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Housing in Cambodia

Settling down in Cambodia allows you to experience a diverse and fascinating country firsthand. But living there can also be quite a challenge. We offer advice on healthcare, the housing search, and education, as well as an insight into religion and Khmer culture.
Unfortunately, not all accommodation in Cambodia is this luxurious.

Cheap and Cheerful: The Cost of Living in Cambodia

Expats from Western countries will soon find that living in Cambodia is comparatively cheap. In fact, those who work for an international company and are paid according to “Western” standards may suddenly be able to afford luxuries they have only dreamed of in the past. For an average 3-bedroom apartment, you may pay between 1,209,000 KHR (approx. 300 USD) and 4,025,450 KHR (approx. 1000 USD), depending on which area you decide to settle in, as well as the style of apartment — modern Western-style apartments will cost you more.

Expats with children often decide on hiring a nanny or a housekeeper, which can cost roughly between 150 USD and 300 USD. Other luxuries like dining out are very affordable as well, and rarely cost you more than 16,300 KHR (4 USD). This, along with the hassle-free visa application process, is one of the main reasons why expats like to move to Cambodia. Keep in mind, however, that Phnom Penh, while the most popular expat destination, is also the most expensive one.

Finding a Place to Live: The Internet Is Key

While the housing search can be stressful at times, there are a lot of online resources, classifieds, and real estate agents who speak English. Therefore, it shouldn’t take too long until you find that new home that is just right for you (and your family). While you have lots of choice, from small apartments to grand villas, when it comes to types of accommodation, most expats decide on a standard or serviced apartment.

Standard apartments are cheaper but also less luxurious and leave you to deal with utilities and repairs yourself. On the upside, you will have the chance to get in touch with the locals. Serviced apartments, on the other hand, come with certain amenities, such as backup generators (in case of a power cut) or a security guard. Your neighbors will most likely be other expats who have moved to Cambodia for a few months. Unfortunately, serviced apartments can easily cost twice of what you would usually pay in rent.

Finding a House Online

As mentioned above, the internet is the first place to turn to for expats on the housing search in Cambodia. It might take you some time to search through all the classifieds and listings of real estate agents, but you may be able to find some hidden gems there. Remember to compare prices: some agents raise their prices considerably with the hope of making a little extra cash off some naive foreigners. The following is a selection of some helpful pages:

The Lease Agreement

Once you have found the apartment or house of your dreams, it is time to sign the rental agreement. Make sure to ask for a contract in a language you understand. Moreover, you should make sure that the contract you are about to sign includes the following specifications in order to be legitimate:

  • address of your new home
  • your name and that of the landlord
  • a list of all payment dates
  • a full inventory of the furnishing
  • the full amount of the deposit
  • fingerprints of the right thumb of the tenant, landlord, and a witness

While renting a place in Cambodia is relatively straight-forward, you should make sure to rent from someone reliable. If you are going to use an estate agent, you should ask around to find out which agencies other expats have had positive experiences with. If you deal with a landlord directly, ask him specific questions about the property, how long he has owned it, and why previous tenants moved out. If anything seems suspicious, you’d do better to move on and keep looking. Usually, a lease lasts for two months at the very least. Most expats, however, rent their home for at least 12 months at a time. The deposit can amount to between one and three month’s rent.


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