You can contact the landlords directly through the newspaper classifieds- although this will require some knowledge of Russian. In reality, most of the ads are real estate agencies adverts.
The easiest option would be to register with an agency. Tell them what type of place you’re looking for and they’ll do the searching. After offering you a few options, you’ll need to arrange viewings. Once you’ve found a suitable place within your budget you’ll need to sign a lease contract.
If arranging accommodation in Russia from abroad, you may want to consider renting a place short-term. That way you’ll have time to consider the options the agent will present to you.
It is better to deal with a well-established agency to avoid any complications, especially if your Russian is a bit rusty.
Before moving to a great-looking flat in a historic district check what amenities are nearby, such as a grocers and public transport.
The real estate company will charge a commission based on the length of the contract and the type of apartment. This one-time fee is paid when the contract is signed. While there’s not usually a charge for short-term rentals, a deposit may be required.
Viewing an apartment
Like anywhere, finding suitable accommodation in Russia can take some time. When a real estate agent is showing you an apartment, make sure to check the bathrooms, kitchens and storage in detail.
Additionally, ask what type of hot water the apartment has- electric or centralized. An electric water boiler can be useful during the summer when the centralized hot water is turned off for pipe repairs.
Before signing the contract, be sure that your landlord is legitimate. A reputable agency should do this for you, as part of their commission. Rent is paid in cash, on a monthly or a quarterly basis.