Tips on how to find a room in Barcelona
As a student coming from abroad, finding housing in Barcelona can be very frustrating. High rent prices, unpredictable availability and the threat of scams can cause a lot of stress. One of the biggest problems a student may face is not knowing what is waiting for them once they move to the city. We will help answer some of the most common questions students have in finding accommodations in Barcelona, with advice from some of our colleagues living in Barcelona.
Rooms in Barcelona
What options do I have for housing?
Barcelona has many options for student housing, from solo apartments to shared rooms. If you are willing to share your bedroom, kitchen, bathroom or living space, there are some very affordable options in nice neighbourhoods.
Finding a room is much easier than finding an apartment because many people list rooms in their homes, making them more available than whole apartments. However, if you prefer to have your own bedroom and all your own spaces, including a kitchen and bathroom, or if you have specific roommates you want to share an apartment with, there are options for whole apartments.
Throughout Barcelona, you can find housing designed specifically for students who move here for a few months. If you are looking for your own room within a community of other students, buildings like The Social Hub and Vita Student offer not only a solo apartment but also other services. Gyms, bike rentals, organized social activities and more are part of the student housing experience.
Who can help me find housing?
Housing agencies are some of your safest options for finding a room or apartment in Barcelona.
To find the best real estate agency for you, look at Google reviews, ask people you know who have used agencies and visit the agencies in person. There are so many agencies across Barcelona to choose from that you have the flexibility to find one that works for you.
Ajuntament de Barcelona
If you do not want to rent through an agency and would prefer to look on your own, there are free sites that can help you find rooms. Idealista, Uniplaces, Spotahome, Badi and HousingAnywhere are all websites that can help people find rooms and apartments in Barcelona, with different criteria to help you find the right apartment for you. Spotahome has a partner site, Erasmusu, which is specifically targeted at students.
Facebook groups — like Flats & Rooms in Barcelona and Barcelona Rooms for Students — are very convenient for finding rooms and apartments available short-term without an agency. On these sites, apartment and room owners will list their available rooms directly, usually offering a lower price and lower fees than an agency or listing site.
No matter which process you choose, be sure to take screenshots and pictures of anything that could be deleted or lost. For example, take pictures of listings and messages with the host, anything that can show proof of information and that you have made an agreement.
When should I start looking for a room in Barcelona?
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when looking for a room in Barcelona is to start looking too early. Many apartments and rooms are ready to be moved into the very next day. So you may be wondering, what should I do when I get there? Where will I stay?
If you have the option, try to find a friend to stay with, a hotel or an Airbnb for the first few days while you look at apartments and rooms because, once you find one, it will likely be ready immediately. This is not true for all rooms, but generally, this is how you should expect to search for housing.
If you have to have a room ready as soon as you get to Barcelona, going through an agency may be your best option. If you go through an agency, you will often be more likely to find housing weeks or even months in advance. Be sure to communicate with your agency, though, and make it very clear when you will be moving in.
Where should I live?
Some of the most-desired neighbourhoods in Barcelona are also the most expensive, so depending on your priorities, you may want to look outside of the fancy areas. Location is very important but Barcelona has great public transportation systems, including metro, bus and tram. Everywhere is accessible by walking or public transportation, so pick a location that will be comfortable for both you and your budget.
If you want to be in the center of all the action, El Born may be the neighbourhood for you. It is important to know that this area attracts a lot of tourists because of its central location in Barcelona, so be prepared for noise and increased prices on shops in the area.
Poblenou also is a nice neighborhood with a vibrant social life. There are also a lot of old warehouses that turned into apartment buildings with lots of options for rooms.
For gastronomy lovers, Gràcia is Barcelona’s hub for good food, craft beer and organic markets. If you came to Barcelona for the terraces, this is the place for you. You will also find many independent boutiques, shops and vintage stores
What should I expect to pay?
Depending on the neighbourhood and the type of accommodation you choose, there is a range of options for rent. A room may be 350 to 650 euros per month while an apartment could be 900 to 1,300 euros per month.
In addition to the price of the room, you will have to pay a deposit to the landlord, which is one to two months’ rent. If you chose to find the apartment through an agency, that will be an additional one to two months’ rent in agency fees.
Gas, electricity and water will likely not be included in your rent, so you should plan an additional 50 to 100 euros per month, depending on how much you consume.
What should I be careful of?
If you have looked for rooms in Barcelona, you have probably heard the word “scams” many times, and if you have not yet heard about the housing scams in Barcelona, they are important to understanding how housing works in the city.
The best rule to follow when looking out for rental scams is: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. If something looks too affordable, or the room seems too nice for the price you pay, it probably is not real.
The city council’s guidelines also offer some important things to look out for when renting. Before signing any contracts, do a thorough inspection of the room and its appliances yourself but also ask for inspection certificates. If a landlord does not allow you to do an inspection or cannot provide inspection certificates, it could be a scam. One way to verify the ownership of the flat is to get a Certificate of Occupancy, which not only proves the landlord owns the apartment but also shows certification from a technician, architect or quality surveyer.
If you do become a victim of apartment scams, you are not alone. Many other people have had the same experiences and talk about them openly. File a police report at any police station or you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to report a scam and you will be guided for how to proceed.