Flat Hunting in Madrid
After reading Part 1, you now have the tools you need to look for a piso. Now what? First, here are some phrases that will help you to find the right apartment for you.
Vocabulary to know:
- habitación – room
- piso – apartment
- alquilar – to rent
- amueblado – furnished
- ascensor/ sin ascensor – elevator/ no elevator
- fumador/ no fumador – smoking/ non-smoking
- calefacción – heating
- mascota/ sin mascota – pets/ no pets
- fianza – deposit
- gastos – utilities
Phrases to know:
- ¿Hay internet/ calefacción/ aire acondicionado/ un ascensor? – Is there internet/ heating/ air conditioning/ an elevator?
- ¿Cuánto es la fianza? – How much is the deposit?
- ¿Hay un contrato y recibos para el pago de alquiler? – Is there a contract and receipts of rent payment?
- ¿La habitación es amueblado? – Is the room furnished?
- ¿Cuántas personas viven en el piso? ¿Chicos? ¿Chicas? – How many people live in the apartment? Boys and girls?
Our top tips for renting a flat in Spain:
- The deposit is usually a month’s rent. When you sign your contract you will usually have to pay the deposit and the first month’s rent so make sure you have funds to pay this soon after you arrive.
- You will want a receipt to prove you pay your fianza (deposit) and the first month’s rent. We recommend that you also get a contract for your accommodation as you need one for your NIE application (residence card that allows you to stay in Spain for over 3 months).
- Check that you have a window in your room. You may think it isn’t such a big deal if it means you pay 25€ less per month but you will definitely want natural light and a breeze during the hot summer nights.
- Think carefully about the type of environment you want to live in and ask your potential housemates questions. What do they do? How old are they? Do they have a cleaning schedule? Are they as interested in partying as you are, or do they prefer the quiet life? Use common sense, if your potential housemate will be a couple in their 40s and you like having people over and going out until 8am, you may not be the best fit, however nice the room may be! If you’re an introvert or like to keep yourself to yourself then moving in with 5 Erasmus students that enjoying having house parties and group dinners then the same will apply.
- Go with your gut. If you get a bad feeling about the place, trust that. There are plenty of pisos out there that will be a better fit.
- If you aren’t thrilled about the place and just want something cheap while you’re gathering more funds, make sure your contract will allow you to leave in a month or two. Remember that you may need to give 30 days notice to your landlord in order to get your deposit back. In a few months, your Spanish will improve and you’ll be more confident when speaking with landlords and potential roommates.
- Write out a list of what you want so you can stick to it if you’re feeling pressured to make a decision. Pisos go quickly in Madrid, especially during peak times like September and February when school semesters are starting for college students so you may start to panic but you also need to remember that you will be living in this place for a while so you can’t compromise on important issues.
- Most pisos operate on a first come, first serve basis so don’t waste time. If you fall in love with somewhere then just say yes and sign on the dotted line!
Remember AGAIN! If a flat seems too good to be true – the price is really low for the area or condition of the apartment – it probably is and there are lots of scams doing the rounds on all platforms. Always be careful sending money to private bank accounts, especially if they’re not in Spain.
We at TtMadrid are always here for our students. If you have any issues or would like to know more about which areas to choose, or have doubts about whether you should trust a suspicious looking advert, just let us know! Email our housing adviser on firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office.