When committing to a property rental in Cambodia, like anywhere else you will be required to sign a lease which becomes a binding document detailing the arrangement between Landlord and Tenant. It’s very important to get the content of the lease right.
Property leases in Cambodia have little uniformity. Individual owners and agents all have their own versions of a standard lease which they update dependent on the properties particulars.
The key points you need documented include payment arrangements, termination clauses, tax payment, utility charges and inventory.
Payment arrangements including the method of payment should be clearly stated, the vast majority of landlords request rental payments in cash and paid one month in advance. You need to ensure that these payments are accompanied with a signed receipt from the landlord, ensure this requirement is stated in the lease.
Termination clauses generally relate to the impact of early termination by the Lessee. The majority of leases state that termination by the Lessee will result in the deposit being forfeit to the owner. Discuss with the owner and add in a clause stating that if the lease is terminated early due to unforeseen events and a minimum one month notice is provided then deposit will be returned. Easier said than done but many NGO and Diplomatic organisations require this clause, why not you.
A landlord recently presented one of our clients with a lease stating in addition to rental payment s the client would be required to pay VAT and property tax, these taxes apply dependent on the landlord’s ownership structure and should not be levied at the Lessee. Ensure the lease states that any taxes relating to the property are borne by the landlord.
Confirm utility charges such as water (m3 or charge per person per month), electricity (per kw), cable TV and Garbage collection. Ensure these charges are clearly stated in the lease to avoid any confusion.
As most rental properties in Cambodia are furnished it is imperative an inventory list is an appendix to the lease. Review the list, comment on the condition of items and have the landlord counter sign.
Finally take the time to review each point in the lease, discuss with the owner to ensure both parties understand the impact and intent of each clause and sign only when mutual agreement is reached.
Managing Director of Independent Property Services.
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