In the build-up to the new term, we’re aiming to provide international students in Budapest with all the information they need to make the best of their time in the city. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be offering tips on finance, food and fun, transport, trips and nightlife. First up: accommodation. How do you find a room? Where should it be and how much should it cost? The Budapest Student Guide is here to help!
If you’re relocating to Budapest to study, finding a room can be pretty time-consuming. Lodging will be one of your biggest costs and the main priority – everybody needs somewhere to live.
When to look
First, decide the best month to start renting. Start as soon as
possible. Usually, most of the shared flats are vacated at the end of each
semester, in early July and early January. This is when to find the best prices,
along with the best rooms or flats.
Where to look
The location of your university or institution will obviously affect where you
look but Budapest is a surprisingly compact city with superb transport links. Few
urban journeys take more than 20-30 minutes. The entire length of red metro
line 2 is 18 minutes, so even if you’re staying in District X and studying in
Buda, you can whizz across town in no time.
We’ll be dealing with transport and getting around in another section of the Budapest Student Guide.
All the same, the neighbourhoods closest to the city centre – Districts
V, VI, VII and VIII – are the most convenient for many colleges.
Depending on your budget and preferences, there are four types of accommodation to choose from.
The cheapest are student dorms, known in Hungarian as kollégium. (We’ll be helping out with language, too, later in the series!) As anywhere, these usually mean a small room, sometimes shared with another student, with communal kitchens and bathrooms. Prices range from €150-€250/month.
Many universities only have limited capacity, and these are not available for Erasmus students, only for international ones studying in Hungary full-time, for example with the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship programme. Ask your particular university for details.
Shared apartments are the rung up the lodging ladder, offering your own bedroom in a flat shared with a handful of other people. This is the perfect choice for those who want to live with other international students while having their private space. Typically, you should be paying around €250-€400/month.
Finally, there are private apartments. Privacy costs, of course, somewhere
around €350-€700/month, depending on various factors such as location, whether
the building has a lift, condition and layout of the flat, and so on. Wherever
you happen to be in Budapest, you’ll be close to a bus or tram stop, even ideally a
How to look
Of the many ways to look for a flat in Budapest, perhaps the easiest is
through Facebook. (Hungary still communicates primarily through Facebook.) Pages and groups dedicated to helping Erasmus and international students find a place should
produce reasonably swift results.
Within these groups, you can make a post where you specify your needs and have people contact you with offers. Another example is Erasmus Life Budapest – Housing, with details of available flats. For a customised offer tailored to your needs, fill out the Flat & Flatmate Finder form and someone will contact you once they find a match for your needs.
After finding a place, you’ll need to make a contract with the landlord or
agency on the agreed terms. The contract should detail price, exact dates of
moving in and moving out, compensation in case of damage to property etc. Be aware that
the landlord will ask you for a deposit and rent for the first month. Make sure
that the contract states when and how you are going to get your deposit back.
Tips & scams
Being a foreigner and not knowing how real estate works in Budapest might leave you vulnerable to scammers. The most common is when people ask you for a rent deposit while using fake housing posts to draw your interest and eventually steal your money.
To protect yourself, here are a few tips:
Avoid using cash if possible – bank transfers are more secure.
Check the profile of the person posting the flat advertisement, perhaps through Facebook. If it’s an agency, do a quick background check. If you can, see the flat before you rent it – or at least, arrange a video call.
Don’t transfer deposits or rental fees without a written and signed lease agreement.
Don't be afraid to ask questions – Erasmus Life Budapest are happy to help co-ordinate if need be.
Your lease agreement should identify the owner’s name or operating company.
Sub-leasing is probably not a good option – check whether the original tenant has the rights to do so.
Try to check the current market rates for the area and make sure the asking price matches up to what’s being offered.
After you have these all figured out, and you have your dream nest in your new city, you can really start to enjoy your time in one of Europe’s liveliest and loveliest capitals.
Stay tuned for the next article in our Budapest Student Guide series, with more useful tips and info to follow!
Tips & information
Erasmus Life Budapest is an organisation dedicated to helping students in their search for lodging, plus a myriad other services, including the useful ELB card. This form should help you help them find you rooms and roommates. Alternatively, send a PM on Facebook to Erasmus Life Budapest – Housing or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.