GUIDELINES TO RENT A PROPERTY IN EGYPT AS A FOREIGNER
Finding an Apartment|9.47 MIN READ|Updated on: 07 October 2023|Written by: Mohamed Hassan
In the year of 2021, there has been a rapid change within the prices of the rental properties in Egypt. You will find that many landlords that were renting their properties with such higher prices in the past years have realized that the prices have declined and they are not receiving the same payments from their tenants as before. You will also realize that the real estate market has increased with the number of agents/brokers working the field but in this sudden change since the pandemic, you will find that there are less professional real estate agencies to deal with and more agents working in the streets trying to finish any deal and never having to deal with the owner/tenant again.
With the COVID-19 pandemic that has occurred in the early months of 2020, you will find that there are less people travelling due to health, travel and new procedures and protocols that needs to be followed. You will realize that the number of expats arriving to Egypt has drastically changed over the years while there are many luxurious properties that stay in the real estate market because the budget isn't found. The common phrase told by many landlords/brokers that can be suggested and sometimes implied by force to many clients would be, "This is the best property for you, you should make a decision before the property is taken by another client".
This phrase can be truthful but not at all times. You should realize that the best property for yourself and family to rent should go under 3 considerations that you should always be in the back of your mind when you are looking to rent a new property within the beautiful country of Egypt which are:
Once you believe you have found the right place for yourself, you should always consider these three aspects. If you believe that all three aspects are positive then you should proceed further and finalize within that property. If you believe that it is best 2 out of 3 is in your favor, then you are on the right track and should consider a few other options before you take the final decision. If only 1 out of 3 is positive, then you should obviously look for more options that can be suitable upon your request.
Whether you are a resident of Egypt or an expat coming from abroad, Location is one of the top aspects to consider when you choose to rent in Egypt. You should consider the location of your office or workplace and how far it would take you to get to that destination. You should also consider the factor of schools/universities in case that you have children to enroll in these schools and the location of these places in case you would like to drive them there as well. Another consideration is the factor of the facilities among the property and whether there are enough recreational activities that you can attend or supermarkets and retail/shops and stores in case you would like to pick up groceries or go shopping during your free time. When it comes to most foreigners and expats that are arriving in Cairo, they would choose Maadi and New Cairo as their top options due to the workplaces and schools that are provided in these areas.
ALL ABOUT MAADI:
There are five different areas within the beautiful district of Maadi that many people would choose to reside within this area such as:
Sarayat El Maadi
Degla El Maadi
Zahraa El Maadi
Corniche El Maadi
Many foreigners would consider Maadi as their top option in the case that they are respectful representatives of their countries to serve their honored embassies or if they are international teachers serving a few years within the many international schools provided in Maadi. You will find that most embassies are located in two locations within Cairo which are Zamalek and Maadi because both locations offer natural appealing locations for each embassy. From the many embassies you can find in Maadi, here are a few that you can find within the beautiful natural district of Maadi:
Embassy of Mexico
Embassy of Philippines
Embassy of The Republic of Azerbaijan
Embassy of South Africa
Embassy of Venezuela
Embassy of Japan
From the many international schools that you can enroll your children, here are a few international schools you can put into consideration that have a very respected and trusted history with many expats such as:
Cairo American College
French International School In Egypt
Malvern College Egypt
New Cairo British International School
Maadi British International School
The best two locations within the district of Maadi would be Sarayat El Maadi and Degla El Maadi. With all the foreigners arriving during the year choosing these two areas specifically when it comes to living in Maadi.
Sarayat El Maadi is an option for many foreigners and residents alike due to the fact that it is a popular location for all residents of Maadi. With the history that Sarayat El Maadi can present, it is truly unlike any other area in Maadi and even Cairo as a whole. With all the properties being spacious and luxurious, you can never go wrong by choosing Sarayat El Maadi to be the place for you to reside whether now or the future.
Many foreigners since New Cairo has expanded within the capital of Egypt, there have been many new adjustments such as offices that have relocated and educational schools/universities that have always provided the best education throughout the country of Egypt such as:
International Schools in New Cairo
American International School (A.I.S.)
New Cairo British School (N.C.B.S.)
Modern English School (M.E.S.)
The International Schools of Choueifat
Canadian International School in New Cairo
International Universities in New Cairo
American University in Cairo (A.U.C.)
German University in Cairo (G.U.C.)
British University in Cairo (B.U.C.)
Canadian International College (C.I.C.)
Future University in Egypt
If you choose to rent a property in Egypt, there are three options:
You should always put into consideration the size of the property and what kind of property you are looking to rent in case you are looking to rent properties such as:
If you are looking to rent a furnished apartment, that would mean that everything in the property should be equipped from the furniture in the reception to the bedrooms with mattresses and kitchen utilities that are provided by the landlord of the property. You should put into consideration that when you choose to rent a furnished property that the responsibility of the landlord is to provide you with everything fully functioning and is not responsible after the first month’s trial period in case the tenant is not taking care of the belongings of the property and would require the property to be repaired often.
If you are looking to rent a semi-furnished apartment, that would mean it could either have some furniture in the rooms or reception or no furniture at all but all the kitchen utilities and air conditioning units are provided by the landlord of the property. When choosing to rent a semi-furnished property, the landlord is required to make sure that all the utilities are functioning so that the tenant can have a pleasant stay in their property.
Unfurnished properties are either provided with fixtures and fittings, kitchen cupboards, sinks and bathroom fixtures are provided by the landlord or certain aspects can be provided and are detailed further in the contract as both parties would agree that these items have been placed to the tenant in a certain condition and would be returned in the same manner.
Every property has a certain price that would not exceed the owner’s expectations and it is obviously in the best interest of the owner to rent their property but not for any price either. When it comes to the price of the property, it obviously depends highly on the owner’s acceptance but as well as the successful real estate agency that is dealing with the request of the property as well. You should consider if you are looking for a property for rent in Cairo, you could always offer to pay advance payments such as quarterly, half or even a full year if you have the expenses and you are highly interested in this property and it could give you a good price with the owner if it is discussed ahead of time. If you are looking for the best prices for apartments you should consider a real estate agency that you can trust and that has your best interest at all times with the real estate services that are provided to you during that time.
Once you have found the property that is best for you then you would have to consider writing a rental agreement that should be detailed and include all the following information about both parties, landlord and tenant. It should be understood that the law in Egypt is fair between the landlord and tenant.
First Party (Landlord)
Name of the Landlord
Nationality of the Landlord
Residence of the Landlord
National Identification of the Landlord
Second Party (Tenant)
Name of the tenant
Nationality of the Tenant
National Identification/Passport Number of the Tenant
Issued date of the Identification presented by the Tenant
You will find above the basic information that should be provided to proceed with the rental contract between both parties. There should also be a documented photograph of both parties with the identification documents presented.
When renting in Egypt, you can find many different contracts that can be provided to you, but you should read each contract clearly and if you are a foreigner you should not be provided a contract that isn’t understood. When dealing with a respectful real estate agency, you will find that the contract details are provided to you ahead of time so that both parties can review the document in case they have any last minute changes that can be discussed.
When signing the rental agreement, you should read it carefully and take your time and not be stressed having to sign a document that you might regret later if there are any details that don’t cover your benefits legally. When choosing to deal with an experienced real estate agency, you will find that the final meeting of the contract is delightful and full of smiles as both parties received what is fair upon their requests.
You have been through all the basic information that should be provided to carry on with the contract signing, comes the clauses that you need to concentrate and read thoroughly such as:
Location of Rental Property
Duration of Lease (Start and End Dates provided)
Rental Value of the Property and if there is an annual increase
Method of Payment
Duties of the First Party
Duties of the Second Party
Signatures of both parties
You will find above all the necessary information that should be finalized and completed before any rental contract is agreed upon and if the case that this information is not provided in the contract agreement, you might be facing problems with both parties in the future.
The location of rental property shall be provided with full detail with the apartment number, building number, road number and district written clearly in the language of your choosing.
The duration of lease shall be presented in either numerical or alphabetical order and sometimes can be provided with both manners to secure the interest of both parties.
Rental value of the property shall be written in numerical or alphabetical order in order to secure the interest of both parties. You will find that in the rental value that some landlords prefer a payment in a certain currency - in this case, you can pay with that currency that is requested or you can choose to discuss with the owner to pay the equivalent of the amount in Egyptian Pounds. You might find that some owners will request the annual raise of 10% with the Egyptian Currency and less in the case that the amount is paid with another currency. You should understand that this is not necessary, but sometimes it can assist you if you are looking for a certain price with the owner in the first place, where both parties can benefit and find what is fair in the contract agreement.
The method of payment is discussed with both parties ahead of time through the real estate agency as what is best for both the landlord and the tenant. You will find that most owners will request a quarterly payment that is understood in certain cases to determine if the tenant is stable financially and sometimes is discussed with the owner to be able to get a good bargain on the initial asking price.
The security deposit is a deposit that is paid by the tenant as a security/insurance which is usually the amount of one month of the rental property and sometimes certain owners will request a security deposit that is more in the case that it is a long term contract to determine the stability of the tenant as well and to be insure the landlord that the price of their furniture/utilities can be repaired or replaced in the case that the tenant didn’t respect the premise as agreed. Another reason a security deposit is required is in the case that the contract is terminated and not valid, the landlord has the right to keep the deposit if the tenant chooses to not follow the clauses that were agreed upon in the rental contract. The security deposit is also paid in advance so that the landlord can cover any late bills that haven't been paid by the tenant in the case the tenant is not responsible.
You should consider that the security deposit is paid just for the landlord to feel safe knowing that there wouldn't be any further issues that might occur with payments and in case there would be an issue, the security deposit is paid ahead of time to ensure the landlord's best interest. Once the contract is finalized and the duration has been completed, the landlord is obliged to return the security deposit to the tenant in the case there are no late payments regarding the property, utilities and what has been provided by the landlord. This does not mean that wear and tear of certain furniture is not included, but this does also suggest that the contract has been long term where it is understood that there can be simple renovations to be made within the property.
The duties of the landlord should include that the landlord is responsible for any major repairs that should be completed within the unfractured of the property such as water, electricity, sewage and gas issues that might occur and that the landlord has a certain time period to follow through with this task and not delay such issues any further. When you are signing the contract, you should put into consideration that the landlord has discussed with you earlier about any repairs or tasks that shall be accomplished ahead of time. In this case, the repairs and tasks can be written in the contract or can be mutually agreed upon depending on the request. Other duties by the landlord are that they should present their property without any outstanding bills to be paid and that all the taxes and duties of the premises within the rental duration belong to the landlord.
The duties of the tenant is that the tenant should be responsible to pay all the bills such as electricity, gas, telephone and internet bills that will occur during the rental duration. Another duty by the tenant is that they should examine everything within the premise of the property to ensure that they have received what they have agreed upon whether documented or verbal.
You should also put into consideration that the tenant has a one month trial period where they can try the equipment within the property to ensure that everything is working just fine without any errors. The tenant should also understand that they shall not sublet or bring anyone to share the property with him/her without an approval or agreement by the landlord.
Contract termination can happen in the case of any force majeure reasons such as diplomatic positions that can not always be stable in certain countries so it should be in the best interest to discuss this with the owner in the case of having to leave the country with a notice period and understanding that the deposit may not be returned in certain cases of termination. Another reason for termination of the contract can be if there is any natural act or disaster that can not be controlled by mankind, the tenant may choose to leave the country against their wishes, in this case the tenant shall not refund the deposit money. The termination of the contract solely relies on the clauses agreed upon within the contract and to follow what is legally written within the rental agreement.
The notice period is requested by the owner by the end of the rental duration of one month so that they can view their property to other future tenants that can take the property once you have finished your rental duration. This is to ensure that the landlord can find another suitable respectful tenant in the meantime that you are planning to move out.
Additional Clauses can be discussed ahead of time with both parties through the real estate agent that is finding what is mutually fair between the landlord and the tenant. In the case that there can be a certain aspect that can be forgotten and it can be written by hand or documented ahead of time in such of repairs, furniture to be removed or added. After all this has been agreed upon, you can finally sign the contract between both parties where they are both satisfied and content with their mutual agreement.
WHAT TO AVOID WHEN IT COMES TO DEALING WITH BROKERS
Every person has their own different needs, preferences and sometimes circumstances that they would have to abide by. That is why you should always avoid any real estate agent or broker that deals with you blindly without having to take your case into serious consideration. Most real estate agents would hear your rental duration and maximum budget and blindly offer you properties that might not even interest you in the first place. Try to avoid these real estate agents because they would end up wasting your time and sometimes money in return.
Another objective to avoid when dealing with a real estate agent is the fact that they would always give you the same remarks for most places even if they don’t believe what they are saying is true just so you can make the final decision and have them finalize the deal and be paid as fast as possible. Try to avoid any real estate agent that you feel doesn’t have your best interest at heart. The best real estate agent/broker would offer you the best properties and prices that can be presented to you at that time that would match your criteria, preferences and circumstances.
Last but not least, the majority of the real estate agents that you would deal with in Egypt, would look forward to finalizing the deal with their client and never hearing or speaking to them again after that even if they will be facing issues with what they were recently promised throughout that real estate rental transaction.
HOW TO KNOW YOU ARE DEALING WITH A PROFESSIONAL REAL ESTATE AGENCY
When it comes to the field of real estate, nobody will confess to you their weaknesses but always point out their strengths. An experienced professional real estate agent would ask you all the right questions needed so that they can provide you with the best properties and prices upon your request. They would explain to you what you need to understand within every property and what the landlord is expecting from their future tenants as well as what the client is expecting from the landlord.
THE DUTY OF A REAL ESTATE AGENT
Once a real estate agent has been requested from a potential client, they would have to contact you and consider it their duty to present you with almost everything that you have requested. Some clients wouldn’t know the real estate market much so then they would have to be taught and educated about the ins-outs of the properties and roads that follow.
A professional within the field will be with you every step of the way, from the first phone call to the signatures on the contract - you must understand that the real estate agent is considered a “middle-man” in the transaction so in return they should be expected to have the best interest of both parties.
You should consider that the more experience that the real estate agent that you are dealing with has encountered means that they have seen many different cases and have dealt with many different solutions. Most will not confess what they are lacking in the field, you can only understand that you will see the results through the actions of this specific real estate agent.
With the ability to have a wide frame of database of all the properties that can be presented for rental use, you will find that the best real estate agent that can assist you will be realistic and honest with you about the services that they can provide for you.
WHAT IS THE RENTAL COMMISSION AND DO BOTH PARTIES HAVE TO PAY THE BILL?
A topic that haunts many people that deal with real estate brokers/agents in Egypt is what is the exact amount for the commission and who is responsible for this payment. You should understand that the broker/agent is only owed a commission as long as they were the ones who originally showed you the premises to the client. Many clients would choose different brokers so that they can understand what is their best option to rent and in return can go behind the past broker/agent in the case that the present agent/broker can offer them less commission or a better price of the property being presented. In some cases, a broker can actually ask for justice legally through the landlord or client as they have been unethically mishandled while they were just doing their jobs.
With the many clients that the real estate agent would have to handle - they would have to prepare such a list of properties for the list of clients and in return having to deal with each client specifically so they can get what they have requested. You will find that many brokers would try to maintain a friendly relationship with their client and have to present the best properties with the best prices possible so that the client wouldn’t assume that they are being hustled or having their time wasted in return.
You should also understand that this does not mean that every broker that presents you every property deserves to close the deal for you. There are many brokers that can take advantage of the opportunity to present you with all the properties first but that does not mean that these properties can not have a better price or that the broker can not get the exact deal that you have requested.
It is obviously always better to pursue other agencies in the case that you have not found the perfect place for yourself or have to understand if that first agency was the best fit for you or not.
In the case of the commission of the rental property, the landlord is responsible to pay to the real estate agent/broker who has finalized the deal for their property the sum of about 10% of the deal that has occurred. For example:
Landlord has agreed upon 6 months or less: 10 percent of the rental payment as brokerage commission.
Landlord has agreed upon 1 year and more: The rental amount of 1 month as brokerage commission.
Tenant has agreed upon 6 months or less: 5 percent of the total amount paid during the rental period as brokerage fee
Tenant has agreed upon 1 year or more: 10 percent of the total amount paid during the rental period as brokerage fee
You should understand that many real estate brokers/agents can negotiate the price of their commission just to have to finalize the deal with itself. But the above table is presented to clarify that if the client is a single entity looking to rent then they are responsible for the payment method above. But they are presented with a governmental organization, educational institute or even foreign affairs - these fees do not apply as these respected organizations/institute/corporations are in direct terms with the agency so in return they would have the ability to allow both parties to benefit from such a transaction.
It is always fair to ask your potential real estate agent/broker who they charge for their fees/commission but logically it would be best that you clarify with your agent which fees that you would cover because the side of the commission should only be paid by the owner and the side of the client is expected to be the office fees in the case that the real estate agency is well respected and has a great reputation of dealing with their clients with the best services possible.
The misunderstanding that usually happens with most real estate agents and their payments is because the real estate market has many people working the field without actually being certified. They wouldn’t have an office or employees to handle just so that they can earn the full payment from both parties without any questions to be asked. Once you deal with a real estate agent in Egypt, you should always consider asking them what company they represent and with the answer that follows you would have a better understanding of how to deal under these circumstances that have been discussed earlier.