If you are a first-time renter or are new to Lebanon, the following information may prove useful to you. Renting a property in an unfamiliar country may be daunting at first, but at the end of the day, Lebanon is a wonderful place to live. The Lebanese are extremely warm and helpful, and many expats who come to Lebanon at the end of their career have been known to retire here. A glowing endorsement, wouldn’t you say?
Does Lebanese rental law protect the landlord or the tenant?
Both. The standard rental lease under Lebanese law states that the said property is indeed owned by the individual named on the lease, and is available for rent. It is a contract for one year, renewable for three years. This means that the tenant is reponsible for the rent on a yearly basis, and the rental amount will not change for three years.
When the three year period is up, a new contract is signed, and the landlord may change the rental amount if he/she so chooses.
When is the rent normally due?
Landlords always prefer to have the rental amount paid for one year in advance, however, they will usually accept 6 months in advance. This comes as a shock to most expatriates coming into Lebanon, as they are used to paying on a month by month basis in the United States and Canada, as well as other locations where they have lived before. This is not the case in Lebanon. Almost no landlord will accept the rent on a monthly basis, or for a short term ( under one year )
What about short term rentals?
If you require a short-term rental, it is best to consider one of the many hotel apartment buildings available in the city. These one or two bedroom apartments accept month-by-month payments and are serviced (i.e. the rental amount includes daily cleaning, linen change, electricity, internet, and cable television.)
Of course, the price of these units reflect the conveniences stated above. It is a trade off.
What appliances are typically offered in unfurnished apartments?
When you rent an unfurnished apartment, do not expect to find appliances fitted in the kitchen, nor light fixtures on the ceilings. These items may be found in some apartments, but they are the exceptions and not the rule.
What expenses are not covered by rent?
Your rental amount does NOT cover electricity, telephone, internet, or cable television service. These are all additional charges, which you should consider when calculating your monthly budget. Municipality fees are also paid by the owner and the tenant. This is another shocker for many expats coming into a rental situation for the first time in Lebanon. If the lease is registered with the municipality by the owner, then there will be a fee which is paid once a year by the tenant.
Some landlords choose not to register the lease with the municipality, which is not exactly “correct”… in which case the tenant will not be subject to municipality fees.
Any other expenses to be aware of?
Expect to pay in addition to the rent: common charges for the building, which cover the electricity of the common areas of the building, fees for the concierge, and fuel for the generator if the building has a generator for electricity cuts.
Any additional questions? Feel free to email me at janmarie [at] welcomebeirut [dot] com