Survival rules in a Bucharest block of flats

Living in a block of flats in Bucharest can be a totally new, sometimes adrenaline – filled experience. There are a few rules to help you navigate the dos and don’ts of living in one of the Communist era blocks in Bucharest.

You probably know these blocks – huge, ten floors, spreading across multiple entrances. Most of the time cheaper, and definitely more frequently found than houses in Bucharest. If you live in a smaller block of flats, you might be among the lucky ones, but beware, some of the tips below might still apply.

Almost from the moment you move in, neighbors will know you’re a foreigner – the news will spread. Some will like you form the start just because of that, others might not, and somehow will have the tendency to blame things on you. Keep that in mind, as when a nosy neighbor is upset with you, he or she can become annoying and disturb your peaceful life.

Find out where you pay your monthly maintenance fees ‘intretinere‘ and try to pay it on time. People who live in Bucharest block of flats have to pay something called ‘intretinere‘, which includes heating, running water, cleaning services for common areas, the salaries of people who work for the association (including for the person who cashes in the ‘intretinere‘).

This is not a fixed amount, it varies from flat to flat, with the size of the apartment and the number of people living there, and seasonally – higher during winter months because of the heating. Every month, the administrator will display a list of these costs per apartment. Make sure you pay it on time, and that at least you don’t allow several months of due ‘intretinere‘ to pile up. Most administrators create a ‘shame list’, highlighting who has not paid their monthly dues, so ‘friendly’ and nosy neighbors might remind you from time to time.

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