So, you’ve found a new career teaching, you’ve moved to a new country and now you’re ready to get settled in your new home. It can be pretty tricky to find the perfect apartment, even in your home country, so we’ve put together some step-by-step instructions to help make the process a little more manageable!
Get your priorities straight
Many of our teachers stay in temporary residence, such as hostels or an Airbnb, so they can start the apartment hunt on the ground in Poland. Not only does this give you a bit more of an idea of the city you’ll be calling home, but it also takes any complications out of signing contracts—and we’re all for anything that makes life easier for our teachers.
After getting an idea of the surroundings of your language school or institute, you have an important decision to make: do you want to live nearer to your workplace or nearer to the center of your city? Remember you’ll most likely be commuting to the city center often, and it can be helpful to have a clear divide between work and home.
Know Where to Look
It can be overwhelming asking where to even start, so let’s take it one step at a time. The best way to find a flat is by word-of-mouth or online. Maybe a friend of a friend mentions they have a spare room? Chase up on that. It can be great to live with people you’ve already met, and hopefully it means the landlord isn’t out to dupe you.
When searching online, you’ll find different websites have different demographics in mind, but don’t worry, there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking to share with students, expats or just need a lease less than 12-months, Pepe Housing is a great place to start. The website is user-friendly and translates to English, but it’s main selling point is that you can search for a flat based on lease length—no more negotiating with landlords. Often these listings also have ‘bills included’. When you find a flat you like the look of, it’s easy to drop a quick message on there and arrange a viewing. Pepe Housing mainly deals with letting agencies rather than private landlords, which can make the experience smoother. If you’re in Warsaw, keep an eye out for Little Home Rental, which is recommended by some of our current teachers.
Another agency that comes highly recommended by our teachers is Flatcare, where you can find lots of modern and comfortable options, including studio apartments for couples or friends. With agencies like these there are often many English speakers, which means communication is easy and quick.
Just like anywhere, you will have to fork out a deposit to your landlord or agency. This sum is usually a month’s rent and is to be paid at the time of signing your rental contract. It’s best to have your Polish bank account set up for this, as although some international banks allow transfers without fees, there is usually a 3 to 5 day processing time. Your agency may also have a preference for cash but watch out for the ‘bankomats’, aka cash machines, as you’ll have a pretty hefty transaction fee if you use an international card with that one. It is easiest to discuss how you’ll pay the deposit before signing your contract, as they may be flexible enough to wait a few extra days.
Your monthly rent will be sent via bank transfer, which again can be with either a Polish or international bank account; just make sure to allow a few extra days if you’re using the latter. If you have any issues in your apartment during your stay, you’ll find an agency will often be able to respond quicker. They often have several employees and good communication, so keep this in mind when searching.
Know Which Documents You’ll Need
Whilst in Poland, you’ll need to obtain your PESEL number. This number acts as an identification code and you’ll find it useful in all sorts of situations. The good news is that when you register your new residence with your local township office, you automatically get assigned a PESEL number.
As well as your passport and PESEL number application form, you’ll need to show the office your tenancy agreement. The thing to note here is: if you signed with a letting agency, make sure you have a signed document stating that the agency has authority to let the property on behalf of the landlord.
Enjoy Your New Home!
Hopefully the idea of starting your apartment hunt feels a little less daunting now. Finding your new home is a valuable part of the ‘living abroad’ experience, and it gives you a chance to live on your own terms.
You may find it helpful to discuss options with your fellow teachers, as they may have some recommendations or advice, but also to have other people in the same situation can be reassuring in itself.
Think you’re ready to start your life as an ESL teacher in Poland? Find out more about our placements.