Things you need to know about renting a place in Turkey

As if moving to another country and possibly getting settled in a completely different culture wasn’t hard enough, you’ll also have to grapple with finding yourself a new home.

Even in one’s own country, finding the perfect apartment for you (only) or your family is tough; whether it’s the pricing, the area, the size or number of rooms, the neighbors’, etc., there are just so many factors to take into account. Add to that the barrier of language, a foreign real estate market, and bureaucracy, and soon you may feel a panic attack boiling up inside.

However, when it comes to finding a place to rent in Turkey, fear need not be an emotion you feel. As long as you know these few points and have a friend or guide to help you along the way, it’s not as complicated as you may think.

Here’s what you need to know:

While wandering around in your neighborhood or city of choice, you are likely to come across adverts and signs for both houses for rent and sale. Your local “emlakçı” (real estate agent/office) will have a various of ads listed for the property they have available. Make sure to browse around.

If you already have an idea about which neighborhood or district you’ll want to live in, you could also pay a visit to your local shops/market/convenience stores called “bakkal” or the office of the village headman to ask them for recommendations. They may also introduce you to their friends or family and show you apartments that can only be discovered by word of mouth.

However, if you’d like to begin your search for accommodation before you arrive in the country, the internet will be your best friend.

The most used and trusted websites to find a place to rent in Turkey are sahibinden.com or hurriyetemlak.com. You’ll be able to see ads for rental places and sale from either their owners or via real estate agents.

If you do not know much about where to choose, you might want to go old school and check the yellow pages of newspapers or check food delivery apps such as yemeksepeti.com or getir.com to see if they deliver there and for minimum how much.

What about pricing?

If you are earning in a foreign currency, and especially in U.S. dollars, British pounds, or Euros, you’ll be thankful for the recent depreciation of the Turkish Lira (TL). And if you are not, whether you consider rents affordable will largely depend on the area and region you live in. For example, eastern Turkey and the midlands will be cheaper than the south or west.

In 2019, the average rent across the country was around the TL 1,300 mark, although you should expect this amount to be much lower in villages away from metropolises and in rural areas. Likewise, especially in Istanbul, expect that mark to be your minimum to err on the safe side. Consider allocating anywhere between 15% to 50% of your monthly income for housing.

Things to know before you rent

  • Before you rent, make sure that the apartment/flat/house you are renting has a landline and cellular phone, and internet reception as their absence can mean you will be left months without these services.
  • You also need to inquire about mold and ask whether there is a water tank or generator for mainline cuts. Although the latter is not crucial, it could be of great importance to you if you are work remotely.
  • In Turkey, landlords or real estate agencies usually make 1-year contracts with their tenants. After your time is up and if the other party has not communicated any intent otherwise a month prior to the contract ends, contracts are automatically extended for another year.
  • Every year, expect your rental fee to go up about 10-12%, determined by the Consumer Price Index in Turkey.
  • If you don’t want to rent a place for a whole year, you may also have the option to rent seasonally, especially if you have chosen touristic regions like Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye, and Kuşadası. You’ll have the option of renting anywhere from a month to 5 or 6 months, fully furnished or not.
  • Read your contract carefully and make sure everything is laid out on paper. For example, if the house is full of the old tenant’s stuff, which you do not want, or you have noticed that the walls are looking run down and could benefit from paint, negotiate such maintenance and repair issues with the landlord. They could agree to get it sorted for you or get the cost dropped from your rent. No matter the problem is, make sure you communicate with the landlord or real estate agent early on to prevent it from becoming a huge problem later.
  • It is best to make all payments by electronic transfer, especially those above TL 500, to provide legal proof."
  • If you want to terminate your rental contract early, do so by providing at least two months' written and notarized notice sent by the PTT postal service. If you fail to do so, the owner may make you pay for the remaining months of the contract.

Unexpected fees

As a tenant in Turkey, you’ll be expected to give the first month's rent upfront as well as a deposit of the same amount, which will go towards any damages that might happen during your stay. The deposit amount and through which payment channel it will be made must be listed in your rental contract. If you haven’t trashed the place and you made sure to note anything that looked suspicious in your rental contract before signing it, you’re more than likely to get the deposit paid back in full when you move out.

You will also have to pay the real estate agent if you have not directly rented from the owner, which is about 10% of the annual rent, including value-added tax (VAT). All in all, you’ll need roughly 3-months’ worth of rent if you want to sign a rental contract in Turkey.

Some residences, such as apartment complexes or villas, come with an “aidat,” aka a monthly maintenance fee that goes toward elevator repairs, pool cleaning, gardening fees, etc. Make sure to discuss this prior to signing your contract.