Rental agreements in Cambodia: Pre-agreement considerations

James Whitehead / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The art of the deal is different in Cambodia. Supplied

You really shouldn’t sign any rental agreement without a thorough check in any country. But there are some extra considerations which are especially important in Cambodian rental agreements that you may not have considered.

Here are a few tips to consider before you sign any Cambodian lease agreement, thanks to realestate.com.kh:

Extra costs:

Yes, you will pay your rental rate every month – but you will also be charged extra for utilities and other services monthly. The extra costs might include maintenance, waste collection, gas, water and electricity bills, security services, internet and car parking. The costs will be low or high depending on the type of rental property and the business practices of your landlord. Some of these costs may not be included in your rental fee – but if they are, they will be specified clearly. So it’s really important to double check these inclusions. 

If you rent a house in a borey, you will likely need to pay an additional monthly maintenance fee, cleaner’s fee, security guard fees and public light charges. Depending on the borey you are renting in, these fees might cost you between $20 and $50 per month. 

Condo or apartment maintenance fees generally range from $0.50 to $2 per square metre depending on what this service includes. In addition, living in a condo or apartment requires you to pay for a car parking space, which ranges from $50 to $60 per month. Again, some rental rates will include both of these fees – but it’s always best to check.

In Cambodia, be wary of landlords adding in fees at extra cost. For example, in central Phnom Penh electricity is generally charged to apartment tenants at $0.25 per kilowatt – however, the rate direct from the company can be less than $0.20 per kilowatt. Some landlords will try to charge substantially more than this too.   

Always bargain:

You are a renter; you always have the power to negotiate the lease price with your landlord.

Don’t be afraid to do so and don’t always depend on your real estate agent to do this for you. Remember that some real estate agents are not only acting in your interests; they act on behalf of the sale, and their commission will be higher if the final agreed price is higher than what it could have been. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to push your agent – and make sure you are working with an agent you can trust.

If you are applying for a long-term rental, one year or more, you can use this as a negotiation point to lower your monthly rate. Also, while the landlord may not be flexible on a monthly rental price, you may still be able to push them for additional services or home furnishing/appliances for free as contract sweeteners. An upfront advance on your first few months’ rent may also be an enticing bartering point for landlords looking for a fast cash injection in the short term – but ensure everything is receipted correctly or they might catch you out later.

Read the contract: 

Always check the ways in which you can be liable for a breach of your contract and what is and isn’t mentioned in the contract, for example having pets or parties, extra equipment included or furniture, who pays for extra service, and repair services, deposit payment, terms, contract renewal and proactive professional management (for condo or apartment renting). That’s to make sure you know what the landlord expects of you and what you expect of the landlord before you agree to stay. If something is missing, get it put in the contract before you sign because verbal agreements are next to unenforceable in Cambodia.

Little Things:

Check the faucets, door hinges, locks, door knobs, power points, appliances, water heaters and gas cookers before agreeing to rent. Most of the time these things look perfect until further investigation – but if you catch minor problems now, you can ask the landlord to fix them before the agreement is settled.

Ready to find a place to rent in Cambodia? Start your search for rental properties on Realestate.com.kh today, Cambodia’s most comprehensive and easy to use real estate search website and app.

James Whitehead is Director of Content @ Realestate.com.kh

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