Renting a House in Turkey

Many people coming to Turkey decide to rent a property here. There are several reasons.

They may just prefer renting property. They may be sent to Turkey for a fairly short time in connection with their work and find that renting a property in Turkey is more cost-effective than buying. They may decide to rent for a year whilst they look for a property to buy. They may decide to put their cash into a business rather than into a property in which to live.

Whatever their motivation for renting a property in Turkey, there are certain things they need to know if they are to do so safely and without undue stress.

There is a plentiful supply of rental property. These are of all types, from tiny apartments to huge villas.

How to find a place to rent in Turkey

There are two main ways of finding a property to rent in Turkey.

Estate agents

Most estate agents in Turkey also act as the managing agents of property available for rent. Unfortunately, they will only have access to the properties on their own books – i.e. the properties they have been asked to manage. There is no MLS (Multiple Listing Service) for rental properties in Turkey. This means that you will have to contact each of the agents individually to find out what they have available.

Do not rely on their websites, which are likely to be out of date. The best rental properties are let very quickly indeed. The cynical might think that some of the attractive property left on websites for a long time is no more than a hook to capture new customers.

The estate agent’s fee in connection with the letting is usually paid by the owner. However, under Turkish law, it is possible (though uncommon) for an estate agent to charge you (the tenant) a fee for renting a property to you.

A number of estate agents have started to offer a rental alert scheme. This means that if you register with them and tell them what type of property you’re looking for, they will send you an email alert when a suitable property comes on their books. Of course, they could be sending that email to dozens of people. This is no substitute for maintaining regular contact with them in an attempt to get ahead of the queue.

If you find a rental property that you like, you should move quickly. The best properties do not stay on the market for very long.

Direct rentals

Many owners do not use an agent to rent out their property. They advertise it in the local paper (either the main Turkish-language paper in the area or, sometimes, in local foreign-language press) or on the local ‘for sale and wanted’ or ‘bulletin board’ websites.

You will have to know the market, especially rental values, and speak good Turkish if you want to go down this route.

Whilst Turkey is a very safe place, as always be careful when it comes to arranging to meet strange people in empty properties.

What type of property should you rent in Turkey?

We each have our own requirements when it comes to finding a property in which to live.

You may want to consider some or all of the following:

  • It is convenient for where you’re working or the places you want to visit?
  • Local facilities. Are there local shops, bars, restaurants etc. or are you prepared to travel to them?
  • Is there parking? In most Turkish towns and cities there is a huge shortage of parking.
  • Are you comfortable with the area? Is it too noisy? Is it too isolated? Is it safe?
  • Are you looking for a property that is furnished or unfurnished? There are few unfurnished lettings in Turkey. Many people, if they want to use their own furniture, will take a furnished property and then (with the agreement of the landlord) put the existing furniture into storage until they leave the property. If you want to do this, you will be expected to pay an additional security deposit and to give the landlord written authority to remove any items you leave behind at the end of your tenancy.
  • Are you prepared to share with others?
  • Are you prepared to take an apartment that has only a shower rather than a bath; or are you prepared to take a property where there is no shower but only a shower attachment over a bath? Most smaller properties in Turkey offer only a shower.
  • Does the property have all the appliances that you require? Smaller properties tend to be sparsely equipped: for example, no washing machine.
  • Do you need a garden? In the towns and cities, most rental properties do not have a garden – although villas and properties outside the towns and cities do.
  • Is the property accessible? Most of the cheaper apartments will be in buildings without lifts (elevators).
  • Are there any schools in the area?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • Is smoking permitted?
  • For how long is the property available and from when?

Viewing a property to rent in Turkey

When you find a property that interests you, you will need to see it. Viewings are arranged either with the agents or directly with the owner, depending on who is marketing the property.

When you’re looking at a property for the first time, it’s very easy to miss important features or forget to ask about something. Think about:

  • How well is the property maintained and decorated?
  • Who is responsible for the maintenance and decoration? In Turkey, for tenancies of less than 12 months, it is the landlord who is always responsible for the maintenance of the property and its decoration, but you will be charged for any damage you cause to the property other than what can be described as ‘fair wear and tear’. For longer tenancies, the responsibility for maintenance and decoration is agreed between the landlord and tenant and recorded in the tenancy agreement.
  • What kind of heating does the property have? For water? For space heating?
  • Is the furniture in good condition?
  • Is there enough storage space?
  • Are there instructions for all the appliances? Are they in your language?
  • Do things work? Turn on the taps and lights, flush the toilet. Do the windows open? Does any air conditioning work?
  • If you’re in a block of flats:
    1. Is there any extra charge for community services – so-called ‘community fees’? You will normally be expected to pay these on top of the amount of your rent.
    2. What are the arrangements for mail?
    3. Is there any security?
  • Who will be responsible for coordinating maintenance and repairs and what performance promises are there?
  • Are utility bills included within the rent? Usually, they are not.

Whilst you’re visiting the premises, ask if there are any other tenants in the building or neighbourhood and, if possible, speak to them.

Getting accepted as a tenant in Turkey

At the moment, the property rental market favours the landlord in that there are lots of tenants searching for relatively few good properties.

You can give yourself an advantage by doing several things:

  • Start looking as soon as possible: at least four weeks before you need to move in, preferably eight or even 12.
  • Be prepared to pay an immediate rental deposit. You will usually be asked for two months’ rent in advance, plus the equivalent of a further month’s rent as a security deposit.
  • Be prepared to sign a tenancy agreement quickly. This is a standard form agreement but it’s likely to be in Turkish (although this is not required by law) and so you might need to get it looked at by your lawyer. A few of the larger rental agencies are now producing dual column rental agreements in Turkish & English, Turkish & German, and Turkish & Russian.
  • Be prepared to sign a guarantee that you will leave and clear the property at the end of the lease
  • Have proof of your ID (a copy of your passport) available.
  • Have proof of your ability to pay the rent. For example, a bank account statement and salary slip.
  • Above all, be polite!

The cost of renting a property in Turkey

There is a huge range of rents within Turkey. There is no rent control.

In addition to the amount you’re paying by way of rent you’ll be expected to pay your utility bills, the charges in relation to any community within which the property is located and the annual property tax for the property (unless you’re renting for a period of less than three months, in which case these are paid by the landlord).

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