Housing in Croatia
From the moment you apply for international protection you have the right to have accommodation in Croatia. If you have no means to support yourself and pay for your accommodation, you will be placed in reception centre.
There are two reception centres in Croatia. One is in the capital city Zagreb and the other is in Kutina, 80 km from the capital city. Both are open type accommodations, which means you can enter and exit freely with exceptions which are prescribed with the House Rules of each reception centre. In any case, you have to be available to officials who examine your asylum application.
Are there special provisions for vulnerable groups?
When you are accommodated in reception centre your individual circumstances will be taken into account. Families are accommodated together. Women who are alone and unaccompanied children are placed separately.
If you are:
- person with disability or with chronic and severe illness,
- pregnant women,
- older person,
- single parent with underaged children,
- victim of trafficking in human beings,
- victim of torture,
- victim of female genital mutilation,
- victim of physical, sexual and psychological violence
you are considered as member of vulnerable group.
It is advisable to communicate this in confidence to officials in charge of your asylum application, authorities in reception centre or persons who provide psycho-social support in centre.
What will I get in reception centre?
In reception centre you will have your basic material needs satisfied: food, clothes and hygienic accessories. You will also receive a small amount of pocket-money.
In reception centres basic health care services are available and recreational, educational and occupational activities for those who are accommodated there. Usually, psycho-social and legal help and support is provided by various organizations that are active there.
How long will I stay in reception centre?
Your accommodation in the reception centre will last until your asylum application is decided upon. In Croatia this procedure can take from month or two for those who are relocated or resettled, up to more than a year.
Government funded housing
When you are granted international protection, you are entitled to a government-funded accommodation for up to 2 years from the day of the decision. State agency in charge of housing will offer you an apartment or a house. The size will depend on whether you are alone or with family as well as number of the family members.
If you accept the offered accommodation, you will need to sign a housing contract with the state agency. If you decline the proposed accommodation, there is a possibility you will not be offered another one.
What do I have to pay while I am in government funded accommodation?
You will not have to pay for the offered accommodation during these two years, if you have no money. You will also not have to pay bills for the utilities like water, electricity, gas, heating. Telecommunication services like land or mobile telephony, internet services or TV services you will have to pay yourself.
However, if you find a job and earn more than 2500 kn (if you are single) or more than 1500 kn per member of your family, you will have to pay a part of your housing costs, depending on how much you earn.
Can I lose the right to accommodation?
You can lose your accommodation right in government-funded apartment if you do not live there for more than thirty days. If you want to stay somewhere else longer than thirty days and still keep your government-funded accommodation you will have to justify your absence and get the approval of the state agency with which you signed the contract.
Living in the apartment building and in the neighbourhood, you will have to follow certain house rules (link to Living in the community and neighbourhood). It is possible that residents who do not follow the housing rules lose their right to given accommodation (they might be evicted).
You should take care of the overall interior and exterior of your new home, including walls, floors, furniture, outside stairs or yard (if there is one). This means that you should keep them tidy and clean, and if you do damage something (which is normal to happen sometimes), you should inform the agency you have a contract with.
It is advisable to put your full name on your mailbox as soon as you move in to your house or apartment in order to receive mail and important notifications.
Two years after your asylum is granted, your right to government-funded housing expires.
You will know in advance when the time to move out from your accommodation will be. It is good to prepare for this by saving some money and starting to search for your new house or a flat a few months before. You will need some time because it is often difficult to find housing.
How to find it?
The most common way of looking for a new place to live in Croatia is through online advertisements or trough real estate agencies. There are also real estate agencies who can look for an apartment or a house for you, but for that you will have to pay a certain fee. Some rental offers can be found in newspaper as well.
If you live in a rented flat, you are a tenant. Tenants rent their flats from a landlord, which is the company or person that owns the flat. You and your landlord should sign a contract. You will also need this contract in order to register your new address.
What are my rights & obligations as a tenant?
Rental contract defines your rights and obligations as a tenant.
If something stops working or breaks in the flat (e.g. a refrigerator or a cooker), the landlord must repair or replace it. As a tenant you do not have to pay for such repairs – unless you were the one who caused the damage, in which case you may be obliged to pay for repairs. Normally tenant and the landlord inspect the flat before moving in, in order to make sure that there are no damages.
Most likely you will have to pay your rent monthly, according to the contract. Usually, rent does not include the costs of utilities so you will have to pay bills for electricity, water, gas and maintenance each month. If you do not pay these bills within a month, you will get a notification and interest rate for late payment will be included in your bill.
If you want to move, you always have a right as a tenant to terminate the contract on your flat. However, you may have to continue paying for the flat during a period of time that is specified in your rental contract.
Your landlord can also terminate the contract if you:
- do not pay the rent or utilities within the agreed deadline;
- transfer or sublet the flat without the landlord’s permission;
- disturb the other residents;
- host a person for longer than 30 days and do not notify the landlord about it, unless this person is a member of your family or you are obliged to take care of them by law;
- use the flat for other ends than it is intended for, e.g. criminal activity or extensive business activity.
In these cases, if your landlord wants to terminate the contract, he/she needs to give you a written warning. With this warning your landlord must give you 30 days to remove the mentioned causes for the termination.
Furthermore, if you as the tenant:
- cause damage to in the common residential areas and the damage is not removed within 30 days;
- change the common residential areas without previous written consent from the landlord.
In those cases, the landlord must give you a written notification on the termination of the contract and must give you minimally 15 days to move out.
What if you do not have a place to live?
If you are unable to continue living in the apartment or a house you were living in and do not have any other place to go, there are some other temporary options.
You should immediately contact the nearest Centre for Social Welfare, according to the address from your ID, and explain your situation. The social worker can offer you a temporary housing in the shelter.
You have the right to sheltered accommodation if you have a valid ID card and a residence right and you have no means to support yourself.
There are shelters where you can stay overnight and have one meal or
you can be accommodated in the shelter where you can stay during the whole day. In this case, a room will be appointed to you. Have in mind you will have to share the room with at least one person. You will have meals provided within the shelter. However, in this case you will lose your right to financial welfare assistance (if you have been receiving it) and will be provided only with the “pocket money”.
These are merely temporary options offered to people in need. You can stay in the shelter until you are able to finance new accommodation for yourself.
Do I need to change my documents when I move?
When you move from one place to another you have to report a change of address within 15 days. You can do that by filling a form in the local police station.
You need to bring your ID or a valid passport. If you are a tenant you need to bring your rental contract and a written consent of your landlord. Your landlord can also go with you to the police station and give consent for you to be registered on the address of the accommodation he/she is renting you. After registering to a new address, you need to change your ID within 15 days of the change.
Further information & links
Web sources for finding accommodation:
Who can help me to find accommodation?
Where to turn to if my rights as tenant are violated?
What are the costs of renting apartment in Croatia?
Can I by an apartment or a house in Croatia?