After deciding to move, the main question is: Where to live? In German cities, housing costs are about to explode. Ljubljana seems to be going in the same direction. What surprised me most was the fact that rent actually seems to be an unusual expense for most Slovenes.

THE HOUSING MARKET IN SLOVENIA

The reason why most Slovenes don’t think about rent is simple: Nearly every family owns a property. Furthermore, roughly 80% of young Slovenian adults (aged 15-29) live with their parents, according to Total Slovenia News. Compared to other countries, this is a high number: In Great Britain for example, it is approximately 26%, says The Guardian. However the referred age is 20-34. In Germany around 62% of the young adults between 18 and 24 live with their parents (source: Spiegel Online). Even though this comparison lacks exact comparability, my point is: Finding an affordable place to live in the city is not as easy as you might think – or as it was only a year ago. In 2019 rent for an apartment in Ljubljana is between 900 and 1.200 Euros, depending on size and location. Finding a studio for rent is especially difficult.

FINDING THE BEST NEIGHBOURHOOD

Which areas are popular? Both Slovenia and Ljubljana are very safe. Therefore you won’t find an absolute no-go area. There are 17 districts of which the most popular ones are Center, Bežigrad and Šiška. Living outside the city can also provide some advantages: Rent is lower, commute will be supported by the state and you have beautiful nature right on your doorstep.

This being said, your decision will be determined by where you need to go. If you are living and working on two opposite sides of the city you will soon find out about the unpopular public transportation system. Bus connections are quite inconvenient once you decide to go further than in or out of the city. Buses are complimented by bikes (“bicike(LJ)”) and electric cars, though – which provide more flexibility for longer and individual distances.

CLOSING THE DEAL

It is possible to get an apartment on the free market – or go with a real estate agency, which is recommendable especially for foreigners and usually equally paid by both parties. A good agency sets up appointments in advance which allows you to take a look at several places as soon as you get here. The agency will translate the negotiations with the landlord and draft the rental contract so it contains an English translation. Keep in mind that once you register for your residence permit, you will have to present a properly signed contract. Rental contracts are usually concluded for one year. The statutory period of notice is three months.

WHAT ARE YOUR EXPERIENCES?

Feel free to comment below and tell other expatriats about your experiences when searching for apartments.

© Nadine Balazs

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