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, such as Expat Flat and Troika Relocations. 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 unfamiliar 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 and the decline in expats moving to Moscow.
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 5,000 USD, depending on the location.
Even though the rental prices are lower than in many other wealthy capital cities, we advise asking your employer about including housing expenses in your contract. Many standard teaching contracts with private language schools also include accommodation, although the quality of this accommodation is variable.
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 according to a fixed rate stated in the contract or according to the current rate of the Central Bank. Otherwise, the agreement is likely to be in Russian only, and you will be paying your monthly rent in Russian rubles. If this is the case and you don’t speak Russian, you may need to cover the translation costs yourself.
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 need to be registered with the relevant authorities as soon as possible. Either your employer that is sponsoring your stay in Russia or your landlord has to register you within seven working days after your arrival in Russia. Depending on who is registering you, the following documents are required:
- filled-in Arrival Notification form
- original letter of invitation from your sponsoring organization
- copies of your passport, visa, and the migration card you receive when entering Russia
- passport or notarized letter from your landlord
If you are staying at a hotel, they will take care of this. In any case, make sure that you are registered in time — violations can lead to heavy fines and, in some cases, even to deportation from Russia. Any change of address at a later point will also have to be registered with the authorities.
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