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Renting Property

Morocco - Renting Property

Expats can be found all over Morocco, but due to its commercial nature, Casablanca is likely to have a higher expat population. Casablanca is home to many private international companies, multilateral and bilateral that are making a move to Morocco. However, Rabat as the capital city is also a popular expat city, and many expats live in the neighborhoods of Souissi and Agdal that offer a more western style of living than other neighborhoods in the city.

Other cities such as Marrakesh and Tangier are home to many expats as well. And, in Fes, al Khawayn University employs a 50% international faculty, and growing international student populations, so expats from many different countries may choose Fes as a place to work, attend school, and live.

In order to rent an apartment, one needs to find a samsar, similar to a real estate agent. Samsars work in every neighborhood and know where the apartments that are available for rent are. Each party (the renter and the landlord) will need to pay a small commission to the samsar for his services if an apartment is rented. Samsars don’t usually have dedicated offices, so asking at the local establishments such as tea cafes, and convenience stores are good places to start. Samsars may also have other jobs, so don’t be shy about asking the local tailor if he knows anyone; it might turn out he is one! There are several samsars in each neighborhood, and they may know of the same apartments, but they may also know about different apartments. You can meet with more than one, but beware of running into one while the other is showing you an apartment. You are likely to hurt someone’s feelings, and even more likely to run into them on a regular basis if you move to that neighborhood. Be specific about what kind of apartment you want so that they won’t waste time showing you unsuitable options.

Rental prices can range from $125 -$600 per month. The average is about $200-250 per month. The apartments in the lower range are more typical of neighborhoods with basic unfurnished apartments without full bathrooms, and a more working class population. The bathroom is likely to be a small room with a traditional toilet and water faucet for flushing the toilet with a bucket. Most expats will not choose this type of apartment or neighborhood. On the higher end, you can find large apartments, sometimes furnished or partially furnished, in the middle class neighborhoods. These apartments are often equipped with western bathrooms including a toilet and shower, and nice tile work throughout the home. The shower can be heated through a gas tank in the apartment in these homes as well. Some may also include a system for heating and cooling the apartment, while this is likely not to be found in an apartment in the lower rental range.

Month-to-month leases are popular in Morocco as most apartment owners are not fond of having long term tenants in their buildings (more than a year or two). However, you can make an agreement with a landlord for a set amount of time you plan to live in an apartment to avoid be asked to leave before you might be ready (for example, a one-year lease agreement). Creating a contract or lease agreement is not common practice in Morocco. Typically, when you pay the first months rent, you move in and no contract is ever signed. It is also not common practice for a deposit to be paid before moving in. However, since most written business is conducted in French, expats should make sure they understand the contract fully before signing it if they are not familiar with the language. If the landlord insists the document be written in Arabic, it’s also a good idea to have the document translated by a certified translator. Documents in Morocco have to be legalized (notarized) at a local town administration building in order to be considered a valid agreement. Documents that are not legalized are considered null and void, and will not stand up in any court. Otherwise, expats should just be aware that all agreements made about the lease are noted in the contract before signing.

Expats may be surprised to find that an unfurnished apartment in Morocco means a completely bare apartment void of a refrigerator, stove and oven unit, and other kitchen appliances typical of renting in the United States. Heating and cooling systems are also not typical of apartments, mostly due to the mild weather, but space heaters and fans can easily be purchased to help heat or cool an apartment as needed. In some of the lower range rent apartments, built-in closets and cabinets are also not typical, but large apartment buildings with multiple units are more likely to have such storage. Floors are not carpeted in any room, so area rugs would also need to be purchased if desired as well. Sometimes previous tenants leave their satellite dishes behind, so you would be able to utilize the dish by purchasing a receiver if you wanted.

Apartments are also come as they are in Morocco. This means that an apartment will not be painted or repaired before moving in, and it is the responsibility of the tenant to take care of any and all repairs while living there. However, you can paint an apartment without permission of the landlord, though this might make them nervous that you plan to stay for a very long time. However, if you plan to make any major renovations you should discuss them with the landlord before installing anything. Satellite dishes are pretty common installations, so you don’t need to ask for permission to install it on the roof or outside a window of the apartment.

Domestic help is typical among the upper-middle class and is relatively affordable. They may be hired for household cleaning, cooking, and taking care of the children or all of the above.

Other than common courtesy of keeping the area of the hallway near your entry door clean, emptying your trash and being considerate of how long you leave your clothes on the roof to dry, they’re really aren’t any rules to follow when renting an apartment. Morocco doesn’t have recycling, but many neighborhoods have large trash bins on every corner, so you should empty your household trash in them, rather than leaving them on the curb outside your street. Check with the neighborhood locals about parking a car if your street is very narrow, one way or doesn’t have street parking if you own a car.

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