Housing Guide: Keys to Living in Madrid

Tips for finding housing in Madrid.

Apartment hunting can be an exciting time, but it’s also a stressful process. Many of you are probably wondering, “Where do I begin?” or “What neighborhood is best for me?” The list of questions goes on and on, but the Smart Insiders Housing Guide is ready to help you find the perfect place to stay in Madrid! Ready, set, Apartment Hunt!

What’s the best district for me?

Argüelles / Moncloa

These lively university districts are located northwest of the city center. This is a great option for Erasmus and study abroad students who are looking for young and fun-loving neighbors!


Malasaña is an artsy, alternative neighborhood with colorful streets filled with cafés, restaurants, and artisanal shops. For those who love funky vintage shops and cool bars, this is the place for you!


A few steps from Gran Vía, this neighborhood is known for being the heart of the LGBT community. It’s full of bars, restaurants, and cafes and also is home to some of the best nightlife in Madrid!


If you’re new to the city, Sol is a great place to dive in! This is the city center of Madrid and home to some of the most famous landmarks. You’ll be right next door to Plaza Mayor, the Mercado de San Miguel, and Puerta del Sol. 


This neighborhood is calm and quiet, but it’s still an easy commute to the center. There are a great selection of restaurants and stores, as well as stunning architecture, museums, and government buildings.

La Latina

This neighborhood is walking distance from the city center and has many theaters, restaurants, and bars. You’ll also be right next door to the famous El Rastro market on Sunday mornings!

What types of housing are available?

 International students and language assistants will have many housing options in Madrid. Most people choose to rent a room in a shared apartment, but there are also limited numbers of studio or one-bedroom apartments as well (though these tend to be more expensive!) If you’re studying, you might want to consider living in a student residency, which provides a meal plan, additional support from their staff, and the opportunity to live with your peers. Finally, if you’re looking to dive into the Spanish culture, then we recommend living with a Spanish family as part of a homestay.

What is a housing contract?

When you find your perfect apartment or room, make sure to sign a lease with your new landlord. This housing contract is essential to becoming empadronado (legally registered), which is an important step for foreigners who need a TIE (Foreign Identity Card). It’s also a good way to protect your rights as a tenant. Be wary if your landlord is reluctant or refuses to sign a lease. 

Before signing, make sure you understand the details of the contract. The contract will likely be written in Spanish, so if you need help understanding the details, ask a friend to translate, use online tools, or reach out to the Smart Insiders legal team to review your lease. Make sure to check the length of the lease, the deposit and its refund, additional monthly expenses, and rules of the house (if any). 

Where can I search for housing in Madrid?

Some housing platforms, like Idealista or Badi, are free! You can use the search features on this website to customize your search to include your preferred neighborhoods, price range, and other features. Facebook groups are also a great way to search for housing, as landlords, agencies or roommates often post about available listings. You can also choose to use secure platforms or agencies, though these options may charge a fee for their service.

Watch out for scams!

Always be cautious of scams because they do happen! One of the most common scams in Madrid occurs when a “landlord” attracts renters with photos and videos of apartments that either don’t exist or look nothing like the photos. The scammer convinces the unsuspecting renter to pay the deposit and the first month’s rent before the renter can visit the apartment. Then the scammer disappears with the money, and it can be very difficult for the police to track them down. Be careful!

It’s always best for you or a trusted friend to visit an apartment in person before paying for anything. If you are not able to do so, reach out to Smart Insiders and we can help! We are happy to tour apartments on your behalf so that you can feel confident in your future housing. Reach out to us at accommodation@smartinsiders.com.

Smart Insiders is here to help.

Looking for housing in Madrid? Fill out our Room Request Form and let us help you find the apartment that best suits your budget and needs. 
If you would like to begin house hunting before your arrival in Madrid, we also offer apartment visits. As part of this service, our dedicated staff will visit an apartment on your behalf, sending you photos and videos during or after the tour. This option allows you to avoid scams and feel confident in the legitimacy and quality of your future apartment.  If you would like more information about this option, reach out to us at accommodation@smartinsiders.com.

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