Street-wise approach to renting an apartment in Moscow

RT gives instructions on how to find a decent pad to live in the Russian capital without being ripped off.

­If your employer has left you with the headache of finding a flat, do not get upset. Moscow has homes for every taste and budget.

­Apartment sharing

This practice is highly popular among Moscow’s young professionals.

Prices largely depend on location. Only 15 minutes from the center by bus or subway, you can find a clean and spacious room for 15,000 rubles ($500).

If you want to have Moscow’s history and nightlife at your doorstep, you will have to open your pockets a bit wider. Expat Adam Matuszewski pays 23,000 rubles ($800) for a room near the Novoslobodskaya Metro station – right on the Garden Ring.

“Most such flats were developed for families, so they’re bigger than usual. Bigger flats necessitate more people, or else you end up paying a lot,” Matuszewski told RT. “But if you have enough people, it’s a good deal cheaper. You split the cost with them and you can get a better place.”

If this sounds tempting, head to or to find a room to call home – and maybe some new friends, too.

­One-bedroom apartments

For an additional $200-300, you could have a kitchen and bathroom entirely to yourself. Prices for decent one-bedroom apartments in Moscow start at 28,000 rubles ($1,000). It is much harder to define what you will get for your money, though.

“In New York, in a given building for a given level of renovation, the apartments will have similar prices, and if there is a price difference, that means there is something special about the flat or something is wrong with it,” real estate expert Campbell Bethwaite told RT. “In Moscow, you can have two identical apartments side by side, but you can find that the price varies by maybe a $1,000 a month for no reason other than the whims of the landlord.”

Agents say it is worth looking somewhere in between the glitz of central Moscow and modest residential districts. There are many areas where you can sacrifice a little glamour to find an affordable apartment without losing out on all the fun.

A spacious two-bedroom apartment located on Kutuzovsky Prospect, just a few steps away from the subway, could cost you around $1800 including utilities. Although outside the city center, this is one of Moscow’s most prestigious areas.

If you are in luck, you can find an apartment in the heart of Moscow for the same rate, but probably a smaller one.

­Real estate agents

To spare yourself the trouble of looking for an apartment and dealing with the legal side of things, ask professionals. is Moscow’s largest real estate database. If you speak some Russian, you can save a lot by contacting landlords directly, but it could also lead to an expensive mistake.

“You might find yourself paying more, you might find yourself in a difficult lease situation or in extreme cases, they might defraud you out of your own deposit or offer you an apartment that doesn’t exist for renting,” warned Bethwaite.

­Luxury housing

Real estate agencies like Blackwood and Penny Lane work primarily with expats, so chances are they will know exactly what you want.

It is a good idea to go to the agency’s website first. You might find your perfect apartment online, and be able to knock off up to 50% of the commission.

“If a person finds an apartment they’re really interested in on our website and we don’t need to show them dozens of other apartments, it decreases agents’ costs,” Vikotoria Opolskaya, from Blackwood Real Estate, told RT. “That’s why we are willing to give large discounts.”

Luxury housing is such agencies bread and butter. A two-bedroom newly-renovated apartment in the center will cost around $5,500, and some $3,000 outside the Garden Ring.

Serviced apartments are an option for those with money and little time for cleaning. Moscow Suites, for example, offers modern studios in the center of Moscow and hotel-like service – all for $5,500.

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