Accommodation in Kazakhstan
Expats in need of accommodation in Kazakhstan will find that their budget will largely determine the quality of housing available to them. While the constantly expanding cities of Almaty and Astana always seem to have new apartment blocks springing up, some expats will find they can only afford to live in older Soviet-style apartments.
Although accommodation allowances are no longer a given when it comes to expat relocation packages, it's worthwhile trying to negotiate the inclusion of such an allowance. Accommodation in Kazakhstan can be expensive, especially if expats are looking to maintain a high standard of living.
Types of accommodation in Kazakhstan
Most of the accommodation found in Kazakhstan is in the form of apartments. These are usually one of two types: newly built apartments with modern finishings and amenities, and old Soviet apartments, most of which lack elevators despite being several storeys high.
If expats prefer to live in a freestanding house or cottage, they may be able to find something suitable in the suburbs, though this comes at the cost of a long commute into the city centre for work.
Finding accommodation in Kazakhstan
By far the easiest way to find somewhere to live in Kazakhstan is by hiring an estate agent to do the necessary legwork. Hiring a reputable agent is also the surest way to avoid getting scammed by fraudulent apartment listings online. Agents can be pricey, though, with most charging around 10 to 20 percent of the rental price for their services.
For those planning to go it alone, online property websites and local newspapers should yield plenty of options, but it pays to be cautious about any deal that seems too good to be true. It is also imperative that expats go and see potential accommodation in person before handing over any money. Many expats arrange short-term accommodation in advance to have a place to stay while they search for something more long term.
Renting accommodation in Kazakhstan
To overcome any language barriers with a potential landlord, it is best to hire a translator or bring along a trusted friend when looking for apartments and signing leases. In most cases, only a passport and possibly a deposit will be needed to rent an apartment – and some landlords don't even charge a deposit.
Utilities are generally not included in the rental price, but expats will find that despite freezing cold conditions in winter, water and central heating are very reasonably priced in Kazakhstan. This is because they are run on a central network.