When moving to another country finding a place to live can be daunting. I mean finding accommodation in my own country is hard enough, imagine in another place where you have no idea where to look, how to speak to lingo or what to expect. During my time in Spain I’ve lived in 8 different flats, 4 cities, lost 3 deposits, been (literally) kicked out and even held hostage – both of those on separate occasions but thankfully just the once… I don’t want to scare you, it’s not all bad, I have had an amazing time here and lived in some beautiful flats. I mostly blame the words ‘erasmus parties’ for the bad bits…
After having so many weird and wonderful experiences with accommodation here, I think I can give some rather good tips on what to do and what NOT to do to find accommodation in Spain 🙂
Accommodation options in Spain
There are plenty of flats available around Spain (flats are more common than houses here) and you can also find them rather cheap if you look in the right place. A shared flat will cost you typically around 200-300 euros (I pay 230 for a shared flat in the centre of Palma de Mallorca all renovated and nice) and your own flat will typically cost you around 400-500 euros a month. This varies on where you are of course, the centre of Barcelona or Madrid could be a little more.
What to consider in your accommodation
When searching for a flat you should have some idea of what exactly you’re looking for already. Do you want a shared flat or to or live alone? Do you also want heating? (Spain does get cold) Alternatively, do you want air conditioning (this is very important depending on where you live, but for me in Majorca it’s a life saver) You should also check whether your flat has an interior or an exterior window, often they don’t even have a window in the city centre so if you’d like to see the light sometimes, make sure you check first!
Where to look for accommodation in Spain
Often it is a good idea to book yourself into a hostel or some temp accommodation for a few nights when first arriving. It is much easier to find a flat once you are in the city than before you get there. Although you could get in touch with a few landlords before arriving and make some appointments to speed things up a little. I definitely recommend that you go to visit the flats before deciding to move into one.
The best way to contact landlords is to call them up, however this could be a problem if you don’t speak Spanish! I spent most of the time contacting people via WhatsApp as almost ALL of the Spanish use it and it makes it easier to write in Spanish (I find writing easier than talking in Spanish). Alternatively, ask someone nicely if they could try to call up to get you an appointment. If you’re lucky some landlords will also speak English, one way or another you’ll find a way!
If you are studying in Spain, often the university will have a list of accommodation which you can use, or if you are moving for work maybe they could also advise you. However if you are looking yourself, I recommend the following 3 websites:
-For me this is by far the best site I’ve used and found most of my flats. It’s pretty easy to use and also available in English. You can search by location, and then choose price,amount of rooms etc. I think it most houses in Spain will be first listed on here as it’s free for landlords. Try this one first!
-This is another one easy to use site that looks good, I found one flat using Fotocasa. There are some nice places listed here so take a look on this one if idealista doesn’t give you enough.
-Haven’t found a flat on here personally they also have a lot of listings and they’re also available in English.
Beware of landlords not giving back deposits! In the UK we have a deposit protection scheme to avoid landlords taking money however this doesn’t exist here. Tell your landlord you won’t pay the last month rent and he can keep your deposit, or make it very clear with them when leaving , when and how you will get your deposit back. Don’t make the same mistakes as me when I tried to contact them and they ignored me and changed their phone number after I paid my last month…
Some phrases which could help you when searching for a flat:
Alquilar – rent
Piso/Casa – Flat/house
Estoy interesada en su piso, puedo organizar una cita para ver lo? – I am interested in your flat, could I organise an appointment for viewing?
Have you gone through the process of finding accommodation in Spain? Do you have any tips or stories to share? Drop me a comment, I’d love to hear more.
Maybe you also want to check out my post on How to find an expat job in Spain