In the first part of our guide on how to find your ideal property, we looked at the various factors involved when buying a property. For renting, there are of course certain similarities, though with the amount of properties available to rent in Cambodia, it may be a harder decision at times.
This will always be a primary consideration whether you are looking to buy or rent. You may want to prioritise proximity to your workplace or to your children’s school. You may want to be in an area that offers good shopping amenities or an excellent choice of bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The best advice here is not to rush any decision. Don’t make a snap decision on renting a property unless it really is your dream villa or apartment.
Our second bit of advice is to do more than one viewing. It’s all very well seeing a great property in daytime but what is the area like at night? It is always worth taking sometime after deciding you like the actual property to return in the evening and see what sort of noise levels there are. Is the area fairly secure? Are there businesses or Karaoke venues that may cause loud noise into the early hours?
When you do your daytime viewing, take some time to do a tour of the area too. This will give you a good feel for the area’s ambience, what businesses there are in the neighbourhood, and what traffic levels are like.
So, let’s assume you have found a nice property, the area has lots of amenities and seems to suit you perfectly. Let’s sign the lease! No, not quite yet, there are still a few things you should do before committing yourself to a contract.
- Inspect the Property Thoroughly
Now that you are considering renting the property, it’s time to go back for another viewing and give the place a more thorough inspection. Check the walls, flooring, and ceiling for any signs of physical damage or any signs of damp/water damage such as mildew.
Also check all systems and appliances. Do all the light fittings work? Do any supplied kitchen appliances work? What about a/c units? When were they last cleaned or maintained? Check all taps and other plumbing to ensure they all work well. Are there any signs of pest infestations such as cockroaches or rats? Look inside any cupboards to see if there are any droppings or other evidence that the property has pests.
The last thing to check is all the doors and windows. Are the doors secure? Are there any signs of water getting in poorly-sealed windows?
Of course, just because you do find a problem does not necessarily mean that you walk away. If the problems are relatively minor, you just ask your agent to make sure that the issues are remedied before you sign a contract.
So the property is great, any issues (if there were any) have been repaired or resolved, so now we’re ready to sign the contract, right? Again no, not quite yet. Before you put pen to paper, acquaint yourself with the legalities of a rental contract in Cambodia.
The first thing to understand is that Cambodia does not have the more complex and protective tenants’ rights you would find in your home country. Added to that is the fact that the Cambodian court system does not lend itself well to the small claims that often arise from disputes between landlords and tenants.
This is where a good agent comes into their own. Lux Realty can draw up a contract from our regularly-used template but also add any clauses that you and the landlord agree on. But there are some good tips you can discuss with your agent that will help make things run smoother.
- If possible, ask to meet the landlord with your agent. Also ask to see the land title or the land purchase agreement if the title is not available. This will confirm to you that the landlord is in fact the legal owner of the property.
- Negotiate! This is an area where your agent can save you money. Here at Lux Realty, we have lots of experience in negotiating terms and prices with the property owner. This can include length of lease, monthly rent, deposit, etc.
- Contract. Make sure the rental contract is in both Khmer and English. Ensure that it specifies an end date to your rental. If you plan on staying long term, you can also ask for a clause giving you the right of renewal (this could also be tagged with an agreed rental price if you do renew). If your contract is long-term, make sure to discuss potential rent increases or whether the rent will stay at the same level for the duration of the contract.
- Maintenance and Repairs. This can be an area that many people neglect to consider and that could prove costly later on. When negotiating and drawing up the contract, have it made clear who is responsible for what and have it added to the rental contract. Is the landlord responsible for major repairs? And what constitutes major in this sense? Having this clarified before you sign could save you money later on.
- Deposit. Make sure there is clear explanation of what deductions come from your deposit at the end of the rental contract. Keep copies of all your paid utility bills so there are no disputes over them. And, prior to moving in, it is a good idea to make a through photographic or video record of the property to show any pre-existing damage.
- A Little Extra Advice.
The thing to always remember is that we are guests in this country. Try avoid any confrontation, be it with your landlord or your neighbours. If you have any sort of disagreement with your landlord, for example over who should fix a broken water heater, then always try and settle it amicably. Biting your tongue and smiling could save you the stress of finding somewhere new and possibly losing your security deposit.
The same goes for your neighbours. Cambodia can be a noisy and chaotic country but there is no point in making major issues when the house next door decides to have its 3rd karaoke party in a week! If you can’t settle an issue with a neighbour yourself, remember that your landlord may know them well and having him or her mediate any problems could lead to far friendlier relations in future. If the problem really is a major one, then you can always look to your local Sangkat office to mediate or to step in and solve the problem.
If you follow these easy steps and advice, then hopefully you will soon be settled in your ideal rental property. If you are unsure how to find that dream home, the friendly team at Lux Realty are here to help you and guide you through every stage of the process.
Tell us exactly what you are looking for, your ideal areas, and a rough idea of your budget, and we will present you with a list of possible properties and arrange for you to view them. Why delay when that perfect property is only a phone call away? Contact us today by emailing us at [email protected] or calling on 015537577.