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Srbija 2020

Flat Hunting

These last couple of weeks I have had the unenviable task of trying to find myself a new flat. I made the decision to move after I came to the realization that more things are actually broken in my current flat than work. Doors don’t open or close, sinks leak, cookers under-cook and the washing machine long ago gave up the will to live, let alone wash and spin. Seeking advice from friendly Serbs, they suggested I purchase a copy of Oglasi and so after acquiring the aforementioned magazine I set about tracking down my new stan.

The first obstacle was deciphering all the abbreviations and cutting through all the creative writing ever present in Oglasi. What exactly did all those abbreviations mean and what were a French kitchen and Norwegian heating? I was half expecting someone to say they had a Chinese laundry or an English tea set, an interesting talking point if one were to be lucky enough to have one at home. Anyhow, after deciphering most, if not all, of the information in the adverts I had to set about contacting the various landlords. This was where my second set of problems began. My Serbian (still) ain’t that good. So I had to enroll my girlfriend, who had helped in translating the adverts, to ring up the various landlords and arrange a viewing.

The problem was that virtually all of the flats were agency flats and we were only able to find about four that weren’t. Its not that I mind agencies, I found my previous one in this way, it was just that I was hoping to avoid paying the commission that is a usual requirement at these places. And so I made the big mistake of not going through an agency and going to see those flats advertised by individuals.

So we lined up to see the four flats and set off to find me a new home. The problem was that these flats were probably not on agency lists for a reason. The most likely explanation being that no agent in their right mind would take them. What was to follow was a series of viewings worthy of a horror flick. I intend to outline just some of the ‘features’ which I could expect to enjoy if I had opted to take some of these flats.

Bela tehnika (Kitchen appliances): ‘They aren’t here at the moment but they will be arriving shortly’. Read – ‘You will move in and after some, as yet, undetermined amount of time you will be thankful to get given a camp stove and a toaster.

Hygiene – The place looks like it hasn’t seen a vacuum, mop or cleaning fluid in around a year. The landlord also appears to have been equally negligent in this department.

Space – More furniture than floor space. A particularly telling feature being the fold-out bed, that would need to fold out vertically, if it was to fold-out at all.

Furniture – Perhaps ‘unfurnished’ doesn’t sound so unappealing after all.

Lift – A lift that constantly stops on the way up can be somewhat disconcerting before you even have got to the property. One that stops four times and in a building where the floors are a couple of metres thick suggests it might not be a place for someone with entrapment issues.

Needless to say I didn’t end up taking any of the flats. And the worst part of it is that you have to leave the place acting as though you might take it. You end up telling them that there are a few more flats that you are viewing tonight and that you will get back to them. You then leave the place backwards like you are coming out of an Orthodox church. Why you don’t break the news to them that you would find greater domestic bliss in a police cell is perhaps human kindness. Instead, you just don’t call them and they continue advertising the property in the hope that someone will be desperate enough to take it.

The thing is I know there are nice flats out there, I’ve been in them. Its just at the moment they seem to be avoiding me. I don’t know perhaps I am just setting my sights to high. But, if anyone out there has a flat, well proportioned and positioned, 70 m², centrally heated, newly furnished, with balcony, parking space (I could sell that), intercom, TV, cable, ocean view…


sorry for the experience. Hope someone has a nice flat to rent and reads this. Wish you luck! And, by the way, nice apartments are rented following the word of mouth. Nice apartments are not rented out to anonymous individuals coming from weekly were not given the right advice, am afraid.

I once got an offer for a

I once got an offer for a studio in Brooklyn, 12 hundred dollars per month, "cozy and charming" as they said. In fact: basement studio, actually in the cellar, "not suitable for tall people" the woman said. It was a dump, 1.50m tall, with no light, only small windows overlooking people's feet and puke, and only one of hundred or so that I considered for the price. That was New York, friend.

I believe it is still a bit easier in Belgrade.

my man! i hear you. since

my man! i hear you. since 1985 when i arrived in belgrade as a student i've changed 17 flats. one was so deep underground that i had to walk 36 steps to see what's the weather.

Having rented four flats in

Having rented four flats in as many years in Belgrade, I have come to realise that it is always at this time of year that things start to break, crack, stretch, or generally conk out in one's home.

Perhaps it's the change of seasons, or perhaps the fact that everything that was replaced or repaired at this same time last year came with only a one-year guarantee and, as if by magic, promptly broke after that year had elapsed.

Finding a flat at this time of year is not gunna be easy for you Nick. Everyone's battened down their hatches and settled in for the winter.

If you can hold out until March/April, you're bound to find something to suit your needs. You should go with an agent though - just make sure it's one of those you pay upon accepting your new keys and not one of the shysters you have to pay in advance.

Happy hunting!

Why don't you

fix the doors and the sink and buy yourself a used stove and a used washing machine, or negotiate with the landlord to get new appliances? I bet the cost of fixing things would pay off in long term. The likelihood of finding a dream-apartment for the right price in Belgrade is an oxymoron. Same goes for Ottawa and Toronto where I viewed about 50 apartments for the past 6 years.


Buy "Krov Nekretnine"... Maybe you will have more luck. :)

Ask around

You might find lot of people that want to rent pretty nice appartments, but they are afraid of bad tenants. Just ask around.


International setting

What are a French kitchen and Norwegian heating anyway? Any ideas?

"It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists."

happy hunting !

And happy ads deciphering. The same rules apply for any holiday brochures if no distance in meters to the beach clearly indicated in the brochure - it usually means a 20 mins walk in the sun.

good luck

Renting an apartment in Belgrade is a difficult task. It took me always about a month to find a place that I really liked. Contacting various agencies and reading all the classifieds was not so much helpful. Almost all of the advertised apartments that I saw failed on quality/price ratio test. At the end, I always found a place to live that was recommended by my friends or family members.
Good luck in your search!

ne moze i jare i pare


The thing is I know there are nice flats out there, I’ve been in them. Its just at the moment they seem to be avoiding me. I don’t know perhaps I am just setting my sights to high. But, if anyone out there has a flat, well proportioned and positioned, 70 m², centrally heated, newly furnished, with balcony, parking space (I could sell that), intercom, TV, cable, ocean view…

oh there are flats like that, but how much are you willing to pay? belgrade is still very cheap, so don't complain. and you don't have to give 3 rents in advance (that is first month rent, last month rent and security deposit) like in usa.

most people live in owned flats (no mortgage or widespread renting in serbia) and people who rent appartments are mostly students, the market is relatively small.

serbian landowners usually have smaller flats (under 50 m^2) for rent, larger flats are not easy to find because there isnt much interest in such places in the first place. if you look for something specific, why dont you put an advertisment in oglasi yourself - i'm sure people who have apartments for rent will notice it.


You seem like a quiet a frustrated lad!
Keep looking, maybe you get lucky one of these days.
Nothing is easy, we have all been there, and worse!

Useful link

Living abroad and renting in BG

Got beautiful, spacious, recently fully renovated apartment on lovely location in Belgrade. During the renovation I have followed all the requirements I would set up for myself. The objective was to make the tenants as comfortable as possible.
The problem is that I am having trouble renting it, it has never been rented before, and it is still empty. The reason: I live in Portugal and rarely come to Belgrade, I did not trust the agencies and my helpful relatives from BG never have time to place adds or chase the civilized occupants.
And I would be very glad to make someone happy...

Dear potential landlord

Dear Potential Landlord,

Sounds interesting. How does one arrange a viewing?

Thanx for your interest

I don't like the idea of Blog becoming Oglasi, so please contact Adminstrators to pass on my email details.

All sounds a bit fairytale

All sounds a bit fairytale to me.

i think ppl here

loove to rent out to foreigners. my friend and her danish hubby got fantastic flat for ridiculously little money, and they were interviewed along with about dozen other ppl (almost like nyc :)) but they were all nick here just may luck out :))

you should have known...

...what serbia means;)

Flast Hunting

Nicholas im really sorry to hear about your experiences
well i have a flat of 80m2 its in a prime location of belgrade (Hram) i spent loads of money furnishing it you name it its got it , me and my serbian girl friend
where planing to move in there but we broke up few months ago hehe:)
well anyway im back in london now working the property
has just come on the market its all new and wonderfull
well you will need to see it for your self my aunt has the flat keys she lives belgrade she is the landlord while i am not there

if you like you can contact me on my email
i will give you her number or you can email me your number in belgrade and she will contact you :)


Hi i have a flat on resvaska st. It's 115 and its empty but i was wondering how much you can spend? It's completly redone american style, i can send u some pix if u would like. It has marble/wood floors stainless steel kitchen,big stainless steel fridge, island kitchen done in wenge wood. Furnished with flexform couches, platform bed, complete lux apt done in neutrals, brand neww windows, tall ceilings, with flos/artemedie lights. I took a salon apt and conveted to the W hotel, haha, email me back if interested. I know what u mean about hte apts there thats why i completly gutted this one.thanks gordana

Just so you feel at home...

Hi Nick,

the experience was so you would not miss London too much. Can't imagine many of the places would be worse than some of the King's College residences, or flats around Holloway Rd, Finsbury Park etc.

Hope to see you next time I am in Belgrade.