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Estonia - Renting Property
Flats come furnished, part-furnished and unfurnished. The latter usually means that there are no white goods or any furniture in the property but again, you will need to check the rental agreement to confirm this. There is no minimum term for a property rental; some flats are advertised with a daily charge. Another thing to keep in mind is that the flats are classified by the number of rooms and not bedrooms. For example, a studio flat would be an equivalent to a one-room flat in Estonia.
The best place to start your property search will be websites such as KV.ee, city24.ee and kuldnebors.ee. If you are unfamiliar with the area, it is recommended to go through a local estate agent who can answer all your questions. Same goes for the rental agreement, which will need to be in Estonian – you can get this translated for a small fee.
A rental agreement may be signed for a fixed or an unspecified term. This means you sign an agreement for a specific amount of time and can renegotiate with the landlord or estate agent afterwards if you decide to stay. There are likely to be penalties if you breach the terms of the rental agreement or decide to leave early. Unspecified contracts, or ‘pay-as-you-rent’, mean you can leave at any time as long as you adhere to the agreed notice period. You will have to pay a security deposit that is equivalent to between one and three months of rent. You’ll get the deposit back when you move out as long as you have left the property in a satisfactory condition. Agency fees are typically in the region of one month’s rent unless otherwise agreed.
Rental payments are usually paid at the beginning of the calendar month. It is possible the landlord will ask you for an advance payment when you sign the rent agreement. You will need to have an Estonian bank account to set up a standing order to the estate agent or the landlord. Sometimes, if you are renting privately, the landlord can ask for the rent payment to be made in cash.
Payments for utilities should be stated in the rental agreement. Some utilities may be included in the rental price, but it’s more likely you will need to pay them separately. You should always make room in your budget for utilities as they will make up a considerable part of your housing-related expenses. An average cost for a two-room flat can be as low as €80 in summer and as high as €180 in winter when the heating comes on. It is advisable to ask for the previous bill to get an idea of how much you will have to pay.
Another important point, especially for drivers, is to ask whether the property comes with a parking space. Most new apartment buildings have allocated parking spaces. This can be useful as parking, especially in densely populated areas, can be a bit of a nightmare in Estonia. In some cases, a parking permit will be required. Check whether you need to pay for this separately or if it is an expense included in the rent. For example, an annual parking permit in Tallinn city centre will set you back €120. It’s worth mentioning that public transport is free for registered residents of Tallinn.
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