Renting accommodation in Mozambique can be a major hurdle for expats. Most cities, especially Maputo, have a huge shortage of adequate long-term housing. Expats from developed countries, especially, may struggle to find housing that meets their standards in terms of luxury and utilities. On the other hand, apartments tend to be more spacious and sunny than what one would find in many countries.
Rent can be expensive, so expats will need to budget carefully when it comes to finding their ideal home. There are also few laws in place to protect tenants from rent increases. This makes renting accommodation in Mozambique feel like a gamble at times.
Types of accommodation in Mozambique
The types of accommodation available in Mozambique vary widely. Most expats decide to live in large cities such as Maputo or Beira. In these cities, expats can find freestanding houses or apartments in large apartment buildings. The cost of these options are also highly varied, with freestanding houses being the most expensive option.
The majority of long-term rental properties tend to be unfurnished. This means apartments won't have large appliances such as fridges and washing machines, though most accommodation comes with a stove. There are also furnished rentals available, but these tend to be much more expensive than unfurnished units. Deposits for furnished housing may also be higher in some cases. Most short-term rentals are furnished.
Renting accommodation in Mozambique
Renting in Mozambique as an expat can be a bit more challenging than in other countries, but with the right resources and preparation, it is possible to find a suitable place to call home.
Finding accommodation in Mozambique
When looking for accommodation in Mozambique, expats should start browsing as far in advance as possible. Generally, short-term holiday rentals are much easier to find. Online websites have the highest rate of success for renting. There are different websites that are popular, such as Property24 and Airbnb. Other good options include browsing the classified sections of local newspapers such as O Noticias.
Nowadays, the most common way expats find housing is through posts on forums and groups on social media platforms. Expats who choose to use this route should be cautious of scams though. It is important to always view the property in person before signing a lease. Word of mouth also goes far in Mozambique. Property owners will frequently prefer to let their accommodation to someone who has been recommended to them from a previous tenant or business associate.
Rental agents aren’t regulated in Mozambique. They also tend to charge high commissions. For these reasons, they aren’t frequently used. If expats do choose this route, they should be sure to clarify expectations from the start with both the agent and the tenant.
Furnished vs unfurnished
Before the search can begin in earnest, expats will have to choose whether they want to rent a furnished or unfurnished property.
Furnished rentals in Mozambique come with furniture, appliances and other household items already in place. This can include things like a bed, couch, refrigerator, stove, television and other basic furniture. This type of accommodation is ideal for expats who have just arrived in the country and may not have their own furniture yet. Furnished rental accommodation is generally more expensive than unfurnished, as the landlord has already invested in the furniture and appliances. It can save expats the cost and effort of buying their own furniture, though.
Unfurnished rentals in Mozambique do not necessarily come with any furniture or household items, though some may come with a stove or fridge. This type of accommodation is ideal for expats who have their own furniture or would prefer to furnish the property themselves.
Short lets and temporary housing
Short lets and temporary housing for expats in Mozambique are a good option for expats who are looking for a flexible and cost-effective housing solution for the days and weeks after they've arrived. These properties can be leased for a short period of time, typically for travellers or expats who are in the country for short-term work or other temporary assignments. These types of rentals may include apartments, houses, or even holiday homes that are available for rent for a few days, weeks or months at a time. They are often furnished and equipped with amenities such as kitchen appliances and linens.
Due to Mozambique's appeal to tourists and short-term volunteers, short lets are not in short supply, and expats should have no trouble finding something suitable.
Signing a lease
It is essential that a clear and detailed contract be negotiated with the prospective landlord. Mozambique has very few laws protecting tenants. Expats should be careful not to get trapped into a badly-worded rental agreement. It is important that prospective tenants are clear with the landlord when negotiating the lease and avoid signing anything they aren’t comfortable with. Renting a short-term vacation rental online may be safer than immediately committing to a long-term lease.
The applicant may need to prove that their monthly income is sufficient to afford the monthly rent. Leases are typically signed on a one-year basis, although it may be possible to rent for a shorter time.
It is standard in Mozambique to pay a three-month deposit. This usually includes the first month’s rent. Expats should make sure of stipulations in the contract about the grounds for withholding a deposit.
Utilities are usually for the tenant. Expats should be sure to budget for electricity, water and internet, as well as gas bottles and filtered water.
Terminating a lease
In Mozambique, the process for terminating a lease can vary depending on the terms of the lease agreement and local laws. If a tenant wishes to terminate a lease before the end of the term, they have to give written notice to the landlord in advance. The required notice period is typically specified in the lease agreement, but is otherwise 30 days.
It's important to note that specific laws and regulations may apply, so it's recommended to consult a legal advisor before terminating a lease agreement in Mozambique.