Moving to Moscow?
Finding Accommodation in Moscow
For those who can afford the fees, the easiest and most convenient way of finding accommodation in Moscow is using a real estate agency. There are a number of agencies in Moscow which cater specifically to the expat community. Their staff members usually speak excellent English, and they assist newly arrived expats with the registration process and other bureaucratic hurdles.
If you are not using one of the larger real estate agencies, get someone local to help you find a place in Moscow. Especially if you are not fluent in Russian and familiar with the Moscow rent market, the danger of being ripped off by potential landlords and self-proclaimed real-estate agents is relatively high.
Fluctuating Rent Prices
Moscow’s real estate market is highly competitive. Even during Soviet times, the city was a major migration destination for people from all over Russia and neighboring countries. Nowadays, rent prices are lower than ever because of the many apartments that are being built.
Today, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center costs you around 1,000 USD per month. For a decent three-bedroom apartment, you can expect to pay anywhere from 1,500 USD to 3,000 USD, depending on the location.
Even though the rental prices have fallen so much, it is strongly advisable to negotiate housing into your remuneration package. Many standard teaching contracts with private language schools also include accommodation.
Rental Agreements: Choose Wisely
If you are using an international real estate agency, the rental agreement will be written in both English and Russian. Rent is usually denominated in US dollars. Otherwise, the agreement is likely to be in Russian only, and you will be paying your monthly rent in Russian rubles.
Your rent should include facilities such as heating and water as well as all fees for facility management. Charges for electricity usually have to be paid separately. As prices for utilities are still fairly moderate, these charges shouldn’t add too much to your monthly budget.
Alien Registration: Be Quick
Once you have arrived at your new home, you immediately need to register with the relevant authorities. To register, you need the original letter of invitation from your sponsoring organization, your passport, the migration card you receive when entering Russia, as well as a notarized letter from your landlord. Registration has to be done within three working days after your arrival in Russia.
In many cases, however, either your employer or your real estate agency will handle this process for you. Make sure that you are registered in time, though — violations can lead to heavy fines and, in some cases, even to deportation from Russia.
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