Expats will find a range of accommodation options in Kuala Lumpur, suitable for a variety of budgets and needs. New arrivals should also make sure they research the different areas and suburbs of the city and surrounding region.

Types of accommodation in Kuala Lumpur

Housing in Kuala Lumpur comes in many different forms and includes standalone houses, known as bungalows, as well as semi-detached and terraced houses, apartments and condominiums. Generally, condominiums are the most popular option for expats in Kuala Lumpur, as they are secure and often have amenities such as gyms, swimming pools and tennis courts.

Accommodation can be furnished, semi-furnished or completely unfurnished, which may mean completely empty of kitchen appliances or even curtain rails. Most apartments will come unfurnished, while serviced condominiums are mostly furnished. Serviced accommodation is significantly more expensive than a normal apartment, depending on the area one chooses.

Finding accommodation in Kuala Lumpur

Renting or buying a property in Kuala Lumpur is an easy procedure and there are no hidden cultural nuances that hinder the process of finding and moving into a new home.

Expats can find accommodation in Kuala Lumpur online and by looking through local newspapers and publications. It's recommended to view a few properties to get a sense of how much to expect to pay for a certain kind of space. This is mostly due to the fact that rental prices in Kuala Lumpur are often listed as 'View to Offer'.

Many expats choose to use a rental agent to help them in their property search and in negotiating the terms of their lease agreements. Some expats who choose to stay in Kuala Lumpur for a long time have even gone as far as to invest in property, again with the help of an agent. Real estate agent fees are normally paid by the landlord or seller.

Factors to consider when house-hunting in Kuala Lumpur

Traffic congestion can be extreme in Kuala Lumpur, so many expats choose to live close to their workplace or children’s school, or in close proximity to public transport routes.

Expats tend to be scattered throughout the city but the more popular areas include Jalan Ampang, which is home to a number of embassies and consulates, and the areas of Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Taman Tun Dr Ismail and Damansara Heights to the west of the city centre. Bangsar Bahru, south of the city centre, is also popular for its pleasant setting, while the Golden Triangle is where most of the city’s international schools can be found. Jalan Ampang and Damansara Heights are the priciest, but shopping around does have its rewards.

Signing a lease in Kuala Lumpur

Rental terms are negotiable, but most leases are set for a period of two years. It is possible to include a clause in the lease agreement allowing for early termination if giving at least two months’ notice or paying a no-notice fine.

At least two months’ rent is expected as a refundable security deposit. The tenant will be responsible for paying their own utilities, including water, electricity, sewerage, phone and internet bills. It’s important to also ensure that there is a clause in the rental agreement that makes it clear who pays for minor repairs to the property during the tenancy.

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