Finding long term accommodation

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Long term accommodation in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Staying a while in Siem Reap? If you’ve been staying in a Siem Reap guest house, hotel or hostel and need to find something more long term, there are several options available to you, giving you better value, additional space, or perhaps a kitchen and cooking facilities. Families might prioritise extra bedrooms, a garden or outside space for a pet or entertaining.

First time visitors to Siem Reap often opt to stay in a guesthouse or other short term accommodation while they get their bearings and find their way around. See our Directory for accommodation suggestions. Many will happily offer a discounted price for stays of more than a couple of weeks, so do ask directly. Guesthouse owners and staff are great sources of local know-how and have useful contacts, too.

Location

Once you feel orientated, you’ll settle on a preference for location – perhaps proximity to your place of work or other spots in the city that you visit frequently. Areas surrounding the city’s international schools are popular with expat families, cutting down on school run journey time. Peace seekers and those working from home may prefer locations just outside the city centre, where accommodation costs less but journeys to the shops and nightlife take a few more minutes.

Consider your mode of transport – will you be walking, or riding a bicycle or moto? Tuk tuk journeys add up, as would a car purchase and fuel / maintenance costs. Let your day-to-day practical needs be your guide.

Rental types

Your budget will be a factor in your search for accommodation, and Siem Reap has everything from your basic fan-only room for $60 per month, to spacious, luxury villas with a pool and tropical gardens for upwards of $1000 per month, and a vast array of choice in between. One or two bedroom apartments are plentiful, most having space to park a bike or vehicle, and some with a shared pool. Khmer-style wooden houses are characterful and excellent value for the space, making them a practical choice for families. Modern villas with mod cons are available, too, and often come furnished, which makes them ideally suited to those not wanting the expense or commitment of buying beds, chairs and other expensive purchases.

Terms of your contract include the duration of your tenancy. Typically, apartments are more likely to accept six or even three month contracts, whereas villa owners often specify longer agreements, such as one year. These can often be negotiated to suit you, and then extended as necessary upon expiry.

Finding accommodation

Ready to take the plunge and go house hunting? There are several ways to get started.

Looking online

Put some feelers out on social media channels, as Siem Reap has many pages and groups dedicated to property searches such as:

On these pages, you can ask for any leads, at the same time as scrolling through the latest listings. Viewings can usually be arranged by replying to a post on the FB page and liaising direct with the agent or owner.

Try our Siem Reap community page, too, for general questions about living in Siem Reap: https://www.facebook.com/groups/siemreapcommunity/.

Using agents

Contact an agency, or even a few, to ask what they currently have available to show you in your price range. Agents here do not charge the tenant a fee for finding a property – charges are passed on to the owner, so you can enlist their help without commitment or obligation. Most agents have properties to show you that may not be advertised on their website or social media page, making it well worthwhile to get in touch and register your interest. The advantages of going through an agent include help with negotiating (the price, the contract or other details). Staff often speak both Khmer and English, too, which makes the transaction process much more smooth.

You can confidently enlist help from these local agents with your search:

Walking around

While you are out and about in the city, it’s a common sight to see ‘for rent’ signs placed on vacant properties. Most will have a phone number to call to find out more, and arrange a viewing.

Before you sign

Found a place you like? Ensure you have all the information about the property before proceeding to sign a contract. What is included in the rental price? Many apartments and modern villas offer utilities such as water, cable TV, sometimes WiFi and waste collection services, too, included in the monthly rent.

Electricity is rarely included, and it varies as to how the tenant pays this monthly bill. The bill might be given to you every month for you to pay to EDC (Electricité de Cambodge) direct, or you might pay your landlord based on their calculation. Always get an initial meter reading, and make sure you know how to access it for future reference.

Some more tips…

Lastly, these tips will help you to secure your ideal accommodation without a hitch:

  • If you have narrowed down your search to one or two properties, it pays to visit them at different times of day. You can get a feel for things like noisy construction, traffic building up, the journey time to work or school and how well lit the neighbourhood is after dark.
  • Have a Khmer-speaking friend or colleague accompany you to your viewing will ease translation issues, if necessary.
  • Take your time to review the contract before signing, and make sure all the details are correct, such as tenancy start date and the duration of the rental.
  • Have your passport and visa page copies ready, as they will usually be required to confirm your tenancy.
  • Check the condition of the property, the air conditioning units and any appliances or furnishings that are included. If any maintenance needs to be done, agree this with the owner before moving in, rather than waiting.
  • Take the electricity meter reading when you move in, and take a photo or make a note. This will ensure you don’t pay for power that was used before you moved in.
  • Find out from the owner or agent who is responsible for maintenance issues that arise during your tenancy. Make sure you have their number to call. If you are responsible, the owner may have a preferred company or supplier, and it might save you time and money to continue using them.
  • The condition of the roads surrounding your chosen property is something to consider. If you use a car, is the road passable in wet conditions? Flooding can happen during the rainy season and, while this is hard to predict, if the area has flooded before, the chances are that it will flood again.
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate. You might be able to agree on a lower rent if you plan to stay for a long time, for example. If the property has been empty for a while, you could have some bargaining power on the price. Ask with a smile, you never know!
  • Most owners are happy to discuss pets living on the property, but some are wary of possible damage. Paying an additional refundable deposit or agreeing to pay for pet-related damages in the contract might be a sensible way forward.
Clare Lawrence is a long-time expat, originally from England, with six years in the UAE under her belt as well as over a year here in Siem Reap. She has written on expat life, saving money, holidaying with children and budget travel for a number of magazines and websites, including Siemreap.net.