Long-Term Accommodations in Poland
It's the curse of most of Central and Eastern Europe, and Poland is no exception: finding long-term accommodations is perhaps the most difficult task for foreigners.
The only advantage that some foreigners have over the average Pole is that they are accustomed to paying a lot more in monthly rent. Said one teacher in a school in Krakow:
"The bottom line is you won't get what you want when looking for accommodation, unless you're very lucky. Finding accommodation is the single biggest problem for foreigners in Krakow, and I would imagine all over the rest of Poland, too. . . . If you find something, take it."
This teacher went on to say that connections are important when looking for accommodation. It's fair to say that you should spend as much time in the beginning looking for a place to live as you do looking for work. Unless you find a job in a public school, most schools do not assist you in finding accommodations.
Renting an Apartment
Because finding an apartment can be a tiresome task, take what you can get, provided it meets your basic specifications. And don't expect to find an apartment equipped with a phone, as they are rare.
Though apartment and room rents in Poland are inexpensive when compared to what you pay at home, they will probably require about the same percentage out of your pay. Expect to pay upwards of US$350 per month for a studio apartment.
By far the best way to find long-term accommodations is through the people you meet - casual acquaintances, other teachers, co-workers, etc. It's a good idea to search out a Polish-speaking person who can help you in your search for accommodation. Most landlords in Eastern Europe boost their rents considerably when they rent to a foreigner, and Poland is no exception.
Consider the following before you sign an agreement to rent:
- Apartments in Poland are small, cramped, and often short on amenities of any sort. They are usually measured in terms of square meters, and are designated one room, one-and-a-half rooms, two rooms, etc. A one room apartment is the rough equivalent of a studio. One-and-a-half rooms means that there is a small room or area between the sleeping quarters and the kitchen area, and so on.
- The plumbing and heating systems are often antiquated. Make sure everything is in working order.
- Most landlords who rent to foreigners don't report their rental incomes to the tax collector. It is advisable to get some sort of written receipt from your landlord just in case there are any problems. Whether or not the landlord does choose to file with the tax authorities, chances are the full amount of what you pay will not be reported