So you want to rent an apartment or house in the grand duchy? Be prepared and be ready to act, advises Soufiane Saadi, group operations director with Athome, one of the country’s largest real estate listings sites.
“The Luxembourg market is quite saturated. The demand is high while the offer is quite low,” he reckons. “It’s very important to search actively, monitor the market each day and be reactive.”
“The first thing you need to do, before you start looking for a rental, is to find the neighbourhood that suits you,” says Saadi. Check out the “schools, transport facilities, shops, restaurants, etc” in several potential areas. That, in turn, will help narrow down criteria for an online search.
For expats not here yet, “the trick is to take a day or two in Luxembourg and schedule a maximum of visits during your stay,” advises Saadi. “If you can’t come for the visits, ask a friend to visit the properties for you.” But “if you still feel lost, call a real estate professional”.
Whether or not the renter is already living in Luxembourg, “finding the perfect location, at the right price and as fast as possible, requires some good organisation skills”. Saadi shares four tips. First, “create email alerts” to save time. Next, download real estate apps. “Getting push notifications wherever you are will make your life easier.”
Third, “be reactive. Call directly after receiving an alert. Being first can make a big difference [in securing a property]. The Luxembourgish market is boiling [hot], some properties are rented in a few days after being published.” Finally, it’s a landlord’s market, so “be available for the visits. During a lunch break or at the end of the day, or even for half a day, you must be available to make appointments with real estate agencies and make visits.”
At the same time, get your paperwork ready to go. Rental applications “must contain a copy of your identity card or passport, [proof of] your income [such as pay slips] and bank account details. Please note that the landlord has no right to ask for any documents related to your privacy, such as a marriage certificate, social insurance card, bank statements, etc,” states Saadi. “To speed up the process, prepare all these documents upfront.”
There are “two main elements to look at carefully” when reviewing rental contracts, suggests Saadi. The first is the deposit. Although it is “not legally required, there is a very good chance that the landlord will ask you to pay a deposit,” to cover any missed rental payments or damage to the property. “Luxembourg law imposes a limit in the matter though: the owner cannot ask [for] a deposit equivalent to more than three months of rent. Pay attention, it can be an important amount, as it’s added to the first month’s rent.”
The second is “the duration of the lease agreement,” he says. “The parties are free to set the duration of the contract: fixed or indefinite. If no duration is clearly written in the contract or if it has been only agreed orally, it will be considered as an indefinite duration contract. A fixed-term contract will be renewed automatically, if neither party terminates the agreement.”
“The terms of lease cancellation vary depending on which party wants to terminate. In fact, the landlord will only be able to end the contract in very particular circumstances, while the tenant termination options are much more flexible.” He adds: “Very often, the lease contains a diplomatic clause that allows the tenant, exceptionally, in case of transfer abroad for professional reasons, to terminate the lease in less restrictive conditions.”
Saadi has one final observation: the Centre region is the most expensive, but “it’s also the region offering most of the properties to rent; 52% of all [rental properties in the country] are in Luxembourg City!”