Once again it’s apartment hunting season, the time of the year when people start looking for that perfect flat to rent in Cluj. “Isn’t it a bit too early?” you might ask. “The semester only starts in September!” Very true, but people start searching for a place to rent a bit earlier than that, because during the summer there are more options (there are lots of free apartments, and you get to pick!) Sometimes you might even find a cheaper rent than after the semester starts.
So, if you’re looking for an apartment and you don’t speak Romanian, you probably need some tips and tricks to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Well, you’ve come to the right place, ‘cause that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in the next few paragraphs.
1) Your first impulse will probably be to go to a real estate agency, where they may already have a database of apartments for rent in Cluj. Please be aware that these agencies usually charge a commission, (equal to half of one month’s rent) and they usually get their information by searching through the local classified newspapers or websites. You could also go with your second impulse instead, and search through the local newspapers and websites yourself.
2) A Romanian speaker would come in super handy for this type of research, so my advice would be to find someone who speaks the language. That will help you a lot. (I know, shocking, right?). In default of a local friend you could always use Google Translate or find a nice receptionist in your Hostel to help you. A lot of people in Cluj speak English pretty well, so there’s a high probability that you’ll find a landlord that you can easily communicate with.
3) The best newspaper for finding a flat is “Piata de la A la Z”, which you can pick up at any news stand. (The ads about rent are under section 4 of the newspaper) In order to get the best deals of the week it is important to know that the new edition comes out every Tuesday morning.
4) You can also try their website, http://www.piata-az.ro/ . The newspaper and the website each have different ads, so you won’t necessarily find the same ads in the newspaper and online. Oh, and on the site, the first ads you’ll find will be ads paid by agencies… Just scroll down past the ads with red borders and pictures. The ones below are posted by the actual owners of the apartments. You can also sort the results based on area, price, number of rooms, etc.
5) Another thing you need to know is that usually the central area of Cluj-Napoca may be a bit more expensive. On the other hand, if you find a flat in the center you probably won’t have to pay taxis when you’re going out until late at night, and you’ll be close to your home when you have a break from classes during the day. This means you could spend considerably less time and money on public transportation, and in most cases, you’ll be pretty close to your university (with very few exceptions). I would say it’s also the safest area of Cluj, if you’re concerned about that… So I would say it’s kind of worth it.
6) On the other hand, you can find cheaper apartments in the other neighborhoods in Cluj if you want to live close to a Mall or if your university isn’t quite in a central area. Just make sure you’re near a bus station if you don’t have your own car. Driving and parking can be a challenge in the city center during the day. Going to class by bus or tram might be faster and cheaper than by car.
7) I guess you also need to know a few particular things about renting a place: first of all, if they don’t specifically say “nemobilat” (without furniture) in the ad, you can expect the place to have at least the bare necessities (the simple bear necessities:)). Also, when talking to the owner you can try asking if the price is negotiable (“negociabil”), because you might get lucky and manage to haggle a bit.
8) And to be really helpful, I thought you might need a mini-dictionary to find a flat in Cluj. So here you are… use these words wisely
|Agentia||The ad is listed by an agency instead of the owner|
|Baie (or Bai if there’s more than one)||Bathroom(s)|
|Camera (Camere for more than one)||Room(s)|
|Centrala termica (in short “CT”)||Central heating|
|Metri patrati (in short “mp”)||Square meters|
|Masina de spalat||Washing machine|
|Persoana Fizica (in short “PF”)||Rented by the owner, not an agency|
9) And to make things even easier for you, you can find attached a picture with all the neighborhoods in Cluj and their specific location. Have fun with your new place and don’t forget to visit!
P.S. Needless to say, because I’ve been so helpful, if you throw a house warming party, I need to be invited!:)