Question No 3: Can An Expat Rent A Property In Ksa? If Yes, Then How?
Here you will come to know 10 Questions About The Expats Life Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s largest oil-rich and tourist countries, full of benefits that most people do not know. That’s why it’s the perfect place for foreigners who want to move into a new home. Except being the holy place for the MUSLIMS worldwide, many expats wish to visit KSA. Yearly hundred thousand visitors visit SAUDI ARABIA, which includes Pilgrims and expats.
This helpful guide will provide all the information you need to know when looking for a place to live and rent in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia operates under strict Islamic laws. The country is very different from more global and standardized markets such as the United Arab Emirates or Qatar. Therefore, it is essential to have the correct information when looking for a place to live.
This guide includes the following sections:
- EXPAT COMMUNITY IN KSA
- RENTING IN LSA
- WHAT ARE THE POPULAR PLACES TO RENT IN KSA?
- BUYING VS RENTING A PROPERTY IN KSA
- TYPE OF PROPERTY TO RENT IN KSA
- LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO RENT IN KSA
- FINDING STUDENT ACCOMMODATION IN KSA
- FLATSHARES IN SAUDI ARABIA
- HOW TO RENT A PROPERTY AND TENANCY CONTRACTS IN KSA?
- HOW MUCH DOES RENT COST IN KSA?
- UTILITIES, INTERNET AND MAINTENANCE IN KSA
- MOVING INRO RENTED ACCOMMODATION IN KSA
- BASIC TIPS FOR RENTERS IN KSA
(1)- Expat Community In KSA:
Saudi Arabia, also known as KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), is famous for many expats residing. According to a survey, “Expats” are doing almost 67% of jobs in Saudi Arabia. Nearly 10.74 million expatriates are working in KSA. However, the number of foreigners living in Saudi Arabia is much lower than in other Gulf countries. Only 30% of the total population comprises foreigners, who occupy most of the unskilled areas.
Most skilled migrants moving to Saudi Arabia will likely get based in Dammam, Jeddah or Riyadh. They generally prefer to live in western compounds, which are self-made, walled settlements, which are mainstream. Here, you can dress as you wish and move around without any restrictions. But only on campus. You will have access to many facilities. These include swimming pools, community parks, restaurants, convenience stores, and much more. Moreover, these facilities are all modern.
Accommodation inside these compounds is more expensive than anything outside. You can also get accommodation from your company or sponsor, so contact your employers in advance.
(2)- Renting In KSA:
Although there are no precise figures on how many people rent in the country, it is estimated that about half of the population, including locals, live on rental property. As a result, the government takes steps to purchase property and invest in the real estate market. Due to the volatile geopolitical situation – given that long-term living in Saudi Arabia is not an attractive option – most prefer not to invest in foreign property.
Western immigrants who come to Saudi choose compound life. These gated premises have high security and high walls and are very secure. Within these walls, in terms of infrastructure, you will feel that you live in a somewhat well-maintained European suburb. So, if you have a family, this type of rent is especially recommended.
Renting property in Saudi Arabia is cheaper than in countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. In addition, utility and maintenance get often included in the rent.
The rental process is very efficient, and the agreements are annual. There is a chance that all contracts may be in Arabic, so you must ask for an English-translated version or get an expert opinion on the matter.
There are strict doses and reprimands you need to know about – even in compounds. For example, pets barked in most places. External guests must show their identities at various checkpoints. And if you are a man, women alone cannot come to see you. Bottom line: Double-check all the terms of your agreement before signing the dotted line.
All rental agreements in Saudi Arabia must get registered on a leased electronic system. In KSA, there is an online portal that monitors your rental space. It contains all the landlord, tenant, and agent details, so there is transparency in gossip and minimal disputes. If you do not register as a tenant on a lease, your work permit will not get renewed.
(3)- What Are The Popular Places To Rent In Ksa?
The Saudi capital is the country’s most populous city and is very conservative and dense. The town has access to many facilities as well as good health facilities. The cost of housing, including rent, is the highest in the country. As a result, you will find most expats working in the public sector, banking, and telecommunications.
It is the city where most of the country’s oil companies operate. Dammam is also a long way from Bahrain, so, in general, many foreigners travel there on weekends. Al-Khabar and Dhahran are neighboring townships where you can choose to live. They are less industrial and have minor construction. Therefore, they are much cleaner and more family-friendly.
JEDDAH is the main gateway to the holy cities of Medina and Mecca. However, it is still the most cosmopolitan and liberal city in Saudi Arabia. In addition, it is more in the pursuit of arts and culture. As a centre of science, innovation, healthcare, and engineering, Jeddah is an essential destination for expatriates. In addition, it is strategically located near the Red Sea, so scuba diving and sailing are popular activities here.
(4)- Buying Vs Renting A Property In KSA:
According to the relaxation in Law, foreigners can buy property in the country. However, some areas are out of bounds. But remember, the involvement of housing finance in the country is shallow because most purchases get paid in advance.
Unlike cosmopolitan cities “DUBAI, ABU DHABI, OR MANAMA”, Saudi cities are still considered places where foreigners do not want to settle for long. Therefore, our suggestion is to study the lies of the land carefully before deciding to invest in property
(5)- Type Of Property To Rent In KSA:
For foreigners, Western compounds are a favorite option. They will include villas and apartment buildings (including condos). Depending on the facilities provided, they can get marked as Five Star or Four Star. Separate villas are likely to have a garden or at least a green patch attached. Many facilities include marketplaces, cafes, restaurants, golf courses, swimming pools, tennis courts, playschools, etc. With names like Arizona Golf Resort, every effort get made to make foreigners feel at home. They are usually privately owned by companies that also manage and maintain them.
Stand-Alone Villas And Townhouse:
They will be in a city location, and your personal life will be subject to scrutiny by the authorities – and even the neighbors. It can be three bedrooms or four bedrooms with maximum (if not more) bathroom and garden or not.
1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom apartments are available in the city. Many buildings in Saudi Arabia are tall, usually between four and eight storeys high. Some old low heights have not found a lift, so make it a place to check.
All other types of housing come in either furnished, semi-furnished, or furnished. Semi-furnished has basic furnishings such as carpets and curtains and white appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines and dishwashers. With furnished accommodation, you can only go in once you have ensured that everything you need is in place. If not, you can always talk to your landlord. Air conditioning is available in almost every form. Even if there is no central air conditioning, individual units should get provided.
(6)- Looking For A Place To Rent In KSA:
Often, your employment contract causes housing. It means that your employer will manage it – probably within the high walls of a gated compound. The rent will get deducted from your salary each month.
If you do not have accommodation as per your agreement, and you have to find a place for yourself, you can find options here:
Search Online About Rent Places Near Your Work Area:
Some of the country’s most popular and trusted property listing sites include:
They will have contacts from either the agent or the landlord, and you can arrange a meeting after taking a virtual tour.
Check Out The Newspaper:
You can check out the classified section of newspapers – either in the print edition or online. You can also find notice boards advertising vacant properties for rent. All of them have contacts with relevant agents or landlords.
Talk With Your Friend Or Colleague:
They can get to know a real estate agent who can show you the right places to suit your needs.
Reach To Hr Department Of Your Company:
Your company HR department can help you get in touch with reputable agents or landlords. These landlords can help you find a suitable place to live according to your preferences.
Visit groups on social media, e.g. Facebook or Instagram, and find housing rental posts in your local area.
Visit The Area Or Compound You Allowed
You may see “rent,” notices on some buildings. Pop in, and talk to the building or compound manager to learn more. Renting for the early years may be better for you.
(7)- Finding Student Accommodation In KSA:
International students can apply for on-campus accommodation at universities. They can visit sites such as ERASMU to determine if the university under construction is outsourcing student accommodation by working with a third-party contractor if it cannot provide housing.
(8)- Flatshares In Saudi Arabia:
Flatshare options are usually available orally, online / through social media, expats websites, or community sites. If you are a lady, you can only share flats with other women if you are a man, only with other men.
(9)- How To Rent A Property And Tenancy Contracts In KSA?
In Saudi Arabia, you have to pay one year’s rent by check in advance. Unless your company cares about rent, this will be a monthly deduction from your salary. The landlord may ask for two cheques or a quarterly cheque. However, it is negotiable and not permanently watertight. There are several cases, especially in compounds, where the tenant may be allowed to make monthly payments. However, a cheque should get provided when you sign the contract.
In many cases, the agreement gets made in Arabic. Therefore, it may be good to hire a legal expert so that nothing gets missed in translation. In addition, ask for an English transcript for your record.
There will be a refundable security deposit – usually the equivalent of one month’s rent. Refunds are made at the end of the period once the landlord gets convinced that the property did not suffer damage, plus regular tearing.
When signing an agreement, you will need the following documents.
- Residence card (IQAMA)
- Original and copy of Passport + Visa
- Marriage certificate (if applicable)
- Sometimes, the landlord may ask your employer/sponsor for a letter stating your position and salary. But it is no longer required by Law (it used to be).
- Registration on EJAR should get made for tenants, and it is necessary. You cannot renew your work permit unless you have proof that you are registering your rent details.
(10)- How Much Does Rent Cost In KSA?
In Riyadh, the monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment near the city’s heart will be around SAR 2,500. The three-bedroom apartment around the same area will be close to SAR 4,000. In cities like Jeddah and Dammam, the costs will be almost the same, perhaps slightly lower.
A 3-bedroom villa in a western compound – all over Saudi Arabia – will cost 120,000 SAR to over SAR 200,000. Depending on the Compound, location and star rating of the facilities offered.
You will pay your rent by postpaid check, usually from the day you move. Most contracts are biennial, so if you occupy a place on the 10th of the month, the cash will be later after the 10th six months.
Agents usually charge around 2.5 times the annual rent. But feel free to negotiate.
Tenants And Landlords Rights And Responsibilities:
- Make sure rental checks do not bounce
- Handle the property well, and return it to as it was.
- Strictly follow the terms and conditions of the agreement
- Don’t interrupt
- If the rent does not include utilities, the tenant needs to pay the bill on time.
- Do not use the premises for anything other than residential purposes (for example, do not run a home business from a residential apartment).
- After completing the site cleaning and repair work, hand it over to the tenant.
- Provide tenant receipts for checks received
- Maintain common areas in the building (if it is an apartment) and ensure that all maintenance work that falls within its jurisdiction (as described in the agreement) meets health and safety standards. To be done promptly.
- Respect the tenant’s privacy and do not come for immediate inspection (unless there is a bailable case).
- Inventory before handing over to the tenant.
- Do not increase the rent during the annual contract period.
(11)- Utilities, Internet, And Maintenance In KSA:
In compounds, fares usually include basic amenities such as water, electricity, gas, landline rental (not mobile), and internet / Wi-Fi costs. The rent is also essential in the cleaning and maintenance of all public/communal areas of the complex.
If you are buying a non-compound property, you will have to bear the utility costs separately. Unless otherwise agreed with the landlord. But the construction of communal areas is the responsibility of the landlord.
(12)- Moving Inro Rented Accommodation In KSA:
All available properties advertised or displayed around agents are usually ready to go in—Pre-cleaned, fresh paint, pest control service, etc. As soon as your tenancy agreement is signed, the registration will get done, and the first month’s cheques will be deducted. It depends on how you communicate with your future landlord. If the place is furnished, you can leave within one week to 10 days after the paperwork is completed and the check gets paid.
If you are moving to a compound, and your company is not arranging it for you, there may be a waiting list because these properties are in high demand. You will know that a particular property will be free for a few months, and if your heart is ready for it, you can go to a hotel apartment for that time.
(13)- Basic Tips For Renters In KSA:
- Even if your employer/sponsor contracts with you, check, double-check, and check the fine print three times. There are many clauses and sub-clauses that you cannot leave in Saudi Arabia.
- Insist for an English translated copy of the original, and notarize it
- Make sure you are accompanied by an agent or landlord when you first visit the premises. Make a list of (negotiable) things you want to add to this space
- When inspecting the property, get a clear idea of the neighbourhood and ensure you have everything around you.
- Once you get inside, remember, there is zero tolerance for any disturbance.
- No unwanted conversations can take place during the holy month of Ramadan. Make sure you follow all the rules and respect them at all times during this period.
- Carefully keep receipts for refundable security deposits
- On Friday, the building/maintenance staff is closed, so keep that in mind.