Types of Property for Rent

<em>Information about the main types of property available for rent in Russia...</em>

Rooms (komnata / ???????)

This is a room in a flat, usually with communal use of a kitchen, bathroom and toilet. The room is normally furnished with a bed or sofa, a wardrobe, table and chairs, and usually includes carpets. It is possible that a room in a flat may be sublet from a friend, or an apartment can be found together and shared.

Apartments or Flats (kvartira / ????????)

Located in a multi-storey building, flats have between one and three bedrooms in addition to a separate kitchen, bathroom, toilet and living area. Bathrooms and toilets are often separated, but can also be in the same room.

The condition of flats depends entirely on the building and the previous owners, and there is generally no correlation between the age of the flat and its size. So-called ‘small-sized flats’ built in the 1970s, for instance, are one-bedroom flats with a mere 28 square metres of living space in which a Russian family of five people from three generations may live.

Contemporary flats attempt to include bigger living areas and modern designers offer compact furniture suites, where beds may be hidden inside wardrobes. Many flats in Russia, both apartments and studios, have a private balcony.

Apartments can be found in different types of buildings, including most commonly:

  • old historic buildings of up to eight floors in central districts
  • famous khruschevka five-floor buildings from the 1950s
  • concrete multi-storey blocks that have been rising in Moscow since the 1970s

Penthouses (pentkhaus / ????????)

A new type of property, designed and built for affluent residents, penthouses are always expensive, located in the city centre and often have open-plan designs with captivating city views.

Studio Apartments (studiya / ??????)

In Russia, a studio apartment is often called a ‘one-room flat’ (odnokomnatnaya kvartira / ????????????? ????????), indicating a combined living area and bedroom, plus a kitchen, bathroom and toilet.

Townhouses (taunkhausy / ?????????) and Cottages (kottedzhi / ????????)

These are available in the outskirts of cities and in the suburbs. Rental prices are not necessarily lower than in the city as these properties tend to be large enough for a family, recently built, and of a decent standard.

Commuting into the city can take a lot of time and add to the travel expenses, but this is offset for some people (such as families with children) by the peace and quiet, often attractive surroundings and their convenience. Most facilities needed, including shops and schools, can be found either very close by, or on-site in the case of houses on compounds (below).

Compounds (zhiloy kompleks / ????? ???????? or ??)

Considered elite housing in Russia, particularly in Moscow, compounds (or residential complexes) are one of the reasons Moscow is always near the top of the list of the world’s most expensive cities to live in for expatriates.

Properties can be either house-style or apartments and are usually built to accommodate affluent families with children or active people who do not want to live in the city centre. They are often favoured by British expatriates from countryside areas in the UK who want to remain close to nature in Moscow. Compounds are built in many districts, but some of the best-known in Moscow are listed below (all websites are in Russian).

Dacha (????)

One of the favourite Russian property types, a dacha is a country house that families tend to visit at weekends and in the holidays, especially summer vacations. Nowadays a lot of affluent Russians tend to buy abroad, preferring the climate of Tuscany, for instance, to that of Russia. Most Russians, however, regularly visit their dacha, which may be a lengthy journey either by car or train.

A dacha is usually a house where the family eats, sleeps and shelters from bad weather, plus a garden area of varying size. Toilet and bathroom facilities may be either indoors or outdoors. Depending on the area, the cost to buy a dacha in 2010 started at R.250,000 for the Pskov Region (10 hours by train northwest of Moscow). The cost of renting a dacha in a prestigious area near Moscow may be as much as R.90,000 per month. However, it is also possible to find cheaper options (down to R.15,000 per month), but toilets are likely to be outdoors and they will be further from the city.

Furnished, Unfurnished and Serviced Apartments

Furnished rentals are available short-term for tourists and business travellers needing to stay for at least a week. These properties are often typical flats with beds, chairs and tables, wardrobe, refrigerator, washing machine, a TV and a fully equipped kitchen.

Unfurnished rentals will include a cooking stove of some kind (with or without an oven) and often a refrigerator or a washing machine. The latter two are optional, as is a dishwasher. Russian people tend to wash the dishes by hand.

Recently, serviced apartments are also offered for rent. This can be a cost-effective solution for short-term staff who are engaged on a project in Russia, but have their permanent office abroad. In this case, rather than putting them up in a hotel, a company can instead help them find a suitable serviced flat close to work, to save on commuting time and costs.