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Renting Property

Saudi Arabia - Renting Property

Virtually all expatriates working in Saudi Arabia rent their property, and many are on employment contracts that include free or heavily subsidized housing, furniture and utilities.

The majority of expatriates live in large compounds, with resort-type facilities. The Mutawwa do not enter such areas so it is possible to live a much more relaxed lifestyle than would be possible outside the compound. The compounds vary greatly in size and facilities, from small developments of around six houses and a swimming pool, to vast complexes including hundreds of houses and apartments, with pools, sports and leisure facilities and convenience stores.

If your employment contract does not include free housing, the starting rental price for a two-bedroom villa in an expatriate compound is likely to be in the region of SR50,000 per year. You will usually be required to pay a year's rent in advance, although this may be negotiable and some compounds accept six-monthly or monthly payments.

Although most compound accommodation comes 'fully furnished' the definition of this varies, from just basic furniture to full provision of household items such as bedding, crockery and cutlery.

There is a wide range of good quality accommodation available for rent at relatively low cost outside the expatriate compounds, with annual charges starting at around SR15,000 for an unfurnished apartment, inclusive of utility bills. However, given the restrictive laws and customs in the country, and the difficulty of getting to know Saudi nationals socially, this option is likely to be very restrictive and isolating, particularly for families. If you do decide to rent outside the compounds, be sure to get the Arabic rental contract translated.

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