Whether you are considering making the move to Barcelona for the first time or you just need a change of scene, finding a flat can seem like a daunting task. Here we´ve gathered some basic tips to help ease your search and to make sure you get the best value for your money.
First of all, you have to decide what neighborhood to live in. From the bohemian El Raval to the trendy El Born, each barrio has its own personality.
Decide what’s important to you, whether it’s being near the beach (Barceloneta), proximity to your workplace, or in the center of the city’s action (Ciutat Vella). Have an actual walk around the area, talk to friends and do your research.
The price you see as listed is more than likely not going to be the final price you pay. Take into account: deposits, bills and taxes. There are plenty of reasonably priced places available but make sure you ask about any extras before you sign a contract.
Looking to get the best bang for your buck? Take your search a little further outside of the city centre. Up and coming areas such as Poble Nou, Sant Gervasi and Poble Sec are all still within distance of the action but can generally offer bigger rooms at smaller prices. Also, look into sharing a flat. If you don’t mind living with a couple of roommates, you could save a lot of money. Other benefits include potential built-in-buddies, someone to unlock the door when you’ve lost your keys and if you are new to the city, a resource on where to eat/drink in Barcelona.
The length of time you plan to spend here will greatly influence how you look for an apartment and what to watch out for. Turnover is high in this city, especially during the hectic warmer months (May-September). Summer sun-seekers will find an abundance of holiday homes aimed at short term renters; however watch out for price hikes and extra costs aimed at this particular type of rental.
Visitors here for a little longer, such as students and interns, will find it easier to find a flat within a more reasonable price range. Most landlords prefer tenants that can stay longer than a couple of weeks and with recently changed Spanish rental laws, minimum contracts have come down from one year to a more manageable six months.
Long term renters may want to consider going through an agency, especially if you want a full flat where a lot of money is being exchanged in deposits. Nevertheless, watch out for the additional costs incurred when going down this route. Agencies usually charge one month’s rent alongside a percentage of the annual rent, as well as VAT being charged on top of that.
Related article: How to find the perfect flat in Barcelona
There is always a demand for flats in the Catalonian capital and therefore people are always looking to capitalize on this. Watch out for scams. These are most common amongst classified websites and social media groups. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Landlords may also try and impose ´extra´ rules and fees on tenants, especially foreign short-term renters, such as guest fees, unreasonable deposits (more than two months), and other seemingly random charges. If you don’t speak the local language, make sure to bring a Spanish speaker along to viewings and contract signings. Know your rights. Check out websites such as barcelona.anglo.info which has legal info for expats.