Depending on the landlord, utility expenses and community fees may or may not be included in the rent. Community fees usually cover the costs of general maintenance and sometimes one or more of the utilities. Just be sure to ask which items you will have to pay for individually (gas, electricity and water bills all add up and can end up being a large expense). If you have car, make sure you have a clear understanding with the owner about where you can park.
The main electricity in Romania is 220 volts and 50 Hz. British and American plugs differ from Romanian ones, so you may need to bring or buy a transformer and/or adapter for your electrical appliances. Bills can be paid at Electrica’s offices (the company that provides electricity), post offices and some banks. Power cuts are not common, but do happen, more in rural areas. If you use a computer, consider getting an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) with a battery back-up, which allows you time (up to 20 minutes depending on the UPS) to save your work and shut down your computer in the event of a power failure.
Some houses and apartments use gas for heating devices and/or cooking. Bills can be paid at the office of the gas company’s office, post offices or some banks. Most apartment buildings are centrally heating. Before renting or buying a place, ask the owner about the type of heating that is used and whether it is billed individually or included in the community charges.
The water supply in Romania - like many other areas of infrastructure - has suffered from years of under-investment. Many cities suffer from massive water leaks due to aging pipes. In the countryside, over a third of rural properties aren’t connected to water and only one in ten towns has a generalized sewerage system. Nevertheless, water is safe to drink in the cities. Many people in rural areas drink bottled water and only use tap water for washing up and watering the garden. If you have a delicate stomach, stick to bottled water!
Most properties that are connected to water mains are metered, so that you pay only for the water you use and are charged per cubic metre (1,000 liters). When moving into a new house, ask the local water company to read your meter and transfer the account to your name. Water shortages are rare in the towns and cities (although they do occur in summer), but are common in some rural areas. It is possible to have a storage tank installed for emergencies and you should also keep a back-up supply for watering the garden or alternatively recycle your waste house water.
Properties in urban areas are usually connected to drainage pipes, whereas those in rural areas usually have individual sewage systems. Check this issue before buying or renting a house because you do not want to be in the position to build your sewage system. If you are renting a property it is a good idea to find out who is responsible for emptying a septic tank, how often this is needed and how much it costs.