Oasis Magazine Articles

House Hunting

April 17, 2011

You have arrived in Cairo and now you need a place to live.

Start by looking on community bulletin boards like the one outside the CSA Center.  If you haven’t found something that suits your needs, you can go through a real estate agent or, if you are ambitious...


you can visit apartment buildings in the area you would like to live.  The porter will usually know if there are available flats.

If you have done any research before hand, then you have probably heard that rents in Cairo are cheap. As tourist, expect to pay in the range of 800 LE - 1,500 LE for a “lux” flat with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a balcony. Don't be fooled. This will not be like an apartment or house in America or Western Europe.  For that level of quality, you want a “super lux” flat which will run about 2500-4000 L.E.

Not all landlords offer leases, so do not be surprised if your landlord comes around sporadically asking for a rent increase. This may happen as early as your first month living in the flat, in which case you should refuse.  After all, you did agree upon a price. However, after six months or so, it is not unusual to have a small rent increase.

If you have not signed a lease, make sure you know the terms for leaving before you move in. Usually they want 30 days notice, which is normal and fair. Likewise, if he wants to evict you, you need the same amount of notice.

If the landlord asks for a security deposit, it should no more than one month rent. If he tries to ask for a larger amount or says you need to pay a few months rent at once, step away from this situation. And as elsewhere in the world, you might expect a difficult time getting all of the deposit back, as the landlord is likely to find this or that repair that must be done.

Every six months, you do have to pay your phone bill. Ask to have a photocopy of the actual bill. Once you have some experience in Cairo, you can handle the telephone bill on your own. Be sure to keep the invoice to give to the landlord. Keep a photocopy yourself. If you are using the phone constantly in the day, for example many hours on the net, expect your bill to be around 1,000 LE every six months.

Other costs you should expect include a garbage fee of around 5 LE per month and electricity, which might typically cost 30 LE each month. There is also the cost of simply living in Egypt. Remember that about every six months you must renew your passport at the Mugamma. This cost is about 30 LE for the stamp (tourist resident visa).

If something in the flat breaks, advise your landlord. If you broke it, you are responsible for fixing it. If something broke due to normal wear and tear, then it should be the flat owner's responsibility. However, repair services are often inexpensive in Egypt, and there are times when it is easier to pay a plumber 20 LE to fix something then to go to the trouble of arranging repairs with the landlord.

If you have further questions, you can always drop by the CSA Information and Referral Center.  One of our trained staff will be able to assist you in your search for that perfect apartment. Our Center is opened Sunday thru Wednesday from 9.00am-9.00pm and Thursday from 9.00am- 5.00pm or call us at 2358-5284




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