The Egyptian rental market


Decent housing and utility can be had relatively cheaply in Egypt. Still, finding, securing and maintaining a rental can be trying process.

There is no shortage of housing available in Egypt, and if you are a foreigner working or studying there you will probably have more than enough money to afford decent accommodation. The main things you will have to decide is how much you are willing to spend and where you want to live.

Under no circumstances should you rent the first available flat that you see. When selecting an area to live in, carefully consider things like the availability of public transportation, cleanliness and proximity to grocery stores and markets. Also, give some thought to whether you would prefer to live in an expat enclave or a more “cosmopolitan” setting. In Cairo, for example, areas like Maadi and Zamelek offer pleasant accommodation and easy access to many amenities, but they can isolate you from experiencing other parts of the city.

Conversely, beware going looking for “the real Egypt” when flat hunting. What may seem like a quaint, exotic Egyptian neighbourhood (and a steal of a monthly rent bill) at first glance may quickly turn into a nightmare for a foreign tenant – water and electricity may cut out without warning or you may discover a number of many-legged flatmates who aren’t listed on the lease.

The good news is that a decent, two-bedroom flat with a kitchen, living space, bathroom and a washing machine can be had for less than LE2000 a month (under USD400). If you’re a good negotiator and you don’t mind shopping around, you can probably find even better deals. In addition, monthly utility costs are generally exceedingly cheap.

A word of caution

If you are single, be aware that your neighbours, landlord or both may frown on visitors of the opposite sex, especially in the evening hours.

Unmarried Egyptian men and women typically live with their parents until they marry, at which point the parents provide the bride and groom with a furnished home.

If you expect to be receiving visitors of the opposite sex, you should try and find a polite way to broach the subject to your landlord. It may seem like an embarrassing question to ask, but a moment’s embarrassment could save you the trouble of having to introduce a love interest as a sibling or cousin!

Further reading

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