TALLINN RESIDENTIAL RENTAL
One of the first tasks that a new immigrant has to deal with is finding a home for himself and his family. This task can still be difficult in a familiar city.
But with our article we will try to make it easier for you to search for an apartment in Tallinn.
As a rule, an employer pays for a relocated employee’s housing for a certain period, so that you can take the time to look for a suitable option. This will allow you to explore independently all areas of Tallinn and choose the one that will appeal more.
Districts of Tallinn
Tallinn is divided into 8 districts: Kesklinn, Kristiine, Pirita, Lasnamäe, Nõmme, Mustamäe, Haabersti and Põhja-Tallinn.
Kesklinn (Kesklinn, «city center») as the name implies is the central district of Tallinn. It includes the Old Town admired by foreigners, the nearby island of Aegna, a business center with several office skyscrapers and most of the institutions: the government, ministries, the port, museums, theaters and libraries as well as the University of Tallinn.
Unfortunately, this affects the price of housing as Kesklinn is officially considered the most expensive area, not only in Tallinn, but also in entire Estonia.
The city center boasts variety in terms of architecture. Apart from the Old Town, there is still room for every taste, from wooden houses for two or four apartments to modern glass skyscrapers. New buildings are all more or less predictable, but in old houses the outdated details of a household, unfortunately, complements external charm: for example, many of them still use heating with wood.
In addition, the city center means staying in the center of events: any concerts, exhibitions, street festivals will be at a stone’s throw. However, peace and quiet could be a problem.
Kristiine is another similar area as it has both small wooden and brick houses of different periods and new buildings.
There is a large shopping center as well as many parks. The area is named in honour of the Swedish Queen Christina, in whose reign it was founded in the 17th century. Kristiine is bordered by the central area and has an efficient bus and tram service.
Lasnamäe is the largest district in Tallinn, traditionally considered «Russian-speaking»: 60% of the population according to the 2013 census identify themselves as Russians.
This area consists mostly of the classical panel blocks of the early 1980s. In Lasnamäe there are the business center Technopolis Ülemiste, where a large part of the IT industry of Tallinn, the Ice Palace and the Track-and-Field Athletics Center are located.
The area is very convenient for living especially for families with children. Gardens, schools, a polyclinic, sports and interest clubs are at hand.
Mustamäe («The Black Mountain») is the second largest district of Tallinn, built up mainly with panel houses of five and nine storeys high.
In Mustamäe there are Tallinn Technical University and other educational institutions, Technopolis Science and Technology Park, the medical centre with North-Estonian Regional Hospital, Children's Hospital and Mustamäe Polyclinic. There is also the Tallinn Center of Creativity «Kullo» which houses about 50 clubs for children
Haabersti («Oats Homestead» in German) is a pretty green residential area in the west of Tallinn, built up mainly in the 1970s and preserving the typical architecture of the period.
It houses the Tallinn Zoo, the large sports and concert center «Saku Suurhall», the Estonian Open Air Museum, the year-round ice rink and the large shopping center Rocca-al-Mare. In addition, the area boasts Lake Harku which is popular with firshermen.
Nõmme («wasteland») is traditionally the «Estonian» district of Tallinn which until 1940 was a separate city. As of 2013, Estonians accounted for 84% of its population.
Basically, Nõmme is built up with private and small houses amid a pine forest. There is also the castle and park of Baron von Glen, known for the film «The Baskervilles' Dog» and a ski jump.
From Nõmme you can travel to the city by train.
Pirita (Pirita, the Estonian version of the name Birgitta) is another area of predominantly private development.
However, if Nõmme is quite far from the sea, then Pirita is located on the bay and along the banks of the Pirita River. It is considered to be one of the most prestigious districts of Tallinn.
There are the main city beach, a yacht club, the TV tower and ruins of the Birgitta monastery. It is especially suitable for lovers of long walks and active sports. However, when living in this area more time should be reserved for commuting. Traffic jams are common here.
Põhja-Tallinn (Põhja-Tallinn, «Northern Tallinn») is a rather old seaside region, very diverse in terms of population.
On the one hand, it includes the fashionable hipster district of Kalamaja and Telliskivi with youth cafes and shops, on the other it houses marginal zones in Kopli and the railway station area.
There are also several museums, popular beaches Stroomi and Pikakari, as well as the bird sanctuary of Paljassaare.
Most of the apartments on the sites are dealt with through estate agents. Estate agents, as a rule, speak English.
The contract with a tenant is quite formal, and if something goes wrong, you can apply to the authorities for protection. Also, the owners, as a rule, do not object to the registration of the tenant's address of residence, thus becoming a resident of Tallinn, you get access to free public transport and other benefits. You can register on the Internet.
The lease must contain the following items:
description of the object (as accurate as possible);
rent and the procedure of payment;
the procedure for calculating utility bills and paying them;
the term of the contract and the procedure for termination of the contract, including early termination;
duties and rights of the leasee and the lessor;
obligation to preserve the inventory (furniture, equipment) and return it.
A two-roomed flat for rent in a pleasant area and decent condition will cost you € 350-400 per month. However, a separate sum will have to be laid out to the owner as collateral for the last month. If the apartment is rented with the help of a estate agent, they will also ask for their services the cost of a monthly lease.
The rent does not include utilities, which adds about € 50-70 in summer and € 100-150 in winter. Fortunately, in Estonia there is a practice of showing several accounts for an apartment at different times of a year at the signing of a contract, so that a tenant can estimate the scale of expenses.
The general rule states that the older the house, the more surprises it can hide. Many people are tempted by romantic old houses in the center, and even in the Old Town. Unfortunately, life in such houses is either expensive or brings plenty of inconveniences. For example, to get rid of dampness, they use climate control systems (expensive) or preserved stoves and fireplaces (uncomfortable and requires certain skills).
Otherwise, you will an ineradicable smell of damp plaster in the rooms and wet clothes in the wardrobes, mould, creaking floors and warped furniture.
The same story goes for pretty attic rooms. They are of two types: inexpensive attic apartments, pre-built as living quarters and converted attics. If the first option is a matter of taste, then the second one requires considerable warming efforts, and how lucky you are with this particular attic, you will find out only when you settle in it yourself.
When choosing an apartment, pay attention to how it is heated. Residents of large cities usually think of central heating used in an apartment, but in Tallinn all kinds of options, from gas to stove are widely represented. The easiest option in circulation is certainly central heating as many houses have long been equipped with individual housing meters and temperature controllers.
In new buildings radiators are used on or in walls, but pipes are fitted under the floor. The advantage of gas heating is that you can turn it on and off for your own use all year round, but you will have to trust the owners of the apartment in matters of prevention and maintenance of the gas boiler. The same applies to heating with wood if you are ready to heat the stove yourself and heat pumps in private homes. "Electric heating" usually means that there is simply no heating, and you have to use heaters. Do not underestimate the Estonian winters! This option will provide you with considerable bills for electricity.
The same story goes for hot water. In addition to the central water supply, boilers are also very common. If the water bill looks surprisingly low, take a closer look at the boiler in the bathroom, and figure out in which mode you will wash. One hundred liters of hot water is enough for about two showers. Also, boilers are often installed in attics of a small-sized apartment and private houses. The use of a boiler, of course, will affect the electricity bill.
If you have a car, it is worthwhile to find out in advance the question of parking. Most of the houses have parking spaces attached to the apartments and do not welcome the parking of other cars on their territory. As for parking in the streets, it is paid in Tallinn and runs the risk of ruining you pretty quickly. People who do not get parking spaces in the yard usually buy long-term subscriptions at the nearest private parking lots or rent a garage.
It is also important to know whether there is an apartment partnership in the house. This is a kind of association of tenants with an elected government.
If it exists, it will be much easier for you to solve all household issues as the chairman of the apartment association, as a rule, knows what the technical condition of the building is, when repairs, insulation of the facade or roof were made, what the situation with the repair fund is (monthly payments of tenants for maintenance of the building). Also, the chairman of the partnership will be able to brief you on potential neighbors. The chairman's phone is usually available on the Internet.
Controversial issues between an owner and a tenant help to solve the commission on rent. To resolve disputed issues, you must fill out the form on the Internet, sign it with an ID card and send it to the specified address. In addition, the commission works well as a deterrent to both owners and residents.
In general, the official contract, the availability of apartment associations and commission on rent makes housing in Tallinn a relatively simple and safe measure. So determine with the area of the city and look for ads on portals.