Foreigners in Poland – how to find a flat to rent

Foreigners in Poland – how to find a flat to rent

For several years now, more and more foreigners have decided to live in Poland. By April 2021, the number of people with residence permits increased by around 5 percent to 478.5 thousand. The main motivation for newcomers are invariably job opportunities, but one of the conditions for staying longer is finding suitable accommodation.

Even before the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, average wages in EU countries grew more slowly than housing prices. Between 2014 and 2019, wages increased by around 2% per year, while the average increase in housing prices approached 4%[1]. This disproportion is one of the factors behind the developing trend across Europe of postponing the decision to buy one’s own property and going for renting instead (primarily by younger generations, aged up to 34). Foreigners are in a special situation. Given that most of them have temporary residence permits (up to a maximum of 3 years), renting in their case not only symbolises a chosen lifestyle, but is often the only alternative[2].

Interest in our country is not waning. In terms of the number of residents with residence permits, Ukrainian citizens are by far the leaders with as many as 261 thousand people (increase by 16.8 thousand people compared to 2020). They are followed by Belarusians (up by 1.8 thousand), Germans, Russians, Vietnamese, Indians, Italians, Georgians (up by 0.5 thousand), Chinese and British. The Office for Foreigners has reported that in 2018 alone the desire to work was indicated in nearly 73 per cent of applications for a permit to stay in Poland. This was followed by family reasons and reasons related to studying at Polish universities[3]. The above motivations translate into the choice of place of residence. Foreigners prefer large cities with developed infrastructure and workplaces, headquarters of international corporations and academic centres. Statistically, the most popular voivodeships are: Mazovian (124.1 thousand people), Małopolskie (57.7 thousand), Wielkopolskie (43.5 thousand) and Dolnośląskie (39 thousand)[4].

From a private person or from a company?

Foreigners today constitute one of the main groups of tenants in Poland, both in the private segment and in the institutional rental market (PRS). From their perspective, rental is less demanding in terms of formalities and costs. Polish law does not stipulate any requirements other than those applicable when concluding a rental contract with Polish citizens. However, owners of private flats are still suspicious of tenants from this group, perceiving foreigners as high-risk tenants, especially those from outside the European Union, as they fear difficulties with potential debt collection. Finally, as in the case of Polish tenants, they take the decision to sign a contract on an individual basis, after having familiarised themselves with the situation of the prospective tenant. They often require an occasional lease contract. Such a contract must contain a notarised indication of the address where the tenant will reside if unable to pay the rent (as well as the consent of the owner of the indicated real estate). For a foreigner arriving in Poland this condition is virtually impossible to fulfil. A necessary condition is also the presence of potential tenants in Poland already at the stage of searching for real estate. Some landlords still exclude the possibility of contact and presentation of their premise via the Internet.

The problem of interfering in the private life of tenants and imposing non-standard formal requirements does not exist in the case of companies professionally dealing with flat rentals. Clearly defined contract terms and conditions from the very beginning make it possible to avoid misunderstandings and create a transparent relationship, safe for both parties, also in the case of contracts concluded remotely.

Apartament in Resi4Rent

The safety of renting from companies also applies in cases where the client wants to choose a flat and sign a contract before arriving in Poland, if necessary. Citizens feel safe not only because of the absence of language barriers and professional communication, but above all the credibility of the landlord. They are not afraid to pay a deposit on a remote contract because they are confident that the company will honour all agreements. To rent a flat in one of our estates, foreign clients present a proof of identity and a proof of income to verify their ability to pay rent. We take into account an employment contract, a letter of intent or confirmation of receipts in a bank account for the last 6 months and other factors. If the tenants are students or young people starting work, we take into account a proof of receipts from parents. We do not introduce criteria other than economic ones. We do not ask questions about our clients’ personal circumstances or social status. This approach is well received by tenants, as well as by agencies relocating employees which turn to us in search of the possibility of fast accommodation of employed people – says Sławomir Imianowski, CEO of Resi4Rent, the largest professional entity on the institutional rental market in Poland and the creator of the category of flats in subscription.

Recommendations speed up renting

An important factor accelerating adaptation in a new country is the opportunity to be part of a community focused around shared experiences, goals and aspirations. This is easier to achieve in living investments, i.e. subscription flats or private dormitories, whose operators organise additional attractions and social events for tenants or develop communication with them on social media. The quality of the living service combined with promotional and marketing activities results in positive recommendations. When deciding to enter into a contract, many foreigners are guided by recommendations from friends. Once getting accustomed to the new place, it is also common practice to help family members or friends left behind in the home country to move to the estate.

Currently, 1/4 of the tenants of flats in the subscription offered by Resi4Rent are clients from abroad. The largest group comes from Ukraine; they are usually highly qualified professionals who speak Polish, people living in Poland with their families with a stable professional and economic situation. Among our clients, there are also some tenants from Belarus, Indiaand the Arab Emirates. Foreigners represent a wide group of tenants, with different needs and expectations regarding rental. They choose particular premises depending on their age, career stage and family situation. The ResiStudio type is chosen by students and young people starting their careers. ResiComfort flats (1 bedroom) are most often occupied by professionals, people in managerial positions, who tend to live alone. Foreign clients who move to Poland with their families to start a new stage of life here, prefer the ResiFamily option (2 bedrooms), adds Alicja Kościesza, Sales and Marketing Director of Resi4Rent.

Overcoming barriers

Tenants coming from abroad are often concerned about long-term commitments. The Resi4Rent data show that they are most often interested in a 12-month contract, but it is important for them to be able to shorten this period when necessary due to uncertainty about the continuity of employment in Poland and the epidemiological situation. Foreign tenants also seek to make communication as simple as possible and to shorten procedures. In the private market, the language barrier still makes it sometimes difficult to conclude a contract. An additional problem, also in terms of communication, can be the assumption by the tenant of obligations in institutions responsible for the supply of utilities, the connection of the Internet network or the retrofitting of a flat that does not meet the expected standard. Any prolongation of procedures works to the disadvantage of foreign tenants. Upon arrival in Poland, they are obliged to register at the address which will be their temporary place of residence. For this purpose, they must, within 30 days at the latest, and in the case of citizens from outside the European Union and the European Economic Area, within 4 days of moving into the premises, submit a document confirming the right to stay in the chosen flat to the office.

Our customer service office is one of the first stops for foreigners who come to work in Poland. Immediately after signing the rental contract, the client receives a statement with which he or she goes to the office in order to temporarily register and receive a personal identification number. This step is necessary for foreigners to legalise their stay, but also for practical functioning in a new country. They gain the right to public health care, admission to public kindergartens, they can settle taxes or buy a phone card. Moreover, the fact that our team members speak foreign languages and are available on the spot makes it easier not only to choose a place and sign a contract, but also to take care of the place where they are accommodated, -concludes Alicja Kościesza.

[1] Ibidem

[2] Ibidem

[3] Deloitte, The rental housing sector. How to understand it, 2021

[4] The scale of activity of foreigners in the market of flats for sale is much smaller. In 2019, foreigners received 140 permits for purchase of 171 flats and commercial premises. Nearly 83 percent of all premises applied for were purchased by citizens of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. [Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration, Report on the implementation of the Act of 24 March 1920 on the acquisition of real estate by foreigners in 2019, March 2020.]



Last Updated on October 20, 2021 by Anastazja Lach