Saudi Arabia: The Challenges with Renting

rentals in ksa


Most expats who come to work in Saudi Arabia are provided accommodations by their employer.  Their employer either has a compound or apartment complex for the expat or maybe provides an annual stipend for the expat to find his/her own housing.  However, the bottom line is that most expats are provided comfortable accommodations and do not go through the same challenges as a Saudi national who may wish to rent a house or an apartment.

You might think it would be easier for a Saudi to rent a residence as compared to an expat but that is not always the case.  To begin with, when renting, most landlords require one year’s rent in advance.  That’s a lot of money!  And not surprisingly, once the landlord has the monies there is little incentive for him to maintain or get any problems with the house repaired.  It’s pretty common for the renter to simply take care of any maintenance issues.

Additionally, a lot of places available for a Saudi to rent may be more of a shell and this particularly applies to the kitchen.  Whether an apartment or a house, the kitchen is simply another ‘bare room.’  Yes,  bare as in no appliances or kitchen cupboards.  There will be hookups for the appliances but generally the tenant must acquire them.  Then in regards to the cupboards, drawers and countertops, there are a number of shops which specialize in “ready made kitchens.”  These shops will have a wide selection of cupboards, drawers and countertops in various sizes and in some cases, on wheels, so they are easy to move in and out.

Most places will not come with carpeting on the floors.  Some houses or apartments will have marble floors.  But if a tenant desires wall to wall or room carpet, he will be responsible for selecting and getting it installed.  However many individuals within Saudi Arabia prefer individual hand-made carpets to grace their floors.

Speaking from my own experience in Riyadh, if a kitchen is equipped with a gas stove, be prepared to order gas cylinders every few months.  To my knowledge, the city did not have any natural gas pipelines where gas was “piped” directly to the stove.  Cylinders are provided in groups of two and I quickly learned as soon as one ran out to reorder replenishments right away.  No one wants to find themselves without gas in the midst of preparing dinner.

This information is provided for individuals who think they may want to find their own place while in the Kingdom.  When a sponsor provides accommodation in either an apartment building or in a compound, the apartment usually has more conveniences such as washer/dryer, equipped kitchen and probably electric appliances.


3 Responses

  1. Very interesting! Especially problem of not having kitchen appliances not already installed in a rental home! That would drive me nuts. Who wants to be moving around stove, fridge…

    Yes, a year’s advance rental payment is too much to take!

  2. In our flat we do not have gas cylinders in our kitchen- we have the gas piped in directly to our cooker. Maybe the owner of the building does a good job of topping up the cylinders because thankfully we have never run out of gas! Though I have no idea where they keep the gas cylinders for all the flats of our building- maybe on the roof?

  3. That is nice, Muslim Woman. What city are you in?

    On Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 1:07 PM, American Bedu

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