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Housing in Cambodia

Buying a Property

Foreign purchases of property are probably easier in Cambodia than in any other country in IndoChina. Foreigners can freely buy apartments above the ground floor.

The ground floor is always associated with control over the land. Foreign individuals cannot buy land in Cambodia directly. But land can be held by foreigners on long (renewable) leases and through majority locally-owned companies incorporated in Cambodia. This company structure is the safest for a foreigner wishing to buy land. It is not totally bullet-proof, but in practice it works.

Foreigners typically take two Cambodian nationals as partners in the land-holding company, with the 51% share allocated so that the foreigner is the biggest single partner.

Other safeguards include:

1. Creating different classes of shares, giving the foreigner more rights;
2. Minority control documents;
3. A mortgage on the land, stipulating that the land cannot be transferred without the consent of the foreigner.

Leases up to 99 years are another common acceptable structure – the magnificent Raffles Hotel le Royal in Phnom Penh, for instance, is held on a simple lease.

Nominee structures should be avoided.

Condominiums above ground floor in the better districts are priced at around US$2,300 to US$2,800 per square metre.

Renting a Property

Cambodia’s legal system is generally pro-landlord. Rents can be freely negotiated and there is no specific tenant protection law.

There are no limits to the duration of leases, though residential long-term leases usually last for one year. However, the rental agreement may be terminated prior to expiration if either the tenant or the landlord serves a notice one or two months before termination.

Rental agreements are made in writing, but oral agreements are also acceptable for rentals of less than one year. This is freely drawn between the landlord and the tenant.

A security deposit equal to one month’s rent and two months’ advance rent for the last two months of tenancy are normally obtained from the tenant prior to occupancy. If the tenant vacates the property before the lease has expired, the deposit is forfeited. The security deposit will be refunded three days after the end of tenancy and after deductions for repairs and cleaning are made.

Popular area for expatriates relocation is the city of Phnom Penh. Houses are scattered throughout central part of city. All are detached houses surrounded by fences and patrolled by a 24-hour guard service. Houses generally have 3 or more bedrooms and bathrooms. A/C is in most rooms. Each house has a small compound within the fence, containing driveway plus either small area of grass and/or patio area for potted plants.

Cost of housing varies from area to area and the size of the house or apartment. You will pay anything from US$400 for a 2 bedroom apartment to US$3,000 for a 5 bedroom house and even higher.





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