Accommodation in Zambia
Due to the short-term nature of relocation to Zambia, the vast majority of expats will rent property rather than buy. Both furnished and unfurnished housing is available in the main cities and expats will find a variety of different options when it comes to choosing accommodation in Zambia.
Those living in more rural areas or in mining communities will most likely find themselves in accommodation within compounds or housing developments built by their employers. Expat employees are often provided housing with full amenities and utilities included and paid for by their organisation.
Those paying for their own accommodation in Zambia will find housing relatively expensive, although high expat salaries often off-set this cost.
Types of housing in Zambia
There is a variety of housing in Zambia and expats will find that they often have access to large properties with open spaces and gardens. Many of the houses are old and may be in need of repair, but there have been a number of new developments in Lusaka in recent years.
Stand-alone houses, often on large properties surrounded by gardens, are available in Lusaka’s more upmarket areas. These are ideal for families with children and will often have a swimming pool, tennis court and quarters for domestic staff.
Cluster developments, consisting of a number of row or town houses enclosed within a high-perimeter wall, have sprung up in Lusaka in recent years. These developments often have access control and offer more security for expats. They are in high demand and expats will often find many employees of one company occupying housing in the same cluster development. These complexes offer a feeling of being in a community with residents having access to common amenities such as swimming pools, gyms, tennis and squash courts, and entertainment areas.
Apartments are also available in Lusaka. These buildings often come fully furnished and are fully serviced. Security is usually high in apartment buildings popular with expats and there will be access to communal facilities such as a garden, swimming pool and gym.
Leases are usually signed for a minimum of one year, but short-term leases are sometimes available.
Finding accommodation in Zambia
Those transferred to Zambia through their company are likely to have assistance from their organisation, which will most likely short-list potential options or have readily available housing for their staff.
Local newspapers list rental properties. There are also a number of rental agents in Lusaka who are able to assist expats, although it’s best to be cautious when using such services, as prices can often be inflated by unscrupulous agents.
A good way of finding accommodation in Zambia is also via word of mouth. The transient nature of expat life in Zambia means that expats come and go regularly so accommodation becomes available with their departure and news travels quickly about who is coming and going.
Factors to consider
Many properties in Zambia are old and in need of repairs. It’s best to visit a home in person to assess its condition before signing a lease or moving in. Ensure that the accommodation has sufficient utilities such as water and electricity supply. Also check what appliances are included with the house or apartment. Ensure there is air conditioning, as this may be essential in the hot summer months.
Safety is a factor for expats in Zambia, especially in Lusaka, where home break-ins do occur. Expats should ensure that their homes have sufficient security, such as burglar bars on the windows.
Expats with children should consider the proximity of their home to good schools. School buses are not likely to be provided and parents will need to transport their children to and from school each day.
When signing a lease, establish upfront who is responsible for maintenance and repairs, if these are needed, and whether the cost of utilities such as water and electricity are included in the rental.