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Expat Exchange - How to Rent a Home in Saudi Arabia
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How to Rent a Home in Saudi Arabia

By Betsy Burlingame

SJB Global
SJB Global

Summary: Renting a home in Saudi Arabia for the first time can be daunting. You probably have so many questions: Do I need a lawyer? Do rentals come with appliances? How do I find good rentals? How do I choose the right neighborhood? The list goes on and on. Here are answers to some of the top questions plus insight from our members living in Saudi Arabia.

Renting in Saudi Arabia - How to Rent a Home in Saudi Arabia

Navigating the process of renting a home in Saudi Arabia for the first time can feel overwhelming. Numerous questions might arise: Should I consult a lawyer? Are appliances typically included in rentals? How can I discover quality rental properties? Which neighborhoods will best suit my needs? These are just the tip of the iceberg. Dive in for answers to these pressing questions and gain insights from our members who've made Saudi Arabia their home.

"Relocating to a new country can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to finding a place to live. If you're an expat planning to move to Saudi Arabia, this guide will provide you with all the necessary information about renting an apartment in the Kingdom. From finding a rental property to understanding the legalities involved, this guide will help you navigate the rental market in Saudi Arabia with ease.

How do you find a rental property in Saudi Arabia?

There are several ways to find a rental property in Saudi Arabia. Online property portals like Bayut, Propertyfinder, and expat.com are popular platforms where you can find listings for rental properties. You can also hire a real estate agent or broker to help you find a suitable property. Word of mouth and local newspapers are also good sources of information.

Does Saudi Arabia have an MLS type system?

Saudi Arabia does not have a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system like in the United States. However, the Saudi government has a digital platform called "Ejar" that connects landlords, tenants, and real estate brokers. This platform aims to regulate the rental market and protect the rights of all parties involved.

Do brokers have licenses and how do I know if they are licensed?

Yes, real estate brokers in Saudi Arabia are required to have a license issued by the Ministry of Housing. You can verify a broker's license by asking to see it or checking on the Ministry's website. It's important to ensure that you're dealing with a licensed broker to avoid any potential scams or legal issues.

Should I buy or rent in Saudi Arabia?

Whether to buy or rent in Saudi Arabia depends on your personal circumstances and long-term plans. Renting is a more flexible option and doesn't require a large upfront investment. However, if you plan to stay in the country for a long time, buying a property could be a good investment. It's advisable to consult with a financial advisor or real estate expert before making a decision.

Is it difficult to find rentals in Saudi Arabia?

Finding a rental in Saudi Arabia is not typically difficult, especially in major cities like Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam. However, the process can be time-consuming and may require some negotiation skills. It's recommended to start your search well in advance and consider hiring a real estate agent to assist you.

What documents are required when renting an apartment in Saudi Arabia?

When renting an apartment in Saudi Arabia, you will need to provide a copy of your passport, visa, and residence permit (Iqama). You may also need to provide proof of employment or income. The landlord will use these documents to prepare the rental contract.

Do I need a lawyer when renting an apartment in Saudi Arabia?

While it's not mandatory to hire a lawyer when renting an apartment in Saudi Arabia, it can be beneficial, especially if you're not familiar with the local laws and regulations. A lawyer can review the rental contract and ensure that your rights are protected. The cost of hiring a lawyer can vary, but it's generally affordable.

How long is the typical lease for?

The typical lease term in Saudi Arabia is one year, but it can be negotiated with the landlord. Some landlords may offer a discount for longer lease terms.

Do I have to pay a deposit?

Yes, it's standard practice in Saudi Arabia to pay a security deposit when renting an apartment. The deposit is usually equivalent to one month's rent but can vary depending on the landlord's requirements. This deposit is refundable at the end of the lease, provided there are no damages to the property.

What other upfront costs are there when renting?

Other upfront costs when renting an apartment in Saudi Arabia may include the first month's rent, broker's fee (if you used a broker), and potentially a utility deposit. It's important to budget for these costs when planning your move.

Are utilities included?

Utilities are typically not included in the rent in Saudi Arabia. Tenants are usually responsible for setting up and paying for utilities such as electricity, water, and internet. The cost of utilities can vary depending on usage, but they are generally affordable.

Are furnished or unfurnished rentals more popular?

Both furnished and unfurnished rentals are available in Saudi Arabia. Furnished apartments typically include furniture, kitchen appliances, and sometimes even linens and dishes. Unfurnished apartments usually only include major appliances like a refrigerator and stove. The choice between furnished and unfurnished depends on your personal preferences and budget," said one expat living in Saudi Arabia.

SJB Global

SJB-Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model. Our clients benefit from their country’s most favorable tax environment by utilizing the efficient investment vehicles we offer. Our commitment to quality service is reflected in our stellar reviews, with over 300 testimonials boasting 95% five-star ratings.

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SJB Global

SJB-Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model. Our clients benefit from their country’s most favorable tax environment by utilizing the efficient investment vehicles we offer. Our commitment to quality service is reflected in our stellar reviews, with over 300 testimonials boasting 95% five-star ratings.

Learn MoreConnect

Click connect to have our partner contact you via e-mail and/or phone.

Expats Talk about What Type of Housing They Live In

"I live in a three bedroom villa. yes for my company it is as they provide their own accomodation," said one expat living in Riyadh.

Expats Talk about How they Found their Home

"My husband chose this place because it is close to his office, and the house is large enough to accomodate us," commented an expat living in Riyadh.

"We were provided with housing, but if you're not, do a lot of research!!! Talk to ex-expats, search message boards, etc etc. But make sure you'll have this all arranged before you leave. The housing / compounds in Kingdom vary extremely from shacks to luxurious villas," said an expat in Khamis Mushayt.

"We found a larger private villa after being in a small compound. It cost the same and now we have our own pool without the harrassment of kids. (Parents allow them to run wild here, with or without supervision to all hours of the night.)," remarked one expat who made the move to Riyadh.

"Finding an appropriate place to live in Saudi Arabia can be a daunting task. Depending on your budget and the area you are looking to live in, there are a variety of ways to find the best place for you. Consider browsing online real estate portals such as Tamleek.sa or Ekar.sa, which feature a variety of housing options for rent or for sale within certain cities and towns. Another option is to contact a local real estate agency, which can help you find suitable properties in and around the city of your choice. You may also consider joining expat and local social media groups in the city that you plan to live in, to help you get advice and tips on finding the right place. Lastly, leveraging the power of social networks in finding a suitable home is also beneficial, as you can be connected with people who have recently moved to the city and can provide helpful insights," explained one expat living in Saudi Arabia.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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