Renting a House in Cambodia is Easy!
Renting a house or apartment in Cambodia is remarkably easy. Coming from the UK where it costs well over £1000 to rent even a meagre one-bed place, it has always surprised me the easy and speed in which you can move in somewhere. The easy way is to use an agent to find you the right property. There are however alternatives and we can look at these below as well.
Using an agent to find you a house in Cambodia.
By far the easiest way to find a place to live in Cambodia is to use a reputable agent. We have always found Gemma and Cho at Siem Reap Property Services to be excellent and a great help even after contracts are signed and we have moved in! As with any agent, we just let them know what kind of place we are looking for and arrange a viewing day. We then go and look at several (up to about 10 on a good day) on the viewing day. When we have found a house we like, Cho approaches the landlord to discuss rent. As with everything in Asia, the rent is normally negotiable. Once the rent has been agreed then moving in can be very fast, like the same day! Contracts need to be signed and the first months rent plus a month deposit paid. The keys are then handed over and you can move in. The agent will usually have a number of properties for you to choose from. Indeed the rental market is a renters dream at the moment in Cambodia. With so much development and new houses being built the prices have not really increased since around 2015. In fact, I suspect they have dropped a little in some areas of town as the tourist market has declined this year! Cho and Gemma then also help us sort out gas, electricity, water, garbage collection and the internet.
Facebook is Your Friend!
There are numerous Facebook and other social media groups dedicated to the property market in Cambodia. Most are aimed at short to medium term renting houses etc. Join as many of these as you can before landing in town and then spam the lot of them with one message requesting help finding a place. You will be inundated in a few minutes with people offering you everything from a cardboard box to your own guesthouse or hotel. Being careful here is the essence of the game. Ask the person to view the place, take a local friend to translate and you could find yourself a bargain. Or you could find an agent to negotiate for you.
It is still commonplace for people to put homemade signs outside a property to rent. In fact, both our houses here have had signs up even though we rented through agents. Normally they are white paper with a phone number on. They are stuck to posts, fences or the actual building. Call the number to arrange a viewing. You may need a friend or agent to help negotiate. You can find a local tuk driver to drive you around places you like to look for signs. The drive will also likely know someone who has a property to rent so don't forget to ask him.
It is normal for the landlord to charge you for the electricity. Standard cost is around 870 riel per kW. It is normal for the landlord to make a little on this and charge you 1000R/kW. I don't mind this, he is the one who has to go in person and pay it at the counter. It is also normal for you to pay for water per cubic metre or pay the landlord around $5 a month. per person. Gas is normally on propane gas bottle and up to you to pay for. The landlord will be able to give you the right number to phone for delivery. Or you can take the bottle to the LPG depot where the pass apps fill up and get it refilled. But that is a hassle. Sometimes the internet is included in the price, this is often wifi shared with neighbouring properties and likely to be a little slow. You can have Fiber broadband installed for around $120 per year with Opennet. Ours is 20 meg up and down and was installed the same day we called them. Again we needed to pay in cash upfront to a lady who came to the house. Refuse collection is either included in the rent or you pay separately for it. Costs can be negotiated with the landlady and can be around $5 per month. There is no charge as far as in know for sewerage. Cable TV can be bought along with broadband or can be included with the rent. It is the same for the landline phone.
Below are valuable resources that we have developed to help you on your journey.
Getting to Cambodia
You will need a flight to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap or Sihanoukville. We have always found Skyscanner give us the best deals on flights. It is also easy to travel overland from Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. There are many bus companies that offer these services. Once in the county, travel between places is best done by internal flight or by bus. You can also travel by private car/taxi. For shorter journeys around town, you can hail a passing taxi or tuk-tuk.
Where to stay and long term accommodation
When you first get into town you will want to find a guesthouse or hotel for the first few weeks. We usually use Booking.com or AirBnB. When you want long term accommodation like an apartment or a house to rent then we suggest our fine friends Gemma and Cho at Siem Reap Property Services. Cho has always found us great places to live and is super helpful liaising with landlords and services etc.
We thoroughly recommend you take our travel insurance whenever you travel. We recently had to put in a claim for over $5000 when we had to cancel our flights and other bookings and quickly fly back to the UK due to a family emergency. The claim went through very quickly and we managed to recover most of our expenses. Without travel insurance, we would have lost the lot!
If you think you are going to be teaching then you are going to need a TEFL course. You do not need a CELTA straight away. CELTA costs a lot of money and is a big capital investment. You may decide after day three in the classroom that teaching isn't for you. Or you may find after a year of teaching that you really enjoy it and want to apply for better-paid jobs that require a CELTA. That is the right time to do one.
Buy a TEFL course from a reputable course provider. I found www.TEFL.org to be excellent. Tanya then went and completed one by i-to-i and I think it is better value for money. You also get better support and bigger discounts on things and better leads to jobs.
You can find out more about teaching English on Tanya's travel blog at Can Travel, Will Travel.
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