Accommodation in Mumbai
- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Mumbai Guide (PDF)
Finding and adapting to accommodation in Mumbai can be extremely trying for expats. The hustling, bustling financial capital of India is known for its prolific film industry, heavy rains and cricket fanaticism, but it’s equally reputed for being one of the world’s most expensive real estate markets, both in terms of buying and renting.
Unless expats plan on relocating to Mumbai for the long-term, most people opt to rent property rather than buying their home.
Types of accommodation in Mumbai
The city is notoriously short on space, and most expats are forced to sacrifice their notions of a lavish Indian bungalow in exchange for a cramped Mumbai apartment. Individual villas are available, but demand is high, supply is low and prices are steep and rising.
Serviced apartments are popular with single and younger expats, and those on shorter assignments. These can also be a good first stop for expats when they arrive, so that they have a place to stay while they search for rented accommodation.
Unfurnished, semi-furnished and furnished accommodation is available; so those who would prefer not to bubble wrap their best china don’t necessarily need to. Furthermore, landlords in Mumbai are often happy to furnish a property at a tenant’s request, though this will come at a slightly higher rental cost.
Finding accommodation in Mumbai
Some expats moving to or living in Mumbai are lucky enough to have accommodation arranged for them by their employer. In this case, contractual obligations are not relevant, and the hassle of house-hunting is thankfully avoided. That said, the inclusion of this perk in relocation packages is becoming quite rare, and thus finding one's own home in Mumbai is becoming an unfortunate necessity for many.
Expats who find themselves in this situation are advised to use a real estate agent. These service providers can greatly simplify the process, and can make sure that the property satisfies all elements of a due diligence test. Alternatively, those searching for an apartment on their own can use one of the many available print or digital listings, though these methods are more time-consuming and can be difficult if one doesn't speak Hindi.
Renting property in Mumbai
Lease agreements in India can be tricky. To side-step tax, landlords often prefer to rent to people informally, with no official lease in place. Expats should never accept such an agreement, as they'd have no proof of residence, which is needed for various administrative processes.
Expats will either be offered a lease agreement of at least 12 months that is covered by rent control laws, or a lease and license agreement of up to 11 months. Lease and license agreements aren't covered by rent control laws, so landlords tend to prefer them. Security deposits in Mumbai can be as high as six to ten months' worth of rent.