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The Only Checklist You Need to Rent an Apartment in Seville

Spanish building and typical place people would rent an apartment in Seville
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With a reputation as one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe, renting in Spain is a great way to find your dream apartment without breaking the bank every month. And as major cities like London, Paris, and Berlin continue to demand extortionate amounts for one bedroom apartments, Seville has emerged as one of the best destinations to rent in Europe. That’s why we’ve put together this essential checklist for individuals that want to rent an apartment in Seville. 

With more than five years’ experience here, I can personally tell you that renting in Seville is a no-brainer if you want to find a comfortable – even luxurious – apartment without waving goodbye to the majority of your monthly income. With the extra money saved on rent, you can contribute more towards your savings, put it towards building multiple streams of income, and invest in assets like Bitcoin and stocks.

But I can also tell you from experience that renting an apartment in Seville can quickly turn into a nightmare if you don’t know what to look for and most importantly, what to avoid.

If you have any questions about renting apartments in Seville, please don’t hesitate to leave them down below in the comment section. 


Check the windows

Windows are very important, especially if you’re looking at apartments in a Spanish city center like Seville. The bottom line: look for apartments with double glazed windows. Like many European cities, Seville has some beautiful yet very old buildings with apartments in desperate need of new windows. And investing in good windows isn’t on most landlords’ radar if they believe their property can still be rented with the old ones.

These thin, single-glazed windows are pretty common but definitely worth avoiding if you can for a couple of reasons:

  • You will be frozen in your apartment during the colder months: If you’re interested in leaving home to rent an apartment in Seville, double glazed windows should be an absolute priority. The cold weather in winter and other typically hot destinations around Spain can come as a surprise. Without double glazed windows in winter, you’ll also be forced to spend more on electricity due to having a heater plugged in all day.
  • Your apartment will be even hotter in summer: In addition to keeping cold air out, double glazed windows help keep apartments cooler in the summer months too. Some landlords will make the argument that single-glazed windows are actually better for hot weather but this is false and an attempt to trick foreigners unfamiliar with renting in Seville. You won’t find anybody with their windows wide open in summer during the day here and trust me when I say that these poorly fitted windows will be the number one reason your apartment feels like an oven when you get home.
  • The noise from outside will be unbearable — especially at night: If you were to rent an apartment in Seville facing onto the street with a bar 20 meters down the road, I can guarantee you will have some sleepless nights until you get used to the noise (if you ever do).
  • Insects like cockroaches and mosquitos won’t have trouble getting inside: Due again to a lack of sealing around the exterior of the windows, some of the nastier Spanish bugs like cockroaches can get into your apartment through small gaps. And let’s face it, nobody wants to find these nasty critters in their apartment, do they?

Now that you know how important good windows are when renting in Spain, let’s find out how to avoid the bad ones.

How to spot bad windows

The easiest way to know what kind of windows an apartment has if of course to ask. But if you think the landlord or estate agent is lying to you, here’s how you can find out for yourself:

  • Noticeably thin glass: You can often tell by just looking at the glass how thin it is and it might also be helpful to familiarize yourself with double glazed windows beforehand so that you can tell the difference more easily.
  • A gray metal exterior around the glass: These older windows in Seville will often have a metallic border around the glass, with little to no padding between the glass and the metal. Bear in mind that the borders could also be a dark plastic and even white like most double glazed windows, so it’s always worth asking just in case.
  • Windows will slide open: Especially with floor-to-ceiling windows, you will notice that there is no handle to pull the window open. Sliding the window open and shut is far more common with these cheaper windows and something to watch out for if you’re not sure what kind you have in front of you.

How to spot good windows

On the other hand, here’s how you can quickly tell if you have good windows:

  • Noticeably thicker glass: Just by gently knocking on the glass and taking a closer look, you can see what kind of windows you have. As oppose to cheap single pane windows, the glass in double glazed windows won’t rattle when you knock on it and will feel more secure.
  • White, plastic borders that come out of the wall: The isn’t the case for all quality windows, but they will usually have some kind of white plastic exterior that comes out of the window frame, with handles to open and close. You can also get double glazed windows with different colored borders though, so bear that in mind too.
  • Apartment is very quiet with windows shut: Another good practice is simply comparing the noise levels inside when windows are open and shut. This is especially important if you’re looking around exterior apartments in Spain that face onto a road outside.

Avoid ground floor apartments

Also called “bajos” in Spanish, ground floor apartments will be available en masse when you’re ready to rent an apartment in Seville. But I can’t warn you enough to stay away from these types of apartments. I’ve lived in a couple myself and have since vowed to never rent a ground floor apartment in Spain again.

Here are three main good reasons you should avoid them:

  • Cockroaches: If you don’t want to find these anxiety inducing creatures in your home remember that the further from the ground you are the better. As soon as the weather starts to heat up again, ground floor homes are the first place these things show up — regardless of how modern or clean they are inside. In my experience, you’re unlikely to find them in top floor apartments or apartments even three or four floors up.
  • Little natural light: Ground floor apartments are also seriously lacking in natural light. With fewer windows and less access to direct sunlight, these dark and dingy dwellings will force you to have the light on all day and with many of us turning to remote jobs, working in a home shrouded in darkness is the last thing your mental health needs.
  • More noise: If you decide to rent a ground floor apartment, as soon as you put pen to paper on that rental contract you’ll have to pray that the neighbors above aren’t as disruptive as a herd of elephants. Noise from the street will also be an issue and people usually stay out far later in Spain than in the UK, for example.

Don’t get me wrong, you’re probably going to come across some beautiful ground floor apartments that you might think are a bargain for the price. But if you want my advice, rent an apartment in Seville that’s at least a few floors off the ground.

Does everything work?

Don’t be afraid to get your hands on everything, essentially giving the apartment a “test drive” on your first visit. You have to embrace this as you don’t want to move in and start finding broken appliances. Admittedly, this has happened to me before and I could have checked more than once before signing the contract.

Remember to:

  • Flush the toilets: Check that your toilet flushes and if it looks old, give it a couple of flushes in a row to see how well it works.
  • Run the taps: Make sure that the taps are running too but pay attention that there’s no water leaking from anywhere.
  • Check the shower: It’s not uncommon for owners to rent out homes with broken appliances and checking that your water isn’t dribbling out of the shower head is also important.
  • Flick lights on and off: Making sure your lights work is easy enough and will only take a second. You might also find that some rooms don’t have light bulbs with your preferred color.

There’s nothing worse than signing contracts, paying fees, and moving all of your possessions into an apartment that you then need to share with plumbers for the first few weeks as they attend to broken toilets and leaks in the shower that you discovered after you just signed to rent an apartment in Seville.

These kinds of problems are especially common among landlords that own multiple properties as they often neglect some properties in favor of others, spending little to no time properly inspecting apartments before renting them out to people. If you notice anything that needs to be fixed or cleaned, make sure you communicate that to the owner or agency before signing any contracts.

Finding multiple issues when you first view a property is a pretty big red flag, however, and probably cause to concentrate your efforts elsewhere instead.



Does it require gas bottles?

First of all, you want to rent an apartment in Seville that does not require gas bottles. To be blunt, they’re a pain in the ass.

Translated as “bombonas de gas” or “bombonas de butano” in Spanish, these cylinders are installed in the apartments by the tenant. And yes the argument can be made that they will save you money on your gas bills and with Europe looking down the barrel of a nasty recession, that’s something you could consider.

The problem is that you will have to manually change them every time they run out and there’s no way of knowing exactly when you’re going to run out either, which means cold showers until you’re able to purchase more. You will also have to find out where the closest place that sells them is and transport them back and forth to your apartment yourself.

In some areas, like the Macarena in Seville, a truck will drive through the barrio with them available for purchase so that people can buy them from their street instead. Although, do you really want to wake up at the crack of dawn to do this in winter? In the long run then, you may agree with me that they’re not really worth the hassle.

Look for apartments with water heaters instead and make sure you ask if the apartment uses bombonas de gas” prior to signing anything.

Are bills included in the price?

The majority of apartments in Seville will come with at least water and council tax or “comunidad” included in the price. Electric and gas prices are usually paid separately by the tenant. However, if you see a one-bedroom apartment where only “comunidad” is included in the price, factor in at least €100 extra on top of the rental price in order to cover all of your bills when renting in Seville.

Again, don’t forget to ask the owner or real estate agent which bills are included in the price advertised.

Useful tip: If community and/or water aren’t included in the price but you’re interested in renting the apartment, don’t be afraid to negotiate with the owner. Persuading them to do so will be easier if you also tell them that you’re happy to pay the deposit and first month’s rent on the same day.

For example, you might say: “I’m very interested but I’ve seen others with water and community included in the price. If you can include water and community in the price, I can pay the deposit and the first month’s rent today.” In Spanish: “Tengo mucho interés en el piso pero hay otros que incluyen agua y comunidad en el precio. Si puedes incluirlos en el precio, te puedo pagar la fianza y el primer mes hoy.”

But don’t be too disheartened if they say no because, well, they probably will. Any decent apartment in a good area will attract plenty of interest and that doesn’t leave you with much room for negotiation. In fact, it’s not uncommon for landlords to put the price up if the initial interest is higher than they first anticipated.

Nevertheless, negotiating is always worth a try if you can at least promise them some sort of down payment on the same day (landlords will also ask for proof of work in Spain or abroad for autonomous workers).

Does it have air conditioning?

Last but definitely not least is air conditioning. With temperatures known to hit the mid 40s in some of the hotter cities, summer in Spain can be grueling and very difficult to get through without air conditioning. Fans are fine for lower temperatures but will only really circulate hot air in your apartment during summer.

At least one air conditioning unit is a must for renting in Seville and you should make sure there’s at least one in the room you’ll be spending most of your time during the day.

Useful tip: Some apartments will have central cooling and heating systems where you can control the temperature for the whole apartment but not a single room. This uses a lot more power than one air conditioning unit in your living room, for example. Your bills will also be sky high with something like that on all day in summer and so you should ask the owner whether they would consider installing a single air conditioning unit somewhere instead.

Summary

Choosing to rent an apartment in Seville can give you a huge advantage financially and vastly improve your quality of life. But you have to find the balance between quality and price and that means a thorough examination before you sign anything. Trust me when I say that you don’t want to be contractually pinned to an apartment in Seville that you can’t wait to get out of. I’ve been in that situation before and it really is a nightmare.

So to recap, make sure you’re looking out for:

  • Bad windows
  • Ground floor apartments
  • Broken appliances
  • Gas bottles
  • Bills included in the price
  • Air conditioning

You will have your own preferences when flat hunting but hopefully the advice in this article can help you find your dream home in Seville quicker.

In my experience renting in Seville, these are the six most important things to watch out for when choosing your new apartment. If you’re currently living in Spain let us know what else people should look out for before putting pen to paper on a new place abroad and remember to share this article if you found it useful! 

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