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Thessaloniki Student Housing

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					A brief Thessaloniki student housing guideBased on the Greek Ministry of
Education, there are approximately 330.000 students at Greek public
universities at any one time. Thessaloniki accounts for nearly 1/3 of the
total number of students in Greece with an estimated 100.000 students
(including those attending private colleges and other higher education
establishments).For a city of 800.000 people (city population 2011) this
means a particularly high proportion of students, which is evident from
the lively atmosphere and nightlife. The majority of the students are
coming from other Greek cities, from Europe via exchange programs and
from the Balkan countries in order to study at high quality private
colleges. Estimating that on average a full-time student spends about 4
years in Thessaloniki (excluding exchange students), this means that
there are approximately 25.000 new students in the city every year. And
they all need a place to stay...This article will provide a brief guide
to the types of available student housing, the areas, prices, and things
to be aware of regarding student accommodation in Thessaloniki.1. Types
of student accommodation1a. University public dorms.The University of
Thessaloniki offers dorms to students, based on need and mainly on
financial criteria. They are provided free of charge. In practice this
means that it is pretty difficult to get a dorm room even if you are
eligible to get one. The dorms are mostly located close to the university
campus, but their quality is very low and maintenance is a big issue,
along with issues about safety etc.1b. University Student Hostels.These
are private properties (entire buildings) which are subleased by the
University and are provided mainly to exchange students requiring
accommodation for a few weeks or months. These are usually ERASMUS
students. As of 2011 there are two student hostels, "Matsi Street 7" and
"Kassandrou Street 134", both very close to the university. They offer
fully furnished "dorm-style" rooms with ensuite private bathroom and
kitchenette (Kassandrou 134) single and double rooms, a laundry area and
wireless internet access.1c. Private hostels.For students wishing to stay
only a few days/weeks, these hostels are more appropriate and a better
solution than a hotel. However, these are hard to find as private hostels
that rent rooms/beds by the day/week are not legal in Greece unless they
are Non-Profit Organizations.1d. Private rental flats.These are
standalone flats (studio, 1 or 2 bedrooms) located all over the city that
students can rent from private owners. You can usually find them through
real estate agents (beware) or online ads. You will need to find the
appropriate one to suit your needs. Most of them are unfurnished or
partly furnished and are more suited to students who plan to stay in
Thessaloniki for a few years (as you'd have to buy electrical appliances,
fridge, cooker, etc).When you move in you will need to enter into a
contract with the electricity company DEI, the water and sewage company
EYATH and the gas company for heating (or oil if there is petroleum
central heating). Be aware that apart from the rent you will need to pay
for the monthly "communal" expenses (i.e. elevator maintenance, cleaning,
communal lighting, repairs, etc.), so check for the rough monthly amount
beforehand as this can vary wildly. This is obviously not the best
solution for a student coming to Thessaloniki for a few months or a year
as the hassle is too much.1e. Rental student studios. This is a new breed
of student housing that is very popular with both full time students as
well as exchange students. This trend began in the late 90s with just a
few companies offering this type of accommodation. The main concept is
that of a building with rental studios, where each student has his own
private fully furnished room with en-suite bathroom and fully equipped
kitchenette. This creates in effect a private high quality dormitory with
single bed studios. The student atmosphere is maintained along with the
feeling of privacy and safety.Some companies offer additional amenities
such as a laundry area, gym, storage for bulky items, bicycle parking,
etc. This solves the main problems a student would have if he rented a
studio from a private owner. In addition to this, some companies offer an
ALL IN rent which includes the cost of heating, electricity, water,
communal expenses, etc. even a fixed line ADSL internet connection. This
way students won't have to deal with the Greek public authorities in
order to get a contract for everything. This is especially suitable for
exchange students who don't have the time or knowledge to deal with
this.Finally, some companies also offer a number of additional safety
measures (fire alarms, access control cards, etc). There is usually a
porter at these buildings for anything that the students may need.
However, be careful which company you choose as few offer all of the
above.2. Student accommodation areasSince the university campus is in the
city center of Thessaloniki, the most popular student accommodation areas
are also there. However, since the city center is expensive, most
students look for properties to rent near the university above Egnatia
street and mostly around the streets of Agiou Dimitriou and Kassandrou.
This is also where many student shops and cafes are located.Other areas
popular with students are towards the east side of the city such as Depo,
Toumpa, Harilaou, etc. These however are far from the center on foot and
lack the distinct "student feel" of the areas near the university. In
addition, traffic can be very bad at certain times of the day towards the
university.Overall, both the city center and the areas to the east are
very safe all day long.Lastly, there are the areas to the west of the
city center such as Stavroupoli, Evosmos, etc. where rent prices are
lower but these areas are not favored by students. They are very densely
populated and traffic is also a problem, plus many students (and
especially their parents) do not choose these areas as they have a
reputation for higher crime rates.3. Accommodation pricesRent prices
range from 200 euros per month for a standalone studio in Evosmos to 650
euros per month for a 2 bedroom apartment in the city center. The
communal expenses can also range from 15 euros for a studio without
central heating to 80 euros per month for an apartment with central
heating. Of course rent prices can fluctuate depending on the condition
of the flat/studio.On average a student will pay about 350euros for an
unfurnished studio near the university plus 30euros/month for communal
expenses. Don't forget to add the monthly cost of electricity, water,
heating, telephone/internet, etc to this.ALL IN prices for the organized
student studios which offer all kinds of amenities and include
electricity bills, water bills, heating, hot water, internet, laundry,
gym, etc. can range from 390 to 460 euros per month for a furnished
studio near the university. For the average student who wants to have the
privacy of his own place, but also live the student life, this is the
most economical option which also saves him the hassle and stress of
dealing with the Greek public sector. One last advantage is that you can
plan your budget ahead, as you know how much your living costs will be,
so there will be no surprises at the end of the month...4. Legal issuesIn
order to rent a private property you need to know the following:If you
are a EU citizen, you will need to get a Tax Registration Number
(ΑΦΜ) from the local tax office. This is an easy procedure
that takes 5 minutes and that only requires your passport. If you are a
non-EU citizen you first need to get a residence permit and then get the
above Tax Registration Number. This is absolutely necessary in order to
legally rent a property in Greece.If you stay at a hotel you need to know
that you cannot stay for more than 3 months.If you rent a property, you
have to sign a lease.Do not accept to stay at rental rooms without
signing a lease as this could get you in trouble. You need to know that
it's illegal to stay anywhere without a lease, unless it is a
hotel.Always insist that the landlord hands you back a copy of the lease
"stamped" by the tax office. It is not uncommon for landlords to rent
properties without a lease or without an official "stamped" lease - this
is illegal. Do not put yourself in a position where you could get in
trouble. Always demand to sign a formal lease.

				
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