It’s not easy to navigate through the rental market in Phnom Penh, especially if you are an expatriate that has just arrived in the country. Here is a mini-guide that explains what it takes to rent an apartment in Phnom Penh.
The First Dilemma: Search on your own or contact a real estate agency?
Searching on your own can be quite challenging because of the language barrier. Then there is the massive offering of apartments in Phnom Penh, which is a challenge for itself. Thing is there are so many offers that it is difficult to decide where to begin.
Then there are real estate agencies. They don’t charge any commission from their clients but the sellers. They know the local real estate market, and they can find you an apartment for rent in Phnom Penh that matches your preferences and budget.
If you are not comfortable hunting for an apartment on your own, then make sure that you find a reputable real estate agency.
In terms of the offering, Phnom Penh has it all, from one-bedroom studios to super luxurious apartments with all the amenities one ever wants.
Almost all apartments in Phnom Penh are either fully-serviced or provide services. A fully-services apartment is almost like everything a hotel offers. It has all the linens, a concierge, a fully equipped kitchen, and everything in between.
Typically, these apartments are fully decorated and furnished. They have all the necessary appliances, and their rates are all-inclusive. Usually, that covers the internet, cleaning services, parking, water, and cable. Electricity is rarely included.
On the lower end are the unfurnished apartments or flats. They are way more affordable and don’t include any services cleaning, internet, or cable. If you want any of that, you will need to pay on top of your rent.
Short-Term Lease vs. Long-Term Lease
Thing is expatriates don’t feel comfortable with long-term leases. On the other hand, landlords don’t look kindly to tenants that don’t want to commit over a longer period. For most landlords, any lease shorter than six months is a waste of time.
A six-month lease is a middle ground between landlords and tenants. The main benefit is you got your landlord at ease and locks in the rental price. That is important because, at the moment, rental prices are growing from 10 to 15% per year.
It’s also quite a problem when your lease ends. Many expatriates have found themselves in a situation when their old lease is over, and they can’t find any new apartment of the same value. That is why a long-term lease comes into play. Local landlords see great value in tenants that sign long-leases, and they are always their favorites. Plus, a long-term lease gives you a much stronger negotiating power.
If you are there to stay for a longer period, always go for the longer lease. If not, stick with a six-month lease. In terms of agency or apartment hunting on your own, everyone gets to decide with whatever they are comfortable. But, make sure that you take your time when going on apartment hunting and check as many as possible before deciding.