for those hen and stag parties, drunk), it won't be as cheap as in many other places of course. Since cheap is your prime concern, that would probably rule it out.

I'm not sure what you are thinking of as NW, Gdansk is center north. Maybe Poznan? It's one of their major cities and has a lot of international companies there, so that might be a good choice as there is some foreign presence (mainly German and Dutch companies, don't suppose you are Dutch). Would be cheaper than Krakow, I presume, but don't really know.

look, I know nothing about this agency except that it is English speaking and says they are specifically to help foreigners find apts in Poland, and the website is in English. Here is a nice small apt in Poznan

it rents for 2200 zloty which is about 500 euro a month. You can do other searches for what you want.
Christina is online now  
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Jun 4th, 2016, 05:43 AM
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I'd start by googling Polish real estate agents, there are several with English websites.
There are so many global companies with locations in Poland, I can't see you not being able to communicate with somebody in English.
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Jun 4th, 2016, 08:11 AM
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If you want to live in the NW, Szczecin is the only larger city. It's an industrial port city with a nice old town - but not in the same league as Krakow or Gdansk. And due to its extreme NW location has better road or rail connections to Berlin than to any big city in Poland or the capital. But it has easy access to the beautiful Baltic coast.

In addition, I've asked a colleague who has worked for our subsidiary in Poland, and this is his advice (personal experiences, no legal advice, not ultimate wisdom):

- Rents in Warsaw are highest, no surprise. Krakow, Poznan, Gdansk, Wroclaw are also considerably more expensive than the "rest" of the country.

- Many rentals are private (newspaper/ online ads, personal "connections") and not via agents or major agencies.

- Some private rentals can be more like sublet contracts. What you get is a rental agreement, not a real contract. It's not a scam per se, but it's better to rent an apartment with a real contract.

- When you rent furnished apartments, check the photos you see against the official list of items. Just because you see a sofa in the pictures does not automatically mean it's part of the contract.

- When the rent looks to good (cheap) to be true, it usually is not true. Some black sheep try to sell addresses of those magically cheap apartments. Never pay for addresses.

- Check what is included in rent - and what is not. Water/heating are often included, electricity and gas usually not.

- Larger real estate agencies usually offer translation service for the contracts. Not a very pricey extra.

- If you sign a contract for a fixed duration, i.e. 6 months or a year, don't expect to be able to prolongate it. It may work, but there is no guarantee.

- It's easier to find apartments when you will be in the country. As said before, only a fraction of apartments is brokered via online agencies. Most apartments are advertised locally, and the landlord expects you to show up to check out the place next weekend.

- When already in the country, ask some local to go with you (co-worker, fellow student, etc.). While real estate agents may often be able to communicate in English, a local landlord (or housing association rep) will often not be able to do so.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
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Jun 4th, 2016, 04:38 PM
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Poland is not backward.
I think all you need is the ability to google.
There are lots of people in Poland who speak English.
sites like VRBO & airbnb have listings in English.
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Jun 4th, 2016, 11:41 PM
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@Whathello I'm not very interested in big cities unfortunately.

@Christina Thanks for the tips! And yes, it does seem really difficult, I can't even read the words, and usually I'm good at reading foreign words! Unfortunately though I'm not interested in bigger cities, and Poznan is too south for me. I'm interested more in something around the Pomorskie, Zachodniopomorskie, Lubuskie and Wielkopolskie. Preferably closer to German border and the northern the better. But it's likely to always be a small city/town.

@Cowboy1968 Yes! Szczecin would be perfect. Thanks for speaking to your collegue for me by the way. I have only been in 'agreements' or in contracts that aren't listed for the government so far. That's how it works where I'm from too. As I understand a real contract should be registered with a government and legal authorities though, hence that's what I should be looking for.

As for prolonging the contract, That's not such good news, I don't like moving - good to know.

Thanks for all the advice, I will see what I can do. I think I will head to Szczecin - its location is about as perfect as it gets for me.

@millie2112 The more I learn about Poland, the better it looks (especially the parts that are not Eastern (or North-eastern) - those seem to be closer to countries like Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Belorussia, Russia, etc., where in my experience people aren't so 'forward'.
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Jun 5th, 2016, 01:10 AM
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By the way..

Szczecin is not exactly a small town with some 400K inhabitants (according to Wikipedia). But the city has a good infrastructure with a good bus and tram network to get around. It also has everything you need for daily life - like major shopping centers and malls. Probably a bit more choices than in other cities of same size as Szczecin is also the nearest decently-sized city for a large area of the extreme NE of Germany.
Szczecin airport has only a few flights - but Ryanair goes to Oslo Rygge (assuming you are in Norway due to your alias) - and London and Dublin.
For most other destinations you will have to fly from Berlin - but there are cheap bus transfers directly to the airport(s) every hour, so it is quite easy.

If you look for smaller, check out Świnoujście - a seaside town with 40K inhabitants a bit North of Szczecin.

But as it shares the coast and beaches (and with 12kms the longest beach promenade) with neighboring Heringsdorf, Basin and Ahlbeck on the German side of Usedom island it is a more or less bi-lingual town (at least for anything tourist-related) - so it may not have that true Polish flavor you may be looking for.

In any case, Świnoujście is a very short hop from Szczecin, so you can easily go there for a day on the beach.
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