Renting in Saudi Arabia



Expatriates are not allowed to own property in Saudi Arabia. The country offers a wide range of apartments and villas for rental purposes. Here are some tips to help you find rental accommodation in Saudi Arabia.

Relocation Consultants

Multi-national corporations and large institutions usually use the services of relocation consultants to help their employees make a successful move to Saudi Arabia. These consultants help expats deal with the practical and cultural aspects of moving to this region. However many companies that have been operating in Saudi Arabia are also well equipped to deal with relocation issues of their employees and in such a case they do not need services of relocation consultants. Whether or not you will need to use the services of a relocation consultant would depend on the practice followed by your employer. Do take some time to complete all necessary formalities and procure permits before you move your family here.  

Types of Accommodation

Most expats in Saudi Arabia tend to live in apartments or compounds. Compounds are usually large and offer facilities like gymnasiums, communal swimming pools, restaurants, shops, tennis and squash courts, children's play areas and a community hall. Different compounds have residents of different nationalities; many are cosmopolitan and some may house people belonging to a certain nationality or caste.  

Separate apartment blocks tend to house a higher number of expatriates. Properties in general are spacious and quality of maintenance is high. When opting for an accommodation ensure that you have a covered garage or carport- with temperatures rising to 50oC (122oF) in the summer, leaving your car out in the sun will only lead to deterioration of the body.  

Most of the properties that are rented out in Saudi Arabia are likely to be unfurnished barring the barest of essentials like a kitchen unit, lighting fixtures and curtain rails. Furnished property on the market is hard to find and tends to be more expensive.  

How to Find Rental Properties in Saudi Arabia

Renting out property in Saudi Arabia is a straight forward process with most companies having housing arrangements in the form of long term leases on properties for their employees. If you have to look for your own accommodation, don't worry your sponsor or relocation consultant would be able to help.

Depending on your budget, you need to decide on the property location while taking in to consideration factors like work place accessibility, type and size of living space desired by you such as a villa or apartment, the number of bedrooms and so on. There are a number of ways to find a rental property in Saudi Arabia such as:

- Word of mouth is the best way to go so consult your colleagues, friends and company's human resources manager or members of clubs and associations that you enjoy membership of.

- Look up notice boards outside accommodation blocks, local English-language newspapers and magazines. Porters or administration staff in buildings is a good resource to tap.

- Talk to estate agents who are in the know of the market, area and costs, 

- Walk around and visit compound offices to ask about availability and facilities.

Dealing with Estate Agents

Estate agents in Saudi Arabia are usually wives of other expats who with time and resources on hand help new arrivals like you to settle in to the right accommodation. Agents usually accompany you on visits and provide transport facilities on these viewings. Listen carefully to charges and inclusions in the property and double check before signing the contract.    


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Rental Costs

Location and type of property determine the rent payable. As a general guideline here are the average monthly rents for good-quality unfurnished accommodation:

Type of Accommodation

Monthly Rent ($)

1-bedroom apartment


2-bedroom apartment


3-bedroom apartment


2/3-bedroom villa


4+-bedroom villa


Furnished accommodation generally costs 25 per cent above the figures quoted above, and short-term rentals cost more than longer ones. Serviced apartments cost between 30 and 50 per cent more than unserviced apartments where you pay more for services like cleaning, laundry and linen-changing. Water, electricity and air conditioning will have to be paid for. All this will need looking in to while negotiating and signing the contract. A deposit must be paid by you or your sponsor against any damage to the property or items of furnishing that the landlord provides. 

Some states in the country may impose a local tax (baladiya) on property to cover refuse collection and road maintenance. Usually the property owner bears this cost. But ultimately who pays whether landlord or tenant is one of the matters to sort out in the contract. 


It is a common practice for your sponsor to be the principal in the rental contract drawn up with the owner of the property. Contracts may be long term (one year) or short term (one month upwards) and usually call for an advance payment with at least one cheque of the two usually required to be made out being post-dated six months ahead. Employers usually pay rent on behalf of their employees and deduct the same from their salaries. Most contracts include a standard clause about returning property in reasonable condition while allowing for normal wear and tear.  

You may opt to leave the property before the contract expires but in such cases the landlord may not be entirely co-operative. This is why you must be careful while selecting the property in the first place.



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Renting Overseas