Living in Egypt – Apartments

Typical Apartment Prices

The following are typical rent prices that students in Cairo pay.  The prices vary based on the location, size, and quality of the apartment.

Prices are higher for short-term contracts, and are 1.5 to 2 times as much in the summer months.  The prices listed below are for a one year contract.

Nasr City

Most western students live in Nasr City due to its proximity to Arabic language institutes as well as the new Al-Azhar men’s campus and the women’s campus.  The rents in Nasr City tend to be higher than most other areas in Cairo due to the large amount of foreigners and the reputation of the area as being higher class.

The larger and more well-known Arabic institutes are in the 7th and 8th districts of Nasr City.

A nice, clean 2 bedroom furnished apartment with one or two ACs in the 7th or 8th district starts from around 2000 LE and goes up to 3000 LE for a very nice apartment.  A lower quality apartment can be had for 1500 LE or less.  A similar nice apartment in the 10th district can be rented for around 1500 LE or less.

Unfurnished apartments in the 7th or 8th district start from around 1200 LE for a basic 2 bedroom apartment to as high as 1700 LE or more for a nice apartment.  The difference in rent between a furnished and an unfurnished apartment is not very large in these areas,  and unfurnished apartments are difficult to find in these areas.

Finding an Apartment

The most common way to find an apartment for foreigners is to utilize a real estate agent (called a simsaar).  These agents are usually self-employed, however there are companies that provide these services as well.  The agent has contacts with apartment owners, and will take a person around to look at apartments and help the person to sign a contract.  A good simsaar typically takes a fee that is equivalent to a percentage of the overall value of the contract, usually around 10%, or equivalent to one month’s rent for longer contracts.  There are some agents that have lower fees as well, either as a lower percentage or a flat rate.  The agent also takes an equivalent fee from the apartment owner.  There is no fee taken if a contract is not signed.

Since the fee that an agent takes is usually a percentage of the value of the contract, it is in the best interest of the agent as well as the apartment owner to raise the rent as much as possible.  Therefore a foreigner that is looking for an apartment needs to know the amount a typical apartment in the area costs.  The renter also needs to express clearly and firmly to the agent the type of apartment that he/she is looking for and the amount of rent that he/she is willing to pay, and then to resist attempts by the agent to push an expensive or sub-par apartment.

It is a best for a new student to consult with other students in the area on3 apartment prices, and if possible have another student help with the search.  Most of the Arabic institutes can direct a new student to a simsaar, including some who speak English (although this is rare).

In general a new student needs to be very cautious and firm when dealing with an agent, and not rush into a bad contract.

There are other ways to find an apartment, but these means are difficult for a foreigner to utilize.  There are classified ads in the newspaper (Al-Waseet is a weekly publication of classified ads, and the ads are available online at  A student can even walk around the streets and ask the guards of the buildings if an apartment is available in the building.

Apartment Checklist

The following is a list of items to check when looking for a furnished apartment:

  • The noise from outside of the apartment is bearable and one can sleep with the noise.
  • If it is on the ground floor, the windows have bars.
  • The kitchen should have a good fridge, stove, and oven.  For the stove/oven a built-in gas line is preferred but not necessary.
  • The apartment is not overloaded with furniture.
  • The apartment should have a washing machine, and it should be fully automatic.
  • The mattresses on the beds should be comfortable.
  • There should be an AC in the main bedroom.
  • The toilets flush properly.
  • Hot water is working in the bathrooms and in the kitchen.
  • The following furniture should be provided: dining table, couches, beds, closets.
  • Plates, spoons, forks, pots, and other kitchen utensils should be provided.
  • The phone line and electricity are working.
  • The renter should ask about the monthly apartment maintenance fees, ranging from around 40 LE for a building without an elevator to about double that for a building with an elevator.
  • The renter should ask about the deposit for the apartment, typically 1 months’ rent.
  • The renter should ask about the payment of rent, typically paid once a month.  Sometimes a landlord will ask for several months up front, a renter should be weary of this and try to avoid it.
  • The apartment should be checked thoroughly for anything broken.  This should be noted down, and for anything fixable the renter should ask for a guarantee that it will be fixed.

Renter and Landlord Relations


When a contract is signed, the following should be clearly stated on the contract:

  • A list of the furniture in the apartment.
  • A list of anything broken in the apartment.
  • The monthly rent to be paid and the date of collection.
  • The deposit amount.
  • A list of conditions that are agreed upon, such as fixing a toilet or anything else not working.
  • Contact information of the landlord.

A copy of the contract should be given to the landlord, and one copy kept by the renter.

Renter Obligations

The renter has the following obligations:

  • Paying for all utilities, including electricity, gas, and phone/internet.
  • Paying the montly apartment maintenance fee.
  • Paying the rent on time.
  • Keeping the apartment in good shape.
  • The renter has the right to change the locks of the apartment.
  • If the renter takes the apartment in a clean state, then he/she must leave the apartment in a clean state (typically the landlord pays for cleaning when the renter moves in, and the renter pays for cleaning when leaving).
Landlord Obligations
The landlord has the following obligations:
  • Collecting the rent on time.  The landlord does not have the right to take the rent early.
  • Paying for all repairs that are not caused by the renter, including malfunctioning plumbing or appliances.
  • The landlord does not have the right to enter the apartment without permission.
  • The landlord does not have the right to take any furniture or put any furniture in the apartment.

28 Responses to “Living in Egypt – Apartments”

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    I want to learn reading the Quran (adult way) as well as Arabic. Six months to one year possible? I can read the Quran but not good. So I want to stay with a family or share an apartment with other women starting April 2015.

    I need a place (institute) to study the Quran and Arabic that is near to the apartment (walking distance). I am willing to pay study and accommodation USD 600 per month. in return I can teach English for free.

    thanks.. email:

    Ramlah aged 62 female widow from Malaysia

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  7. I suppose it’s quite expensive to live in Egypt! thanks for telling us how to rent an apartment!

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