Finding a new home is the most important step toward enjoying your time in Crete, Greece. Remember that the house you choose is where you will live for the next 1-3 years. Be judicious about your choice; if you are uncertain about anything, make it a point to ask questions until you are satisfied with the answers. Once you sign a lease for a Greek home, you will find it hard to break. Greek law requires you to notify your landlord one (1) month in advance of breaking the lease unless you are moving into government quarters or PCS early. The contract is a binding, legal agreement and is not easily revoked without serious justification. CIVPERS and single E5 and above MILPERS, will be provided with assistance locating a home in the local economy.
Homes in Greece are different from those stateside. There are apartments, in-villas (generally two floors of a house) and villas (single homes within a fenced perimeter) and are smaller than homes/apartments in the United States. Therefore, you should carefully limit the total weight and items being shipped; bedrooms are smaller than normal American standards. You should not ship American appliances (stoves, dishwashers, refrigerators, washers or dryers), these items are issued for your full tour when not furnish with the property.
Do a little research first!
It is helpful if your sponsor drives you around to see the different areas. Review maps, note distances from base. Please be aware not all schools in the area offer curriculum in English and 95-98% of the accompanied personnel Home School their dependants. If you find a house on your own, provide housing personnel the landlord's name, phone number and address of the home. Housing personnel will contact the landlord and follow up with the required inspections and negotiate the rent based on fair market rents. Then, an appointment will be made with the landlord, housing representative, and the member to sign the lease contract. Rental contract negotiators at the Housing Department are bilingual, and are familiar with Greek Real Estate customs and laws. Throughout the process if you are uncertain about anything, ask questions.
At the time of the contract signing, you must bring two month's rent in euro -- (one month's rent is a security deposit against damages and the other is your first month's rent). The deposit will be returned to you, less any amounts deducted for damages when the lease is terminated. In the event that a house does not meet with the standards set forth by housing and security, a waiver will be required acknowledging the limitations of services available by the Housing Office.
Notes on economy housing!
In Crete, while there are a variety of apartments, in-villas and villas, the majority of landlords do not accept pets The Housing Department maintains an inventory of listings that will accept pets but keep in mind the size of your pet may be an issue. All of the properties listed with the Housing Department have electric split unit AC/Heating and/or fuel oil heating. It is recommended, when you are looking for housing on your own that you do not discuss or commit to a rental price since this will in most cases be higher rent than the fair market rental costs established for all listings negotiated through the housing department.