We moved here wanting to live at a rental apartment as buying property was too big a commitment, not knowing the country that well.
Split don’t have many apartments for rent, and most of the one they do are only for long term rent in the winter period and will be put up for tourist rental when the summer arrives, for the fairly good reason that they can earn more by doing it this way.
So when looking for an apartment be very clear that you are only interested in a full year or longer.
When searching for a place, there is almost only one page that is useful: www.njuskalo.hr. Everything is posted here and the page is very easy to use (just remember to enable translation). All most all apartment are listed through real estate agents, so we contacted a bunch and told them which apartments we liked and what we were looking for. Following this we had some days driving around with agents looking at places until we found that one perfect place, with a huge balcony and open Seaview.
Be clear on your budget and area before contacting the agencies. There are a huge price difference between for example Žnjan and Meje. Take some days to see the areas and pick out the ones you like. We wanted Meje, which also meant a lot bigger rent and a lot less options to choose from.
When we had decided on a place, we made sure that the contract would be signed at a notary – as this is an important part of getting your visa (or else you would have to bring your landlord). Also make sure that in the contract it stated that it’s long term, and if possible, pay some month in advance, so they wont kick you out when the summer comes.
There aren’t many solid laws for renting an apartment, so take all the precautions you can.
Most places are rented furnished, so when they moving in day arrive all you need to day is open a bottle of wine and enjoy that you are finally living here.
And remember to go to the police station and register your address, even if you don’t have your residency yet. The moment you are out of the hotel/Airbnb it’s up to you – and you really don’t want the police on your neck. When you’ve registered your address (and gotten your residency) be aware that the police most likely will show up at your doorstep to make sure that you are actually living there. Don’t be alarmed, invite them in for coffee.