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What is a +kk? How to Navigate Housing Market in Prague

Housing is among the first needs for expats upon arrival to Prague. Language and lack of information about the market are the highest barriers for new arrivals. It is important to do research on the type of housing you want in order to get an estimate of the price. Further research about Prague can help you find the best location for your lifestyle.

Foreigners Prague help expats to find their dream accommodation in the Czech capital. They know the local real estate market very well, they speak English and even guarantee a year-long VIP program for their clients for free. You can also choose from their exclusive apartments or just contact them via prague@foreigners.cz for a home search tailored to your needs.

What is a Good Housing Location in Prague

Proximity to one’s work or university is often a priority when looking for housing in Prague. This city’s vast, well-connected transportation lines open opportunities to live throughout the city. A flat further from the center is ideal for the expat looking to save some money on rent. Living at the end of the metro lines does not have to mean a long commute or sacrificing convenience. Thanks to the underground system, you can be in the city center in about 15 minutes. 

Historically, expats have flocked to Vinohrady. This part of Prague 2 developed an English-friendly shopping and entertainment culture with upscale bars and streets lined with brightly painted buildings. Karlín’s business centers attract a lot of large companies, and proximity to work may be a factor for employees to live along the yellow metro line.

A sídliště is a neighborhood made of panel buildings, usually surrounding open green space. The park often has playgrounds, ball courts, and walking paths. They used to be only prevalent on the edge of the city, but as Prague expands, these Soviet-era neighborhoods are moving into the city landscape. Post-war housing shortages and the need for denser housing around factories and other job centers gave rise to these paneláky in Prague.

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Moving to a sídliště may be an ideal compromise between city living and having an outdoor space for pets and children to run around and play.

Reading the Housing Advertisements in Prague

For foreigners, the codes in housing advertisements are an entirely unique system. The first number refers to how many rooms are in the flat. Each room must be 8 m2 or more. Some countries have real estate laws requiring a definition between living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. On the other hand, Czech real estate ads use a number-of-rooms system for flats, leaving space for interpretation by renters or buyers. Rooms, if unfurnished, could be used as bedrooms, offices, living rooms, or anything else.

The second number clarifies if the kitchen is a separate room (+1) or is a kitchenette (+kk). Rooms with a kk are usually used as living and dining room combinations. Here are some examples of the ad system in action:

  • 1+kk is a single room with a kitchenette in it, also called a garsoniéra/garsonka (Czech word for studio apartment).
  • 1+1 is a one bedroom flat with a separate kitchen in its own room.
  • 2+kk is a two room flat, and one of those rooms has a kitchenette in it.
  • 2+1 is a two room flat, with a separate room for the kitchen.
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Tip: visit the neighborhood you might want to live in during all times of day. Is the rush hour traffic too heavy? Do you feel safe at night, with well-lit streets?

Appliances, Furniture, and Extras

In European flats, the toilet and shower are usually in separate rooms. In small flats, the washing machine will be a part of the bathroom or kitchen. It is important to check if appliances are included when you rent or buy. In some cases, the renter will have to provide small electronics. Typically, the buyer of the house will have to provide their own items, including large purchases such as the refrigerator and washer. Some apartment buildings have a shared basement storage space for common use, so be sure to ask if it fits your needs.

Let’s Talk Legal

Foreigners need to have proof of accomodation for visas, and a housing contract (Czech: “smlouva”) fulfills this requirement. Therefore, foreigners cannot enter the black housing market in Prague. Some owners want to rent but not want to disclose rental income for taxes, so they will rent without contracts.

The “kauce,” or deposit, is another point of consideration for renters. Most can expect their deposit back if the flat is left in the same condition as it was lent. Photographic documentation is key to keeping everybody honest through the process.

The owner of the flat has the right to void the contract if they give the tenant 60 days warning, and they must return the deposit. Owners main concerns are keeping their properties full. Often if renters want to move out, they can just find another renter themselves to take over payments and inform the landlord with no penalty.

Foreigners generally need to come into rental negotiations better equipped than locals. Scams are still common and some landlords perceive expats as naive sources of endless revenue. Some properties are displayed in Czech with one price and in English with a far higher price, so do research on the average price for that area and type of property. Carefully review all documents, and bring a local friend or trustworthy real estate agent to meetings. Renting or buying as a foreigner isn’t impossible. With some preparation and legal know-how, you’ll find somewhere to live in no time.

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