Updated on 23.12.2022

If you are an asylum-seeker or you have refugee status, humanitarian (subsidiary) protection or temporary protection, you can rent an apartment or a house in Bulgaria.

Important: If you are an asylum seeker and your asylum procedure is still ongoing (there is no final decision on your application for international protection yet), you need to ask the State Agency for Refugees (SAR) in Bulgaria for written permission to live outside SAR’s refugee camps.

To get this permission:

  • You need to present to SAR a rental contract for the place where you are going to live in. Your name must be listed in the rental contract as a “tenant”.
  • If you do not have a rental contract for some reason, you need a notarized declaration signed by the owner of the place where you will live in which he/she states that they agree for you to live there. Notarization is done by a notary.

SAR will give you permission after they check the address and confirm that you can live at the apartment you have chosen. They do this by sending a police officer to visit the place.

Where can I find apartments for rent?

You can find an apartment in Bulgaria through:

  • Real estate agencies

To avoid scams you may check the legitimacy of the agency you chose on the webpage of the National Real Estate Association. You have the option to search for agencies by city.  If the name of the agency is listed there, it is less likely to be a scam.

The real estate agencies charge a minimum of 50% commission of one month rent and 20% VAT (value-added tax). The commission can be even higher, depending on the agency. It should only be paid once.

  • By word of mouth
  • The Bulgarian Red Cross also provides assistance for finding an apartment. See more information here:


  • Online

The main websites for finding properties in Bulgaria are (available in Bulgarian) and (available in English and Bulgarian). In these webpages you will also see advertisements that are posted both by owners and real estate agents. This means that you will have to pay a commission, if you decide to rent a place offered by an agent.

Once you see an apartment you are interested in, you can call the provided number and request to view the apartment. The owner or a real estate agent will arrange for you to visit the apartment.

Rental contract

Once you find an apartment, the next step is to prepare and sign a rental contract.  The rental contract describes the terms between you and the landlord - your obligations and rights. It should include several points:

  1. the names and ID/passport number of all people signing the contract as well as the address of the property;

If you are an asylum seeker and your procedure for international protection is ongoing, your passport is probably with the State Agency for Refugees (SAR). You can ask SAR to give you back your passport to sign the contract. In case you do not have a passport at all (e.g. it lost, destroyed) and you only have your green registration card as an asylum seeker, explain to the landlord that the registration card verifies that you have the right to legally stay in Bulgaria.

The contract must have your name included. If you decide to share a flat with a friend, you must definitely make sure that all of your names are included in the contract (not only his/hers or yours). You will later need this contract to be issued a Bulgarian identity document.

  1. the price of the rent, when it should be paid and the payment methods – bank transfer or cash;
  2. the security deposit – how and when it will be paid and under what conditions it will be returned to you (see also bellow “Security deposit”);
  3. the start and the end date of the contract
  4. how, when and under what conditions each party is allowed to terminate the contract
  5. whether or not you are allowed to sublet the apartment to other people
  6. Who will cover small and major repairs
  7. Other points

If you do not speak Bulgarian language, ask the landlord for a contract that has at least English translation on the side. Do not sign anything you do not understand!

The contract must always be signed in two identical copies – one for you and one for the landlord. Do not forget to also put your signature on every contract page. This is to avoid future alterations in the contract.

Usually, a rental contract is signed for 1 year. If after the end of the rental period you continue to live in the apartment with the knowledge and consent of the landlord, the contract is considered extended for an indefinite period but for no more than 10 years.

If you decide to leave the place earlier than the rent period, you should be able to do this with a written one-month notice without paying any further rents and without losing your security deposit. However, in your contract you may have agreed to something else, therefore carefully read what is written in it. Sometimes landlords include a clause in the contract, stating that you cannot, for example, leave the apartment earlier than 6 months and if you do that - then you may lose your deposit and be forced to pay extra rents.

Property inventory

In addition to the rental contract, always prepare and sign a property inventory in two identical copies – one for you and one for the landlord. This is list of all the furniture and any other items that the landlord left in the apartment for you to use. Make sure to check if all the listed items are actually in the apartment and also check their condition - if they work, if they have any damage or scratches etc. 

To protect yourself, make a note in the property inventory if some of the items are broken or damaged so that later the landlord cannot claim you have caused the damage and asks you to pay to fix the issue. You must sign the same property inventory when you leave the apartment – so that the landlord has no claims against you after you no longer live in his/her property.

Security deposit

When renting an apartment, in addition to the monthly rent, you will have to pay a security deposit of 1 or 2- month-rents in advance. The security deposit amount should be mentioned in the rental contract.

You should receive your deposit back after you move out of the apartment. However, if you caused any damage to the apartment, left unpaid bills or in any other case foreseen in the contract, the landlord can keep the entire or part of the deposit to cover such expenses.

Rent prices

Prices of rental apartments/houses vary depending on the size and area where you want to live. Usually, rental prices are higher in Sofia than in the rest of Bulgaria. A furnished apartment is more expensive than an unfurnished one.

If you don't pay your rent the owner of the apartment has the right to evict you and keep your security deposit.

If you pay your rent in cash, make sure you receive a written receipt for each payment you make. This receipt must be signed by the landlord and you.

Utility bills and additional monthly fees

Utility bills

Your rent will probably not include bills such as electricity, water, WiFi and heating costs. In this case you will have to pay those separately. It must be clearly stated in the rental contract how you will pay the bills – will the landlord cover them and provide you with a receipt for each payment so that you pay him/her back or will you have to go to the respective offices to pay the bills and provide the receipts to the landlord.

Government taxes

The rental contract must clearly state that the landlord will cover state taxes, e.g. property tax.

Entrance fee

This is the fee usually paid for maintaining and cleaning the common areas of the apartment building - entrance, elevator etc. It should be clearly stated in the rental contract who will pay this fee. It is usually around 5 BGN per month.

Other useful tips

  • Never rent an apartment and make payments without seeing it first. Some advertisements that are available online (posted by random people or real estate agents) might be outdated or fake, especially if the deal looks too good to be true. 
  • Always read the rental contract carefully and do not sign it before doing so. If possible, ask someone else (preferably a lawyer) to read it too and give their opinion.
  • Always take pictures of the apartment and the furniture before you move into it (if it is possible, with a date stamp). Send these pictures to the landlord and keep them until you leave the place. This may help you in the future if you have to prove that you did not do any damage to the apartment.
  • Do not make major repairs/replacements/construction work in the apartment without informing the owner of the place and getting their explicit consent, preferably in written form. This issue should be arranged in the rental contract.