Hostels are probably the cheapest and most sociable option and a great way to meet people from all over the world. On the downside, they are not the most comfortable or quiet option and if you like your privacy, it may not be for you. Though they can be a good idea for a week or two when first arriving while you inspect apartments and work out which barrio you want to live in longer term.
The facilities and services vary from hostel to hostel but will generally include two to four person rooms, a shared bathroom, free internet access and security. Be sure to check that the dorms have heating and air conditioning.
Average rent: around US$ 300 to US$ 500 per month
Where to find:
Home-stays are very common for short-term language students in Argentina. The host families are carefully selected and will vary from single people or couples in privately owned apartments to a family in a large house.
Students who’ve had a good experience with a host family will strongly recommend it as it’s great for cultural immersion and your every-day language, plus you’ll be well looked after. You’ll have the luxury of home cooked meals (unless you want to eat separately), a furnished room, telephone and internet access and someone to clean your room / bathroom and change your sheets. However, some students do have bad experiences and feel restricted by curfews or rules imposed upon them.
Average costs: US$ 400 to US$ 700 per month depending on whether you want meals included
Where to find:
- Ask your language school
Shared house / apartment
If you’re in need of more independence then look into renting a room in a shared house. Rooms are advertised via craigslist as well as classifieds in daily papers such as Clarín and La Nacíon. If you’re going to be in Buenos Aires, check out the listings in local English-language paper the Buenos Aires Herald (www.buenosairesherald.com) and Craigslist Buenos Aires.
Average rent: US$ 350 to US$ 600 per month for a room
Where to find:
If you want to rent your own studio or apartment, you will likely have to go through a local estate agency (inmobiliaria). You can find listings of available places on most agencies’ websites. Once you’ve found somewhere, a contract will be drawn up and you will be required to pay a deposit (usually one month’s rent) plus a commission to the housing agency (also one month’s rent).
Be aware that going through local agencies can sometimes be problematic as you may be asked for a garantia (a signed statement from a property owner in Argentina who is responsible for your rent and bills if you don’t pay them). These are hard to come by as a foreigner and if you don’t have one you may be asked to pay anything from three to 12 months rent upfront.
Private apartments are also advertised on Craigslist and in the classifieds section of local newspapers and websites.
Average costs: US$ 400 to US$800+ per month depending on size and location
Where to find:
- Craigslist Buenos Aires
- casa34.com (more expensive, upmarket)
- Local real estate agencies (inmobiliaria) in Buenos Aires
Checking into an apartment
When you arrive to your apartment you should be met by the owner and a rental agent (if you used one). The process is simple and the paper work is standard. You will receive an itemized list of apartment contents with USD replacement costs. You are expected to look it over and check everything is there. Make sure the larger items (electronics) are in working order. If you have a computer check that the wifi is working. If Internet is included in the rental then it is up to the owner to make sure it is working for you. Sometimes a technician will need to be called in to configure your computer (paid for by the owner). Don’t forget to mark down the password.
A local phone line should also be included in the rent. You can call other land lines from it, but not cell phones. Making international calls or calls to cell phones can be done with Skype or other services. Friends and family will of course be able to call you. There should be an answering service included with your phone line which is accessed by a code.
If you have amenities like a pool, gym, parrilla or laundry ask what the procedure is for using them if it hasn’t been made clear. Also make sure that the heating / air conditioning is working and the hot water is turned on. Check out the stove and have them show you how to light the oven if you are not sure.
When you check out, make sure to get your deposit back before handing the keys over and don’t leave it to the last minute just in case there are problems. Most rental experiences go off without a hitch, however, there have been some cases of bad landlords and rental agents. If ever you have a problem with an Argentine business it is usually good to mention going to AFIP (the tax man) to get them a bit more cooperative. Also, post any problems on the forum. Other people may have already been through it.
Bills & utilities
The rent for shared houses or private apartments usually includes all bills, internet, phone line and other building charges but be sure to check before signing the contract. Some serviced apartments will also include cleaning ladies and laundry services.
Many private apartments and shared houses don’t come with washing machines but you will find numerous launderettes (lavanderías) in the neighborhood where you can take your laundry to be washed and dried. Laundry is either charged by weight or itemized and rates are cheap. A load of washing (and drying) will cost around 14 to 18 pesos. Dry Cleaners (tintorerías) are also in abundance.