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Oman has seen growth in residential development, especially around large cities, and expats looking for accommodation in Oman will have a variety of options to choose from.
Most expats in Oman live in the capital city, Muscat, and the towns that encompass the capital region, including Ruwi, Muttrah and Qurum.
Types of accommodation in Oman
Expats mainly find accommodation in Oman in the form of apartments and standalone villas or townhouses, often within a secure housing compound. Most homes are new and well maintained, although there have been complaints of poor construction standards and negligent landlords.
New arrivals will be glad to know that many apartment blocks and compounds include gyms, a swimming pool and laundry facilities. Those in villas can also expect a garden and can easily find domestic help. The main thing to look out for is air-conditioning – this is a life-saver in the arid heat.
Whichever area one chooses to live in a major city, restaurants and shops won’t be far off, as well as schools and other amenities to suit all needs and lifestyles, such as tennis courts and golf courses.
Furnished vs unfurnished
Accommodation for expats in Oman is largely unfurnished, although furnished options are also available. Costs vary according to the size, facilities and area of a property.
Finding accommodation in Oman
Much to their relief, many expats working in Oman find that their employers provide accommodation or include a housing allowance as part of the employment package for their foreign workers. We recommend that expats factor this into their contract negotiations.
For those seeking accommodation without their employer’s assistance, there are several online property portals to choose from, such as Just Property, OLX and OpenSooq.
A safer option is to use the services of a relocation company and real estate agent such as Savills Oman, who will be able to speak the language and understand the local nuances of the Oman property market.
Renting accommodation in Oman
Most expats rent accommodation in Oman as they plan to stay short term. While rental fees in many countries are paid monthly, in the Sultanate of Oman, advance lump sums are expected.
Both short and long-term leases are available. Long-term leases are those due to extend over seven years, while short-term leases are variable. Rental agreements generally last one year, but this is negotiable.
Expats unsure of the length of their stay need to understand the notice period for their contract, which is generally only allowed three months before the final termination date on the lease.
It is essential to register all leases with the municipality or Ministry of Housing. When going through an estate agent, they arrange this matter. There is a fee for this which depends on the type of lease. Details of the tenant including their residency and work permits may be needed, otherwise, the expat’s employing company will organise this.
Registering leases in Oman ensures that tenants and landlords have their rights firmly agreed, and if both parties wish to renew their contract, this can be done online.
A deposit is generally one to two months' rent. While the landlord could be responsible for major repairs, the tenant is liable for any damage done and this may come out of the deposit.
If a company is paying for the accommodation, the deposit is sometimes waived as the rent for the entire lease period will usually be paid upfront.
Utilities such as water, gas and electricity are generally excluded from the quoted rental price. We urge that expats read the rental agreement carefully as this will outline what costs the tenant and landlord is responsible.
►Municipality of Muscat official website: www.mm.gov.om
►For a breakdown of what you can expect to pay for basic goods and services, including average rental costs, see Cost of Living in Oman
"The building style in Oman is mainly villas or apartments, and you can choose according to your taste of style and affordability." Read our interview with Caroline for more on finding a place to stay in Oman.
"Accommodation ranges from great to awful, it just depends whether you get a nice or a bad landlord." Get some personal insights on housing in Oman in our interview with OB.
Are you an expat living in Oman?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Oman. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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