Normally the documentation actually required to rent property in Cambodia is reasonably minimal. You’ll at least need a copy of your passport and visa, and occasionally a letter from an employer.
Along with this, you’ll invariably have to put down a security deposit, which can be between 1-3 months rent, and is normally negotiable. Of course, this deposit makes it doubly important to ensure that the contract you’re signing is legitimate. In order for it to be valid, there’s a few things your lease agreement must specify:
- The address of the property
- The name of both the landlord and the tenant
- A list of all payment dates to come
- The amount of the deposit
- If it’s a furnished property, a full inventory
- Right thumb fingerprints of the landlord, tenant and a witness of each. These are to act as a signature for all parties involved.
Corruption and a weak judicial system means you’ll want to do your best to avoid Cambodia’s courts, and one of the best ways of doing this is renting a property from someone trustworthy. Whilst estate agents are often more reliable, they might also be more practiced in ripping people off, so it’s still important to read their terms and conditions very carefully.
When arranging it through a landlord, it pays to ask certain questions about how long they’ve had the property for, who’s lived there before and why they left, or any past issues with the property. If anything sets alarm bells ringing, you might want to think of dealing with somebody else.
Leases tend to be a minimum of two months, although you can often get something for just one for an extra fee. In general, it’s more common and economical to rent for periods of 12 months. Assuming you don’t speak Khmer, contracts are generally also available in English, and you certainly shouldn’t sign one that isn’t.