Finding your new home

Basic Choices 

Finding a suitable home no matter if you are single or have a family will be among the top items on a ”relocation to-do list”. Although the prices of real estates have been rising over the past several years in the Czech Republic (and rocketing especially in Prague), Ostrava has done and keeps doing a lot by offering a wide range of new and attractive housing projects. This makes the offer on the home rentals market far less financially demanding than in other big cities.

Rent or Buy?

One of the basic choices is: rent or buy (see terminology)? You can either rent or purchase a property, or combine both: first, it is advisable to rent and then, if you wish to, you can take your time and choose to buy one later when you see the real estate with your own eyes after coming to Ostrava.

Size and Price

For renting a basic one-bedroom apartment in Ostrava the price starts at about only 7,000 CZK. On the other hand, the rent of a three-bedroom apartment of about 150m2 in a quiet residential quarter, private underground parking and terrace, which is close to the International school and with a large park right under the windows and lots luxuries is about 30,000 CZK.

To avoid confusion the Czechs in the advertisements do not count the number of bedrooms, but the number of all rooms including the living room, e.g. “3-room apartment” will have two bedrooms, a living room and most probably a separate kitchen (this is expressed as +1) or a kitchen corner (usually expressed as +KK). 

Preferred Type of Housing

You can go for living in low-cost panel housing estates in quarters such as Hrabůvka or Zábřeh, or in the very popular neighbourhood of Poruba (which is known for its large green areas and picturesque architecture) in lower block of flats, or in the city centre: either in luxurious renovated spacy apartments from 1890s – to 1930s with a special spirit of cultural heritage (make sure car parking is available if you need one), or in modern brand new housing projects with underground car parks. Or there may be individual rooms in detached houses or whole detached houses with gardens in the suburbs available for rent or purchase. So the choice is wide and up to you.

You can contact us to check your choice of neighbourhood to help you match your needs with the actual home offers. Wherever you live in Ostrava public transport is available. Most areas provide free parking. In the centre, however, a resident card is an advantage. There is a dense network of public transport and it enables easy travel all around the city, as well as to adjacent villages and towns.

Utilities and energies

Before signing the lease agreement, please be careful about the payment of utilities/ energy for the apartment. Sometimes these payments are expressed as “Rent + Energy and Other Fees” means you have to pay them separately, other times you pay everything together in one payment to the landlord.

When buying a property you need to register as a customer of utility companies. In some cases, individual registration is not possible because contracts with distribution companies are concluded by an association of homeowners/ housing cooperative (společenství vlastníků/ bytové družstvo), please ask your concierge about it.

So what are utilities/ energies payments?

  • Electricity (providers: Innogy, ČEZ),
  • Gas (providers: Innogy, ČEZ),
  • Water and sewer rates (providers: OVAK for Ostrava, SMVAK for areas outside of Ostrava),
  • Heating, repair fund, elevator, electricity and cleaning of common areas,
  • Fees for public radio and television (compulsory) – 180 Kč/month,
  • Waste collection fee (more here),
  • Optional: internet/cable TV (providers: Vodafone, PODA) and insurance of the property.

Prices of electricity and gas for households are set by the government of the Czech Republic. You can choose from several price bands, which vary depending on the volume of electricity consumed; some are intended only for households where all the equipment and appliances run on electricity. The staff at the electricity company will advise you.

You will make monthly payments (advance payments) for electricity, gas, heating and water, based on your expected consumption. Your meter will be read at least once a year to determine your actual consumption, and the company will then send you a bill detailing your consumption, along with (if necessary) a payment slip for you to pay the outstanding balance and the new amount for the monthly payments.

Searching for accommodation rental or purchase

Most expats coming to Ostrava opt first for renting a flat or a house. Here are some tips from us. If you are not using one agency or the HR of your receiving organisation to take global care of all your relocation steps, we suggest that you research the home market before you come for yourself. For this, the use of the largest search engine is recommendable. The search engine shows ads from various real estate agencies.

Photos can always be nicer than reality, so it is a good idea to rent temporary accommodation for the first 2 – 4 weeks in Ostrava (such as a hotel or an Airbnb), and sign the contract only after you get a first-hand feel of the place to rent or buy.

Searching on Your Own

It is important that you take care to obtain a valid proof of ownership from the selling or renting person – you will needed it for official purposes such as a visa. Good agencies will make sure that the person leasing the flat is legally entitled to do so, and that the lease contract contains all the standard and necessary provisions. The main version of your contract is always the Czech one and it is governed by Czech law (it is more protective of the tenants than the landlords).

Only reputable agencies that offer their service in English and can communicate directly with the landlords are recommended. Individuals can offer real-estate using the search engine, but care must be then taken to involve a private lawyer to make or at least check your contract. The renting/selling person might not know any English, either. To make sure your lease contract is OK you can contact the free of charge services of CPIC lawyer (on Mondays, must be pre-booked, or e-mail contact made), or you can send the lease contract proposal asking for the paid services of some of our partners.

Real Estate Agencies

Using a reputable agency will make your life much easier. Please note that the prices presented by Real-Estate Agencies are sometimes less easy to be directly compared: it depends if they are stated “with energies” + internet fee, or the internet is included, or all those fees are charged separately. The extra “energy fees” can range from 1,500 CZK for small apartments to 10,000 CZK for large apartments, so it pays to make a full comparison. More often than not the landlords want a deposit of up to 20,000 crowns to cover the costs if there are some open items/damage at the end of the rental period. Real-estate agencies will charge you usually one month’s fee for finding and contracting the rental flat for you.  Sometimes this fee is charged to the landlord, so please keep asking questions.

NB: Please also double-check the meaning of the word “floor”. Sometimes the “first floor” can refer to the floor just above the ground, and sometimes it is the floor above the ground floor, i.e. the second floor above the ground. In lifts the ground floor is marked by P, E (from French and German respectively), or G or 1 or 0. Usually, it is highlighted in green or with an alternative graphic.

Only for residence purposes

With your application for the residence permit you will be required to submit proof of accommodation. It is clear that you wouldn’t want to sign a contract for an apartment if you aren’t in the country to check it for yourself yet. The solution is to get a document called Proof of Accommodation (=Potvrzení o ubytování). Agencies mentioned below are able to get you this document for the residence permit for a fee. 

Find out about relocation services - get a free quote

Once all of your paperwork is done there will be time to move all your things to your new home. You can make use of a professional agency. At a minimum it is useful to get a free quote to find out about the costs.

Some practical tips for paperwork before you leave

If you are NOT the holder of the European Driving Licence (see also our section on this topic) and you want to drive in the Czech Republic, also bring along an additional International Driving License document issued by the country that issued your national driving licence. Double-check how long your DL is still valid and have it prolonged before coming to the Czech Republic.

Bring along originals of documents you might need later, such as your Birth Certificate, University Diploma etc. For the documents it is wise to get an “Apostille”, i.e. a legal certificate that the official document is official and valid. It is an international certification comparable to notarisation within domestic law. 


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