Accommodation in Egypt
Many expats moving to Egypt do so for work, with Cairo being the country's most popular city for expats. A lot of the companies or schools that host expats will supply accommodation in Egypt or have an allowance as part of the agreed salary. This is an important point to negotiate into a contract if it is not already included.
Those who are not fortunate enough to have an employer assist with accommodation will find the assistance of a real estate agent essential when it comes to finding the perfect home in Egypt.
Types of accommodation in Egypt
There is a range of property options for expats moving to Egypt. Most find homes in dedicated expat areas. There are many benefits that come with living close to other expats. Having someone to ask for advice and being around others who have experienced the same challenges makes it easier to adjust to life in a country that is likely to be culturally very different to an expat's own.
Expats tend to earn higher salaries than the local community, and hence live in more affluent areas. In these areas, one can expect a wide range of amenities, offices, universities, government institutions, embassies, sporting facilities and retail stores.
Finding accommodation in Egypt
Egypt is a word-of-mouth society. A recommendation goes a long way and it is the best way to find a good service provider. The many expat forums and blogs on the internet make it easy to get advice before expats even move to Egypt.
Real estate agents vary in their resourcefulness and ability. The companies with the most employees are not necessarily the best or the most reliable. Ask around within the expat community for a few names and numbers of agents that have proved to be responsible and professional and stick to those.
The standard of accommodation in Egypt may not be what expats are accustomed to in their home country. Always view a property before signing a lease. It is best to check that appliances, water and electricity supply are working. Ask for an inventory of the furniture and utilities from the property owner, and be sure to make note of anything that is scratched or broken.
Renting accommodation in Egypt
It is important that expats renting property in Egypt have a proper written contract and never make a verbal agreement. Expats should insist that a contract is written in English. Reputable estate agents will ensure any Arabic documents are duly translated into English.
Expats may find that rental contracts in Egypt differ quite markedly from the standard contracts they would be accustomed to in their home country. It is possible that a rental agreement may stipulate what types of visitors the tenant is allowed to entertain and whether overnight guests are permitted. Some landlords forbid the free mixing of men and women in their properties overnight and there have been instances of expats finding themselves in breach of these terms unintentionally. Therefore it is important that expats read the contract carefully and fully understand their responsibilities and those of the landlord or agent. Expats can ask that any ambiguous elements of the contract are clarified.
The agent and landlord may require expats to pay an agency fee equivalent to one month’s rent. Some agents do not charge this fee but expats should find out before using the services from the outset.
Utilities in Egypt
Utility bills are nearly always the responsibility of the tenant in Egypt and will be an additional expense on top of monthly rental costs. Be sure to ask what the approximate costs are for some idea of the costs. Keep all invoices, bills and receipts as proof that these have been paid in case it is requested by the landlord.
The maintenance of amenities are usually the responsibility of the tenant, so expats need to make sure they can pay for any damages. Normal wear and tear should not count as part of this. If any appliance or fixture starts to malfunction expats should alert the landlord so they can take measures to solve the problem.