Renting in Bulgaria
By Maria Thermann

Renting in Bulgaria

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If you're planning to rent an apartment or house in Bulgaria, before making a decision to buy or because you are only in the country for a limited period of time for work or business, you'll need to to find a trustworthy, reliable estate or lettings agency to help you find the best possible, affordable property in Bulgaria.

Unless your employer finds a home for you and arranges the lease, you could try university websites that recommend English-speaking estate or lettings agents, or other official websites that are aimed at foreigners coming to Bulgaria to live, either permanently or temporary. If you already know somebody in the country, then personal recommendation will obviously smooth the way. Be sure to view the property personally, even if that means a short trip to Bulgaria at a time when you're busy packing up your old home into storage or removal boxes. If you are not happy with what you see upon your arrival, don't be pressured into signing a contract, which in Bulgaria are typically for one year.

Before signing, be sure that your new Bulgarian home is in the right location. How far are the shops, your children's school and leisure amenities from your Sofia apartment?

What charges to expect

In addition to the estate or lettings agents' fees, which are charged to both tenant and landlord, there are likely to be monthly fees for cleaning and maintaining common areas in an apartment complex. If there are parking spaces, you may also be charged for yours.

Property buyers can expect moderately good rental yields, at least in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, where yields were around 6% in 2017 in the city and suburbs. Transaction costs when buying a Bulgarian apartment or house are also moderate. Expect to pay around 2.5 to 3% estate agents' fees, when buying or selling a Bulgarian residential property. The fee for registering your property with the relevant Real Estate Registry is 0.10% of the purchase price for the buyer. There is also a transfer tax of up to 3% to pay, which in Sofia tends to be around 2.5%. There is also a notary fee of between 0.10% to 1.5% of the property value to pay. However, notary fees are capped at around 3,000 euros, when you buy a property of 250,000 euros or more.

It should be remembered that Bulgaria has no centralized property registry, so if you want a property search done, you will need to hire a competent, trustworthy Bulgarian lawyer, preferably a firm also dealing in taxation advice, especially if you are planning to let out your Bulgarian house or apartment.

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