Accommodation in Riyadh
Expats looking for accommodation in Riyadh can choose from numerous Western-style compounds. However, availability can be limited despite the variety and it’s often best to have the help of a sponsoring employer during the house-hunting process.
Types of property in Riyadh
There is not a great deal of choice when it comes to accommodation options in Riyadh. Expats are generally restricted to living in expat compounds. Apart from availability, individual needs and personal preferences dictate which compounds expats are interested in.
These self-contained complexes vary in size from small apartment clusters to sprawling collections of villas. They’re usually walled, guarded and include amenities like gyms, clinics, restaurants, shops and schools.
The restrictive rules of normal Saudi life can feel far away within these secluded neighbourhoods. The Mutaween seldom enters and expats have more opportunities to foster relationships with fellow expats that ease the transition. Women can also drive and socialise freely inside compounds, and don’t have to wear the abaya.
Renting property in Riyadh
Demand for compound housing is high among Riyadh's expat population and rental prices are expensive.
Rent is usually expected to be paid six months to a year in advance, and a deposit of 10 percent of the annual rent is standard. Service charges and maintenance are usually included, but tenants are responsible for paying utilities like electricity, gas and water.
For many expats working in Riyadh, employers will supply accommodation on a Western compound or at least be in a position to be able to assist in the process of finding a home. It’s important that expats discuss getting a housing allowance during contract negotiations. This could be a specific sum of money, a percentage of their salary, or, as with some larger companies, even the provision of a property.