Looking for a house – Back dated December 7th (When the search started)
Looking for a house to rent in Morocco is a kin to a quest for the holy grail. There are no listings in the local newspaper, Craigslist for Morocco is a joke and anything that you can find online is for sale or its located in a resort which is not in your site – so its obviously available for a two year rental agreement!
First I started out by asking my host family and that led to seeing zero apartments.
Then I decided that maybe I should try using a simsar – who are middle men who know of apartments to rent and you pay them to show you apartments – which makes them according to Moroccans the equivalent of thieves – that ended up with me paying the muldar a boon aka a bribe to hold on to an apartment – which I finally said no to because of the distance away from my dar chabab.
I even resorted to going to the local haut owners and pharmacy owners asking them if they knew of any apartments for rent but no leads came of that.
Finally and probably more successfully ask your Moroccan counterparts for help!
This is how I ultimately found my house that I currently live in.
First thing – always negotiate the price up front when using a simsar or any other service such as the local plumber for example.
Second – Be sure of what your looking for – I was looking for a two bedroom apartment with a kitchen, salon and a shower/toilet area.
Third – Know what the local price range is for rentals. In my site – the price range is 1200 – 1500 DH is cheap and certain areas are more desirable than others for being close to the local market or known for being safe or just being cool – like the Old Medina–while others aren’t either they lack services or they have a high crime rate.
Fourth – Say no to anything that doesn’t match your criteria.
Fifth – Check the following before renting-
Electrical – check that all switches and sockets are working
Water – check that all pipes are working, the water runs clear, all drainage pipes are closed and check under your sink for leaks, your toilet has a “hot river” meaning it can handle toilet paper and that installing a hot water heater is not a problem.
Security – check that all windows have security grates over them, your door has a deadbolt in addition to the lock, your street has a good amount of traffic during the day and at night is well lit if not well travelled. Remember to keep in mind how far you will have to walk to and from your Dar Chabab at night!!
Comfort – Check all rooms have windows , the windows are unbroken, have shutters and lock securely. The floor is tiled or cement that is unbroken. There are no holes in the wall or corners that will let creepy crawlies into your house. Your kitchen cabinets all open, close and are in good repair. Ask if there is trash pick up and if so where you should put your trash to be picked up – in more rural sites you simply burn your trash – or you can compost, recycle and then burn.
Make sure that your rental contract says that there are no outstanding bills to be paid on either the water or electricity otherwise your going to have a headache you don’t want to deal with – trust me!
Finally don’t settle – if it seems to be the only apartment that’s not true there is always another apartment just around the corner and if it seems to good to be true it is!