Finding a rental property
In Luxembourg, supply of housing is low but demand high.
According to Eurostat, rental prices across Europe have gone up by 16% on average since 2010, with Luxembourg close to this average. However, this is nothing to the increase in house prices for Luxembourg - an increase of 117% over the same period.
However, if you are moving from overseas, and unsure of how long you'll stay, then renting a property is the cheapest accommodation option.
Good to know before you rent
The government recently revised the subsidy for rent and you might qualify for between €200-400 a month in rental subsidy. A single person earning up to €3.126,83 will get a subsidy of €200, a couple on €4.800,49 will receive €360 a month and a family with three children or more can receive up to €400 depending on their income. You can find a table listing the income brackets here, although you may qualify for a slightly lower subsidy than the maximum, so it's worth checking.
To qualify for the subsidy you must be legally residing in Luxembourg, have a regular income, and your rent must be more than 25% of your monthly income. You should have a signed lease, and the rental should be your main and permanent residence (you should not have another accommodation).
Legal changes for renters
It's not law yet, as it still must be debated in parliament, but a draft bill has set up a number of laws to tackle issues for renters.
Tenants and landlords would have to split fees agency fees, and security deposits paid to landlords would be reduced to a maximum of 2 months' rent (currently it's 3 months' rent).
The maximum amount that rental prices could be set or increased would be cut from 5% of the capital invested in the dwelling to 3.5% on energy efficient properties with an energy rating of A-E, and 3% on those with a poor rating (F-I).
Tenants leaving a property in good condition should receive half of their deposit within a month, with the remainder paid after the annual account settlement of common charges. If a landlord deems the property not to be in good condition (above fair wear and tear), they must provide proof within the first month the property is vacated, or face a late fee fine of up to 10% of the monthly rent. Charges for furniture are also limited, and there are clearer rules on responsibilities for flat sharing known as Wunngesmeinschaften.
Finally a separate bill seeks to charge a progressive tax on unoccupied properties that could be sold or rented.
Deciding on a location
Work and school locations are the two biggest influencers in deciding where you should rent. Whilst public transport is free in Luxembourg, journey times can quadruple during rush hour making even short commutes time-consuming.
Check out schools locations and bus/train timetable routes. Generally speaking, city locations tend to favour apartments whilst the suburbs have a greater number of houses with gardens.
Budget will be a big factor in your location. The average monthly rental cost for an apartment in Luxembourg at the end June 2022 was €1,479 (€1,539 in Luxembourg City) and for a house €3,249 (€4,420 in Luxembourg City) according to the Housing Observatory which lists the latest rental price trends here. Average rental for apartments shows a slight drop, whilst that for a house have gone up.
You can find more about the areas in Luxembourg from our In the Neighbourhood series.
Because it’s a landlords' market, you’ll find you’re chasing estate agents. If you’re coming from overseas for a pre-visit, you can line up house viewings in one day. Expect estate agents to find properties at the top end of your budget.
Remember that notice periods can be 2-3 months, so start your property search in plenty of time. Many estate agencies specialise in specific localities, so if you know where you want to live, register with them (you can use the sites below which aggregate other agency adverts).
Beyond estate agencies, private rentals are posted on www.wortimmo.lu, which is also an aggregator site. Don’t forget to ask around at work, someone might be moving or renting their property.
Estate agencies will expect a month’s rent plus VAT in fees. There are also options for flatshares, houseshares and furnished apartments in addition to student accommodation. You can find out more about temporary accommodation and short-term lets here.
The online estate agencies are a good place to start your rental search:
- www.home.editus.lu/en (for a list of smaller agencies)
- www.myspace.lu/ (for furnished apartments)
- www.vaubanfort.lu/ (flatshare inclusive rentals)
- www.luxfriends.eu/en/ (house share)
- www.erasmusu.com/en/ (student accommodation)
You can also find places to rent on social media, including Marketplace.
Are utilities included?
Unfurnished rentals do not usually include gas (or oil), electricity, telephone, broadband, rubbish collection, and water rates, but some city apartments may include these in the rental price. Apartment and house shares will often offer all-inclusive rates and provide furnishings including a TV.
Many properties will list energy ratings and you can ask the current tenants what the utilities cost. Expect to add a couple of hundred a month to your rental costs for these if you rent a house. For more information on getting your utilities switched on, read our article Need a connection?
Things to know before you sign
In addition to utilities you may have responsibility for other elements of the property. Contracts can include servicing the boiler, sweeping out chimneys and maintenance of the garden.
Contrat de bail à loyer (rental contract)
Contracts vary, but generally the standard is 1-2 years with a diplomatic clause. Be aware, that you literally have to leave the country to invoke this. It is getting easier to secure one-year contracts but specify this with the estate agent.
If your rental property includes some utilities, the landlord has the right to reconcile costs at the end of the year and it is not unheard of for people to receive quite hefty gas and electricity reconciliation bills.
Equally, repairs can sometimes take landlords an eon to conduct, so consider adding a clause that states the landlord must repair essentials such as heating, the dishwasher or oven within a maximum time limit.
Guichet.lu has details on entering a rental agreement here.
Dépôt de garantie (deposit or bond)
A refundable deposit is usually required in cash or more commonly via a bank guarantee, which is paid into an account in the tenant’s name, but requires authorisation from both parties for money to be released.
A deposit cannot exceed 3 month’s rent and must be refunded minus cost of repairs or service charges within 6 months of the end of the lease – so expect to wait to get it back.
The law on this may change soon as a bill has been put forward to parliament capping a deposit at 2 months' rent and insisting that at least 50% is returned within one month unless the landlord can prove damage over and above normal wear and tear.
Etats des lieux (inventory)
Before or on the day you move in, your landlord or the agent will go through a rental inventory with you, listing everything included in the property and the state of this. It might be extra stress, but be careful to go through this a room at a time, as you might find you are charged for damage that you didn’t make when you leave the property.
This is also a useful time to check you know how the oven, dishwasher heating, hot water etc work. Gardening equipment such as lawnmowers, and washing machines, light fittings and curtains are usually not included in the rental.
You will both sign the Etats des Lieux and when you leave your rental property you will both need to sign this again to release deposit funds. For details on the rental inventory from guichet.lu click here.
You will be contractually required to have household and fire insurance covering the building, and insurance to cover contents supplied by the landlord such as a fully equipped kitchen.
You can find at all you need to know about insurance in Luxembourg here.
If you have a problem with any of the equipment provided ie heating, dishwasher, oven, you should be able to call the estate agent or landlord directly to fix these.
Most contracts state that the property must be left in the condition you rented it. If your children have left sticky handprints all over the paintwork or scratched the parquet flooring, expect to be charged for these to be redecorated or repaired.
Notice on a rental property must be given usually 3 months before the end of the contract in writing and sent by registered post. Check your contract for the stipulated notice. Those sharing a flat or subletting a room in a house share might have different terms and should check with the company or person from whom they rent.
The landlord has the right to show prospective tenants the property in the final three months if you have given notice. If you want to leave early and can find a tenant who is acceptable to the landlord, you might be able to circumvent the contract. The landlord also has the right to give notice on a property if s/he intends to sell it.