Housing in Turkey

Renting a Property

There are three ways to rent a house: through newspaper ads, Real Estate Agencies (check the yellow pages), or friends.

Perhaps the most straightforward way to rent a house or apartment is to use the services of a real estate agency. Most of the larger agencies (the ones advertised in the English language newspaper Turkish Daily News) are professionals and have experience dealing with foreigners and their often-unique set of needs. If your budget is modest however, you would be better off scouting out the neighbourhood that you want to live in and approaching the smaller real estate agencies (Emlakçi) in that area (they are plentiful).

It is common practice to pay a commission to the agent; however this fee is negotiable in most instances. Foreign tenants mean Dollars or Euro (and lots of it) to almost every homeowner in Turkey. If your rent will be in a foreign currency, bargain hard – if you don’t have the negotiation skills, find someone who does. It will be well worth the effort and can safe you a bundle.

The following points are fair game to negotiate about:

  • Price of monthly rent;
  • Number of months of advance payment required;
  • Currency that the rent will be paid in;
  • Mode of payment;
  • Amount of deposit required and whether it is in Turkish Lira or foreign currency;
  • Condition of the home – request new carpet if it is soiled, or fresh paint;
  • Landscaping – landlord can pay for grass to be planted, if it is new home for example;
  • Appliances – included or not;light fixtures – included or not;
  • Cleaning – insist landlord cover cost of having your place cleaned before you move in;
  • Any repairs such as water damage or cracks in walls – landlord should cover all these costs.

A word of advice, get it all in writing, including all the landlords’ promises to repair, clean and fix things in advance of your move.

Particularly if you are paying big bucks in a foreign currency, it is imperative to have a lawyer look at your contract before you sign it. Take the time, make the effort and you will be in a much better position should any misunderstanding arise.

As you may well know, Istanbul is located on the North Anatolian fault and is considered to be an earthquake prone area. Therefore while renting or purchasing a house, it is a good idea to ask for a report on the building’s ground study issued by a university. Moreover, since Istanbul was badly affected during the August 17, 1999 earthquake, some buildings have “seen” or “unseen” damages, and for that reason it is highly recommended to request a report about the status of the building from the Yönetici (the person responsible for the administrative works, such as collecting monthly expenses of the building etc.).

The agent generally participates in concluding the lease contract as well. Be sure to insist upon a termination clause, which should legally protect you should you need to cut your lease short in the event you are assigned to another city/ country or having to leave the country due to health problems.

In principal, the costs related to daily use of the house (such as facility fees, electricity, water, fuel, Kapýcý salary) shall be born by the tenant and costs pertaining to fundamental issues such as repairs to the roof or, heating system for example, are to be born by the landlord.

Environment tax (Çevre ve Temizlik Vergisi) should be paid by tenant in two installments: January and July. The amount to be paid can be learned from your Yönetici.

Buying a Property

Most foreign citizens are permitted to purchase land and property in Turkey in their own names – you are still advised however to check with your Consulate. To obtain a registration for title deeds, he/ she must prove to the Land Registry of Turkey the transfer of the full purchase price into Turkey. Properties within military zones or outside the boundaries of the municipalities cannot be purchased by foreigners. In any subsequent sale of the property, the proceeds can be transferred out of Turkey. The property may be rented out to others.

There is an annual property tax for private buildings. All properties are subject to re-evaluation every four (4) years for taxation purposes.

Different regulations apply when property is purchased for business and investment purposes that are connected to tourism.

When purchasing a house:

  • Better buy a house suitable to your taste rather than a non-practical one just for prestige or luxury.
  • The house you are going to purchase should please you.
  • Don’t forget to check whether the house has title deed.
  • Be sure that the water, natural gas, phones, electricity invoices belonging to the previous owner have been paid.
  • Have it examined its resistance against earthquake.
  • Check which rooms allow sunshine at what degree.
  • Check whether there are limitations on the immovable.
  • Meeting with your neighbours will help your decision.
  • The material used during the construction is important.
  • The architecture and the decoration of the building should be to your requirements.
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