What came first, the bank account or the accommodation?

What came first, the bank account or the accommodation? by x1brett

This article was written by Global Graduates, published on 10th August 2015 and has been read 5275 times.

We all know about the banking-accommodation paradox. The one that means you can't rent a flat without a bank account, but can't open a bank account without a flat. Here's how students have resolved the seemingly impossible dilemma.

A bank account and somewhere to live are two of the first things you want to sort out when you move to a different country. It's not exactly ideal, then, when your potential landlord asks you to provide details of a (non-British) bank account or your bank manager asks you for proof of a (local) address.

About to leave for your year abroad? Fear not! Countless students have tackled this conundrum and survived to tell the tale. Here's how they did it...

1. Florence Robson (year abroad in Madrid)

I was lucky enough to have Spanish family friends who lived in Madrid (my year abroad location). As well as putting me up while I hunted for a flat, they also did me an enormous favour by paying my deposit from their (Spanish) bank account, meaning I could sidestep the chaos of trying to open my own account before I'd signed a contract for a flat. I then transferred money to my dad from my UK account, and he transferred it back to my Spanish friends using his international business account. See? Couldn't be simpler.

Once my flat was all sorted, I was able to open a non-residents' bank account. After queuing for a NIE for hours, I was able to turn it into a residents' bank account relatively simply (worth the extra paperwork, as non-residents' bank accounts are subject to extra charges).

After all that kerfuffle, my landlords turned out to be tax dodgers and asked for the monthly rent in cash. 

Tip to take away: Take advantage of any close friends who live locally. They may be willing to let you use their address or bank account temporarily so that you can secure accommodation.

2. Lizzie Fane (year abroad in Florence)

I spent my year abroad in Italy, where you need a tax code or codice fiscale in order to rent accommodation. To get a tax code you need (you guessed it) accommodation. That ended up being a bigger problem than having an Italian bank account.

The way I got around it was by sweet-talking the landlady - she agreed to let me stay in the flat for one month without the tax code, after I promised to get one asap. Once I had one, I was able to make the arrangement official!

Tip to take away: Remember that your landlord/lady is a human being and explain your situation. Often they'll be understanding and help you to reach a compromise.

3. Lauren Stevens (year abroad in Melilla)

Depending on your bank, the commission isn't always so bad to take money out of a cash machine using an English card, and I paid my deposit and first month's rent doing that. You can always use a friend's address (some of my friends used mine) or the organisation's where you will be.

Tip to take away: Ask your landlord if they're happy for you to pay your deposit in cash. If not, use the address of the university where you'll be studying/school or business where you'll be working in order to open a bank account. You can always change it later.

How did you conquer the bank account - accommodation paradox? Let us know in the comments below!

If you're preparing to spend time abroad, it's worth considering a Fair FX currency card instead of setting up a foreign bank account. Find out more!

For 20% off the booking fee for your accommodation abroad, visit UniPlaces.com and use code THIRDYEARABROAD :)

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