Renting a flat in Prague used to be super easy until a few years ago. It became extremely complicated after that for many reasons. How is it now after COVID? Read on and find out what you should expect when looking for a flat rental in Prague now.
Flat rentals in Prague Until 2015 -ish
If you moved to Prague before 2015 or around that time, you could find it quite easy to find an apartment. There were too many apartments on the market and too little possible tenants. We, at Move To Prague, had a pleasure to work with the first group of new-coming Amazon employees when they were moving their office from Berlin to Prague and oh boy, did we have stories! This one will for sure give you a good example of what it was like to look for a flat to rent in Prague back then:
We were looking for a flat for two co-workers who wanted to live together, they had realistic expectations, the only problem there was that they only came for one day and had to get a flat rental in Prague during those 24 hours. We managed to get them !NINE! viewings for that one day! We were basically running from one place to another and spent about 8-9 hours together traveling around Prague and visiting flats.
When we were finished, they had their favorite one picked, told us about it and left. We negotiated everything with the landlord and all was ready when they came back couple weeks later.
The thing back then was that landlords were happy someone wanted to rent their apartment. You, as a person looking to rent a flat, could see a couple of flats, take a couple days to think about it and when you came back to the one you chose, it was still available and landlord was happy to hear from you.
Also, the prices were crazy low! We were able to find studios for 8 000 CZK for our clients , three bedroom apartments for 20 000 CZK in good locations and if you were looking for a really luxurious apartment, 50-60 k was more than enough.
That changed in 2015 – 2020 though.
Flat rentals in Prague from 2015 until COVID
We are not exactly sure what happened since there were probably more causes for that but since 2017 everything changed. The two main reasons in our opinion are as follows:
1. AirBnb – 2015-2017 was probably the highest boom in AirBnbs in Prague. Plenty of landlords saw that they could make 2-3 times more money offering short-term rentals than long-term rentals. That was for sure appealing and thousand of landlords has switched to the AirBnb. Also, many companies started buying flats just to run AirBnbs in them. In total, that meant that about 10 000 apartments went off the long-term rental market.
2. Czech construction laws – well, this has been a long lasting story which does not really seem to have a solution. The Czech law is set up the way that it often takes many years just to get all the permissions to build flats. So imagine you bought a piece of land in Prague and you want to start building apartments there. It is kind of a long time to wait five six seven years just to get all the permissions + then another two years to actually build. If there are many people moving to Prague, there should ideally be the same amount of new apartments built for those people. If the new flats can only follow couple years later, it obviously is not enough.
The two reasons above + many other factors (i.e. Prague becoming more and more popular among expats) in combination simply meant one thing. Tenant were no longer the one who decided where they wanted to live. From our experience, if you are a private landlord and you post your flat for rent online, you receive between 50-150 replies, regardless the price or location of the flat. And if you can choose from 100 potential tenants, you for sure choose the ones you like (i.e. Czech tenants instead of foreigners, someone without pets instead of people with pets, someone without kids instead of people with kids, etc.).
We have seen crazy stories like landlords flipping coins to decide whom they will accept into their flat or even organising “auctions” of sort – “I like you all so whoever pays highest monthly rent gets the flat”.
That also meant that the prices went up a lot. A lot means by 50% comparing the times before 2015. Studios started renting no longer for 8 000 CZK but for at least 12 000 CZK. Some of them were for rent even for 17-18 k a month and people were paying that since there were no other options. Flats were being sold for more than 100 000 CZK a sqm which was ridiculous for Prague. The situation remained the same until the beginning of 2020. And then COVID happened.
Flat rentals in Prague After COVID
We are writing this article in August 2020 so the COVID craziness is still on and a lot might have changed between when we finished the article and when you are reading it. What is happening now though is that thousands of landlords stopped offering their flats for short-term and got back to the long-term. That has brought thousands of flats to the long-term market and along with reduced demand (since borders are still closed for many nationalities so they can not move here now) that means rental prices are going a bit down. Especially in parts of Prague were AirBnb was big (i.e. Prague 1), the drop in prices is significant.
Let’s all try to use this situation for the best!
Move To Prague – your specialist in flat rentals in Prague! Contact us and let us find the perfect apartment for you 🙂