To Rent and Live in Gibraltar

This is a follow-up post to sum up our two days of apartment hunting in Gibraltar. (No I Won't Be Staying in Gib) Hopefully this will help anyone who is interested in moving to Gibraltar.

Though the economic crisis has hit world-round, it is still very expensive to live in Gibraltar. Housing is very expensive because space is at a premium. At the very least, expect to pay £700 (sterling) a month for a small studio. Average is £1200 for one or two bedroom.
One of MANY estate agencies in Gibraltar

A short-term lease is six months; most prefer one year. If you want to let for less than six months, then you are looking at holiday rental and that is something completely different.

Everything in Gib is stacked, so expect to find large blocks of high-rise flats. Each area has a name and stigma. We kept hearing over and over to avoid Cockroach Heights (Ocean Heights, not to be confused with Ocean Village). We definitely listened to THAT advice, even though the rent at Ocean Heights is the cheapest.

Helpful Real Estate Agents in Gibraltar

You will find many estate agents that can provide information for flat letting in Gibraltar, as well as along Costa del Sol in Spain. Since our budget and time is rangebound, we found some very nice and helpful agents at these companies: 

Seekers Property

Agencies display rentals and real estate

Living in Spain rather than Gibraltar

After deciding that we wouldn’t live in Gibraltar, we set our sites on Spain.

Postings on Sunday 30 July 2011
La Linea: 4 bedrooms, 2 bath =  £1300 per month

Most people that work in Gib will live in one of the neighboring towns in Spain and commute. Rent is a little less expensive when you get into Spain.

Across the border is the town of La Línea de la Concepción (known here as La Línea). I would compare La Línea to any other border town: a bit rough and ready. Since I was to be alone most of the time, I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of living here. We met one person that had a nice little flat in La Linea and was happy living there. But, he wasn't a single woman, and he agrees that the town is a bit rough.

I met people that commute from Fuengirola, Marbella, Los Barrios, and Tarifa and have no problems.

Will that be Sterling or Euros?

If you rent in Gibraltar, you pay in British Sterling. If you rent in Spain, you pay in Euros. Consider that when taking your salary. Exchange rates, if being paid in Sterling, may affect your total salary.

Morning walk into Gibraltar from La Linea
Drive or Commute

The bus system is very good along the coast and you can easily commute via bus. There are no trains that go into La Linea or Gib. A caveat is the frequency of buses varies from different areas. Here is a link for the bus system.

If you do decide to live outside of Gib and have a car, you are better off parking on the Spain side and walking across the border for work. Driving into Gib can be painful with long queues that can back up for miles depending on the time of day. (You are crossing an international border, so there is always a passport check.) Also, parking is at a premium. (That space thing.)

Similar but Different Considerations Regarding Living in Gibraltar

Sunset from Watergardens flats where rent is £750 up
Gibraltar is not Spain. Gibraltar is a British territory. It is like visiting a busy, noisy English “village.” I refer to it as a village because the space the city occupies is a very small area. The "rock" takes up most of the space. And within a short period of time, you start to see the same people (fellow workers) and you can make friends very quickly.

There is a high street with numerous shops, the anchor store being Marks & Spencers. Most of the shops sell consumer electronics, cosmetics, jewelry, and booze. (duty free kind of items)

Eating out in cafes and restaurants is very expensive. There are a few nice places to eat, but overall the food tends to be rather low quality. "Average" meal prices are £5.95. Since most of our activity is around the marina, I did a quick price check and found that meals in the marina will cost from £1 to £2 more. You pay for the view.

£5.95 - and no I didn't color correct to make that
tomato pale or the fish look crappy
We're on a budget so Morrisons grocery has been a friend indeed for us.

And because I was very ignorant about Gibraltar before arrival, I discovered:
  • there are numerous schools for all ages of children.
  • to get a Gibraltar passport, you need to be born and live here for 10 years. 
  • resident status takes up to 20 years, or longer.
  • Gib is a tax haven (aaahhhh Lisbeth Salander)
I hope this will help you. If you have any more tips, ideas, or thoughts about Gibraltar, I welcome your comments.

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