- Download our Moving to Kuala Lumpur Guide (PDF)
There is a range of accommodation options in Kuala Lumpur suitable for a variety of budgets and needs. Before embarking on a house hunt, new arrivals should also make sure they research the different areas and suburbs of the city and surrounding region to get a good idea of where they would like to settle down.
Types of accommodation in Kuala Lumpur
Housing in Kuala Lumpur comes in many different forms and includes standalone houses, known as bungalows, as well as semi-detached and terraced houses, apartments and condominiums. Generally, condominiums are the most popular option for expats in the city, as they are secure and often have amenities such as gyms, swimming pools and tennis courts.
Accommodation can be furnished, semi-furnished or unfurnished, which may mean it's completely empty of kitchen appliances or even curtain rails. Most apartments will come unfurnished, while serviced condominiums are furnished. Serviced accommodation is significantly more expensive than a normal apartment, depending on the area one chooses, but generally comes with all necessary utilities and amenities included.
Finding accommodation in Kuala Lumpur
Expats can find accommodation in Kuala Lumpur on online property portals and by looking through local newspapers and publications. It's recommended to view a few properties to get a sense of how much one can expect to pay for a certain kind of space.
Many expats choose to use a rental agent to help them in their property search and in negotiating the terms of their lease agreements. Some expats who choose to stay in Kuala Lumpur for a long time have even gone as far as to invest in property, again with the help of an agent. Estate agent fees are normally paid by the landlord or seller.
Renting accommodation in Kuala Lumpur
Rental terms are negotiable, but most leases are set for a period of two years. It is possible to include a clause in the lease agreement allowing for early termination, provided tenants give at least two months’ notice or pay a no-notice fine.
One or two months’ rent is expected as a refundable security deposit, and the first month's rent must also be paid upfront. At the end of the lease period, the deposit is returned in full as long as the home has been kept in good condition.
The tenant will be responsible for paying their own utilities, including water, electricity, sewerage, phone and internet bills.
"Local trains are impressive; I haven’t yet taken the bus. Grab is so prevalent you don’t really need a car, certainly for local city travel. As soon as you want to get out of town, however, a car is essential." Virginia shares her expat experience of life in Kuala Lumpur.
"The location within the country and SE Asia makes it very easy to get out of and take advantage of cheap travel options." British expat Benjamin shares his experience as an expat living in Kuala Lumpur.
►Read more about renting and buying property in Accommodation in Malaysia
►For a breakdown of accommodation costs and the prices of other goods and services see Cost of Living in Malaysia
Are you an expat living in Kuala Lumpur?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Kuala Lumpur. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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