So you’ve found your dream Cambodian Property and it’s time to work out the finer details with the Owner. The Landlord is generally much more open to spending money on improvements or purchasing additional furniture at this time – use it.
Draw up a wish list of changes you require and go through it with your Landlord. In most cases the Landlord will seriously consider items that add or retain value to the property including re-painting, installation of additional air-con units and purchasing of basic furniture. Landlords tend to baulk at purchasing of Plasma TV’s and Coffee Makers but put them on the list and use them as leverage items, “I won’t require a Plasma TV if you fit the second bedroom with an Air-con….”
Get a feel for your Landlord and be sure not to over play your hand, just last week a Landlord lost their nut with a Khmer agent for asking too much on behalf of their client and subsequently cancelled all negations. Find the middle ground early in proceedings.
With the items agreed in principle the Landlord will use this as an opportunity to ask for a greater up-front payment, and in some cases the Landlord is justified to do so. Painting and basic furniture are relatively inexpensive however the installation of a couple of Air Con units can hurt the owners cash flow. If you agree to an additional up-front payment you must ensure it is taken as rent in advance and not as additional bond. Bond is dead money and is often difficult to receive at lease-end, whereas up-front rental payments will give you a tangible benefit.
The final requirement is to ensure both you and the Landlord understand when the improvements will be delivered; it’s not much fun moving into a place with wet paint.
Have all improvements listed as a condition in the lease; this is the base document you can fall back on if there is any disagreement, but more about that next month.
Managing Director of Independent Property Services.
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