Sri LankaTips

Finding Housing as an Expat in Sri Lanka

1. What are the popular expat-friendly neighborhoods in Sri Lanka?

Popular expat-friendly neighborhoods in Sri Lanka include:

1. Colombo – The capital city of Sri Lanka, Colombo is a bustling urban hub with a range of amenities, international schools, and expat-friendly communities such as Cinnamon Gardens, Colpetty, and Battaramulla.

2. Mount Lavinia – Located just south of Colombo, Mount Lavinia is known for its beachfront properties, luxury hotels, and expat communities.

3. Galle – Situated on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Galle is a historic city with a charming atmosphere, colonial architecture, and expat-friendly neighborhoods like Unawatuna and Thalpe.

4. Kandy – As a cultural hub nestled in the hill country, Kandy offers a cooler climate, picturesque surroundings, and expat-friendly areas like Kandy Lake and Ampitiya.

5. Negombo – Close to the international airport, Negombo is a popular choice for expats seeking beachfront living, a vibrant expat community, and easy access to amenities and transportation.

These neighborhoods offer a mix of modern conveniences, vibrant expat communities, and a high quality of life, making them ideal choices for expats living in Sri Lanka.

2. How do I go about finding a rental property in Sri Lanka as an expat?

As an expat looking for a rental property in Sri Lanka, there are several effective ways to go about finding suitable accommodation:

1. Utilize Online Platforms: Websites such as LankaPropertyWeb,, and are popular resources where you can browse a wide range of rental properties in different areas of Sri Lanka.

2. Seek Assistance from Real Estate Agents: Engaging with local real estate agents can be beneficial as they have in-depth knowledge of the property market in Sri Lanka and can help you find options that meet your requirements.

3. Connect with Expatriate Communities: Joining expat groups and forums on social media platforms or community websites can provide valuable insights and recommendations on rental properties from others who have lived in Sri Lanka.

4. Consider Short-Term Accommodation: If you are unsure about committing to a long-term rental, consider staying in short-term accommodations such as serviced apartments or guesthouses while you familiarize yourself with the different neighborhoods in Sri Lanka.

5. Attend Property Expos and Open Houses: Keep an eye out for property expos or open houses in Sri Lanka where you can explore multiple rental options in person and engage directly with landlords or property managers.

By exploring these avenues and being proactive in your search, you can increase your chances of finding a suitable rental property in Sri Lanka as an expat.

3. What are the average rental prices for apartments and houses in Sri Lanka?

The average rental prices for apartments and houses in Sri Lanka can vary depending on the location, size, and amenities offered. In general, you can expect to pay around $300 to $500 per month for a basic one-bedroom apartment in a suburban area. For a larger two or three-bedroom apartment in a more central location or with additional amenities such as a swimming pool or gym, prices can range from $600 to $1000 per month.

When it comes to renting a house in Sri Lanka, prices will vary significantly depending on the size, location, and condition of the property. In urban areas such as Colombo or Kandy, you can expect to pay anywhere from $700 to $2000 per month for a decent house with two or more bedrooms. In more rural areas or smaller towns, rental prices for houses can be more affordable, typically ranging from $300 to $800 per month.

It’s important to note that these are average rental prices and specific costs may vary based on individual preferences and negotiations with landlords. Additionally, factors such as the duration of the lease, the age of the building, and the demand for housing in a specific area can all impact rental prices in Sri Lanka.

4. Are there any specific rental requirements for expats in Sri Lanka?

As an expat looking for housing in Sri Lanka, there are certain rental requirements to keep in mind:

1. Proof of income: Landlords in Sri Lanka often require expats to provide proof of stable income to ensure they can afford the rent. This can be in the form of employment contracts, bank statements, or pay slips.

2. Security deposit: It is common practice for landlords to ask for a security deposit, usually equivalent to two or three months’ rent, as a form of insurance against any potential damages or unpaid rent.

3. Lease agreement: Expats should carefully review the terms of the lease agreement, including the rental period, rent amount, payment schedule, and any additional fees or responsibilities.

4. Referral or guarantor: Some landlords may ask for a referral from a previous landlord or require a local guarantor to vouch for the expat’s character and ability to meet rental obligations.

Being aware of these rental requirements can help expats navigate the housing market in Sri Lanka more effectively and secure suitable accommodation that meets their needs.

5. How do I ensure the safety and security of the neighborhood I choose to live in?

Ensuring the safety and security of the neighborhood you choose to live in as an expat in Sri Lanka is crucial for your peace of mind. Here are some steps you can take to assess and enhance the safety of your potential neighborhood:

1. Research the Area: Before finalizing a neighborhood, research crime rates, safety measures, and any past incidents in the area. You can consult online resources, local expat forums, and even reach out to expat community groups for insights.

2. Visit the Neighborhood: Take the time to visit the neighborhood during different times of the day to get a feel for the environment. Pay attention to street lighting, overall cleanliness, and the presence of security measures like gated communities or security guards.

3. Talk to Locals and Expats: Engage with locals and expats living in the area to gather firsthand experiences and recommendations. They can provide valuable insights into the safety of the neighborhood and any specific precautions you should take.

4. Consider Security Measures: Prioritize neighborhoods that offer security features such as gated communities, CCTV surveillance, and neighborhood watch programs. These measures can enhance the overall safety of the area.

5. Trust Your Instincts: Ultimately, trust your instincts when selecting a neighborhood. If something feels off or unsafe, it may be best to explore other options. Your comfort and sense of security in your new environment are paramount.

6. Are there any reputable real estate agents or websites that cater to expats in Sri Lanka?

Yes, there are several reputable real estate agents and websites that cater to expats in Sri Lanka. Some popular real estate agents in Sri Lanka that specialize in providing housing solutions for expats include:

1. LankaPropertyWeb: This website is one of the largest real estate platforms in Sri Lanka and offers a wide range of properties for rent or sale, catering to the needs of expats.

2. Lamudi: Lamudi is another popular real estate website that lists properties across Sri Lanka, including options suitable for expats looking for housing.

3. ACR (Asia Capital Real Estate): A well-known real estate agency in Sri Lanka known for its professional service and tailored solutions for expats seeking accommodation.

Additionally, expats can also consider reaching out to international real estate agencies with a presence in Sri Lanka, such as Chestertons or Knight Frank, for more specialized services and a wider range of options. It is recommended to research and connect with multiple agents or websites to find the best-suited housing options for your specific needs as an expat in Sri Lanka.

7. What are the important factors to consider when choosing a rental property in Sri Lanka?

When choosing a rental property in Sri Lanka as an expat, there are several important factors to consider to ensure a comfortable living experience:

1. Location: Consider the proximity to your workplace, schools, healthcare facilities, and other amenities that are important to you.

2. Budget: Determine your budget for rent and utilities to ensure you can afford the property without financial strain.

3. Safety: Ensure the area is safe and secure, especially if you are unfamiliar with the neighborhood.

4. Amenities: Check if the property includes essential amenities such as air conditioning, hot water, and reliable internet connection.

5. Lease terms: Understand the terms of the lease agreement, including the duration, deposit requirements, and renewal options.

6. Furnishing: Decide if you prefer a furnished or unfurnished property based on your needs and preferences.

7. Local customs: Familiarize yourself with local customs and regulations regarding rental properties to avoid any misunderstandings or issues during your stay.

8. Are there any cultural norms or customs I should be aware of when renting a property in Sri Lanka?

When renting a property in Sri Lanka as an expat, it is important to be aware of certain cultural norms and customs to ensure a smooth housing experience:

1. Respect for Elders: In Sri Lankan culture, elders are highly respected. When dealing with landlords or property owners who are older than you, it is important to show respect and deference.

2. Negotiation: Bargaining is a common practice when it comes to renting a property in Sri Lanka. Don’t hesitate to negotiate the rent price or any terms that you find unfavorable. However, do so respectfully and politely.

3. Punctuality: Sri Lankans value punctuality, so make sure to be on time for property viewings or any appointments related to renting a place.

4. Dress Code: It is recommended to dress modestly when meeting with landlords or property agents in Sri Lanka. Avoid wearing revealing or overly casual clothing to show respect for the local culture.

5. Maintenance Responsibilities: Depending on the rental agreement, you may be responsible for certain maintenance tasks within the property. Clarify these responsibilities beforehand to avoid any misunderstandings in the future.

6. Security Deposits: It is common for landlords in Sri Lanka to request a security deposit before renting out a property. Make sure to understand the terms and conditions of the security deposit and keep a record of any payments made.

7. Documentation: Ensure that all rental agreements and contracts are clearly written and understood by both parties. It is advisable to have a local legal advisor review the terms of the agreement to protect your rights as a tenant.

By being aware of these cultural norms and customs when renting a property in Sri Lanka, you can navigate the process more effectively and establish positive relationships with landlords or property owners.

9. How do I navigate the rental agreements and agreements in Sri Lanka as an expat?

Navigating rental agreements and agreements in Sri Lanka as an expat requires thorough consideration and attention to detail to ensure a smooth process. Here are some key steps to help you navigate rental agreements effectively:

1. Understanding the Market: Familiarize yourself with the rental market in Sri Lanka to get an idea of typical rental prices, popular locations, and the types of properties available.

2. Seek Legal Advice: It can be beneficial to consult with a local lawyer or real estate professional who can help review rental agreements and ensure that your rights as a tenant are protected.

3. Review the Agreement Carefully: Before signing any rental agreement, carefully review all terms and conditions including the duration of the lease, rent amount, deposit requirements, maintenance responsibilities, and any additional costs.

4. Payment Terms: Clarify payment terms such as the method of payment, frequency of rent payments, and any penalties for late payments.

5. Security Deposit: Understand the rules around the security deposit, including the amount required, conditions for refund, and any deductions that may be made.

6. Maintenance and Repairs: Clarify who is responsible for maintenance and repairs of the property, including how quickly issues will be addressed.

7. Entry and Exit Conditions: Ensure that the agreement clearly outlines the condition of the property at the time of entry and exit to avoid any disputes over damages.

8. Termination Clause: Understand the terms for terminating the lease early, including notice periods and any penalties that may apply.

9. Seek Translation if Necessary: If the agreement is in Sinhala or Tamil and you are not proficient in these languages, consider having it translated to English or a language you understand fluently to avoid any misunderstandings.

By following these steps and seeking professional advice when needed, expats can navigate rental agreements in Sri Lanka effectively and ensure a positive renting experience.

10. Are there any additional costs or fees associated with renting as an expat in Sri Lanka?

Yes, as an expat renting in Sri Lanka, there are several additional costs and fees that you may encounter beyond the monthly rent. These include:

1. Security Deposit: Landlords typically require a security deposit, which is usually equivalent to two to three months’ rent. This deposit is refundable at the end of the tenancy, assuming there is no damage to the property.

2. Agency Fees: If you use a real estate agent to help you find a rental property, you may need to pay agency fees. These fees can vary but are often equivalent to one month’s rent.

3. Utility Bills: In most cases, you will be responsible for paying your utility bills, which may include water, electricity, gas, internet, and trash collection. Make sure to factor in these costs when budgeting for your rental.

4. Maintenance Costs: While landlords are typically responsible for major repairs, you may still be expected to cover minor maintenance costs during your tenancy.

5. Insurance: It is advisable to consider rental insurance to protect your personal belongings in case of theft, damage, or natural disasters.

6. Stamp Duty and Legal Fees: Depending on the rental agreement, you may need to cover the cost of stamp duty and legal fees for the tenancy contract.

It’s essential to carefully review your lease agreement and understand all the associated costs before committing to a rental property in Sri Lanka.

11. What are the best ways to find roommates or shared accommodations in Sri Lanka as an expat?

Finding roommates or shared accommodations in Sri Lanka as an expat can be a great option to save costs and immerse yourself in the local community. Here are some of the best ways to secure shared housing in Sri Lanka:

1. Online Platforms: Utilize websites and apps like Roombuddy, Roomster, or Colombo Expats on Facebook to find potential roommates or shared living spaces.

2. Local Classifieds: Browse local classified websites such as or, where you can often find listings for shared accommodations.

3. Networking: Tap into expat communities, social media groups, or networking events in Sri Lanka to connect with others who may be looking for roommates or have leads on available shared housing.

4. Word of Mouth: Spread the word among friends, colleagues, or acquaintances in Sri Lanka about your search for roommates or shared accommodations – they may know someone who fits your criteria.

5. Real Estate Agents: Contact local real estate agents who specialize in rental properties. They may have insights or listings for shared accommodations that cater to expats.

6. Hostels and Co-Living Spaces: Consider short-term stays in hostels or co-living spaces upon arrival in Sri Lanka. You can use this time to network and find potential roommates for a more permanent shared living arrangement.

7. Attend Expat Events: Attend expat gatherings or events in Sri Lanka, where you can meet fellow expats looking for roommates or shared housing.

By leveraging these strategies, you can increase your chances of finding suitable roommates or shared accommodations as an expat in Sri Lanka. Good luck in your housing search!

12. How easy is it to find short-term rental options in Sri Lanka for expats?

Finding short-term rental options in Sri Lanka for expats can vary in terms of ease depending on the location and specific preferences of the expat.

1. In major cities like Colombo, Galle, and Kandy, there are ample short-term rental options available that cater to expats. These can range from fully furnished apartments to luxury villas and even serviced apartments or guesthouses.

2. Many online platforms like Airbnb,, and various local real estate websites offer a wide range of short-term rental listings that expats can choose from based on their needs and budget.

3. Working with a reputable real estate agent who specializes in expat housing can also simplify the process of finding short-term rental options, as they can provide personalized assistance and guidance.

4. However, it’s essential for expats to start their search early, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure the best rental options that meet their requirements. Having a clear understanding of the rental market in Sri Lanka and local rental laws can also help expats navigate the process smoothly.

5. Overall, while finding short-term rental options in Sri Lanka for expats may require some research and effort, with the right approach and resources, expats can find suitable housing that meets their needs during their stay in the country.

13. Are there any specific visa requirements or restrictions related to renting property in Sri Lanka as an expat?

1. Yes, as an expat looking to rent property in Sri Lanka, there are specific visa requirements and restrictions that you need to be aware of.
2. In general, as a foreigner, you would typically be required to have a valid visa to stay in the country legally. This could be a tourist visa, business visa, residence visa, or other relevant type of visa.
3. Certain types of visas may come with restrictions on property ownership or leasing. For instance, if you are on a tourist visa, you may not be allowed to enter into long-term rental agreements.
4. It is important to check with the Sri Lankan Department of Immigration and Emigration or consult with a legal advisor to understand the visa requirements and any limitations related to renting property as an expat.
5. Some expats may choose to establish residency through specific visa programs that allow for property ownership, such as the Sri Lankan investor visa.
6. Additionally, some landlords or real estate agents may ask for proof of your visa status before renting a property to you, so it is advisable to have all necessary documentation in order.
7. Ensure that your visa status aligns with the intended duration of your lease agreement to avoid any potential legal issues or complications during your stay in Sri Lanka.

14. What are the transportation options like in the popular expat neighborhoods in Sri Lanka?

In popular expat neighborhoods in Sri Lanka, such as Colombo and Galle, transportation options are relatively diverse and convenient for expats. Here are some key aspects of transportation in these areas:

1. Public transportation: Colombo and Galle both have a well-developed public transportation system, including buses and trains, which are affordable and widely used by locals and expats alike.

2. Ride-sharing services: Apps like Uber and PickMe are popular in Sri Lanka, providing expats with a convenient and reliable way to get around the city without the hassle of negotiating fares with traditional taxis.

3. Tuk-tuks: Tuk-tuks, known locally as three-wheelers, are a common mode of transportation in Sri Lanka. They are easy to find and are a popular choice for short trips within the city.

4. Private vehicles: Many expats in Sri Lanka choose to own or rent a car or motorbike for their daily commute, offering greater flexibility and convenience, especially for those living in the outskirts of major cities.

Overall, transportation options in popular expat neighborhoods in Sri Lanka are varied and cater to the diverse needs of expats, making it relatively easy to navigate and explore the area.

15. How do I ensure access to basic amenities such as shopping, healthcare, and entertainment from my rental property in Sri Lanka?

1. Location is key when it comes to ensuring access to basic amenities from your rental property in Sri Lanka. Prioritize properties that are situated in close proximity to commercial areas or town centers where shopping centers, supermarkets, and local markets are easily accessible.

2. Research the healthcare facilities in the area where you are considering renting a property. Look for rental properties that are situated near hospitals, clinics, or medical centers to ensure easy access to healthcare services whenever needed.

3. Consider the availability of entertainment options near your rental property. Look for areas with a vibrant nightlife, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, or recreational facilities to ensure that you have access to entertainment amenities during your stay in Sri Lanka.

4. Utilize online resources and expat forums to gather information about the neighborhoods in different cities or towns in Sri Lanka. This can help you make an informed decision about the best location for your rental property based on access to basic amenities.

5. Reach out to local real estate agents or property management companies who have in-depth knowledge about different neighborhoods in Sri Lanka. They can provide valuable insights and help you find a rental property that meets your requirements for access to basic amenities.

By carefully considering the location of your rental property, researching the availability of nearby amenities, and seeking assistance from local experts, you can ensure access to basic amenities such as shopping, healthcare, and entertainment from your rental property in Sri Lanka.

16. Are there any expat communities or organizations in Sri Lanka that can assist with finding housing?

Yes, there are expat communities and organizations in Sri Lanka that can assist with finding housing. Here are some ways in which they can help:

1. Networking: Expat communities often have members who are already living in Sri Lanka and can provide valuable insights and recommendations on the best areas to live, reliable real estate agents, and trusted landlords.

2. Online Forums: Many expat communities have online forums or social media groups where members regularly share information and tips on finding housing in Sri Lanka.

3. Relocation Services: Some organizations specialize in helping expats with the entire relocation process, including finding suitable housing options that meet their needs and budget.

4. Language Support: For expats who may not be fluent in Sinhala or Tamil, these communities can also offer language support to assist in navigating the housing market in Sri Lanka more effectively.

By tapping into these expat networks and resources, individuals moving to Sri Lanka can benefit from the collective knowledge and support of others who have already gone through the process of finding housing in the country.

17. What are the typical lease terms in Sri Lanka for expat renters?

In Sri Lanka, the typical lease terms for expat renters can vary depending on the specific agreement between the landlord and the tenant. However, there are some common practices that are often followed:

1. Lease Duration: In Sri Lanka, lease durations can vary from six months to one year, with the option to renew for a longer period if both parties agree. Some landlords may prefer longer lease terms for expats to ensure a stable income stream.

2. Rent Payment: Rent is usually paid on a monthly basis in Sri Lanka, with the first month’s rent typically required as a security deposit. Some landlords may also ask for an advance payment of several months’ rent upfront.

3. Maintenance and Repairs: It is common for landlords to be responsible for structural repairs and maintenance of the property, while tenants are usually expected to take care of day-to-day maintenance and minor repairs.

4. Utility Payments: Expats renting in Sri Lanka may be responsible for paying their utilities such as water, electricity, gas, and internet bills separately, unless otherwise specified in the lease agreement.

5. Notice Period: Both landlords and tenants are typically required to give a notice period before terminating the lease agreement. This notice period is often one month but can vary depending on the terms of the contract.

6. Security Deposit: Landlords commonly require a security deposit from expat renters, usually equivalent to one or two months’ rent, to cover any damages or outstanding rent at the end of the tenancy.

Overall, it is advisable for expats renting in Sri Lanka to carefully review the lease agreement and seek legal advice if needed to ensure they understand their rights and obligations as tenants in the country.

18. How do I handle repairs or maintenance issues with my rental property in Sri Lanka as an expat?

1. As an expat renting a property in Sri Lanka, it is important to establish clear communication with your landlord or the property management company regarding repairs and maintenance issues. Make sure to understand the terms outlined in your rental agreement regarding responsibilities for repairs and maintenance.
2. In case there are any issues with the property, promptly notify your landlord or property manager in writing, detailing the problem and requesting a timely resolution. It is advisable to keep a record of all communications related to the repair request.
3. Depending on the severity of the issue, your landlord should arrange for a qualified professional to carry out the necessary repairs. Be patient but firm in following up to ensure that the repairs are completed satisfactorily within a reasonable timeframe.
4. If the landlord is unresponsive or unwilling to address the repair issue, seek guidance from a local legal advisor or housing authority to understand your rights as a tenant in Sri Lanka. It is essential to handle repair and maintenance matters in a timely and professional manner to ensure a comfortable living experience in your rental property as an expat.

19. Are there any specific regulations or laws governing renting property as an expat in Sri Lanka?

Yes, as an expat renting property in Sri Lanka, there are specific regulations and laws that govern this process. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

1. Foreign Ownership: Non-Sri Lankans are generally not allowed to own freehold land in Sri Lanka except under special circumstances approved by the government.

2. Lease Deeds: Rental agreements must be formalized through a lease deed signed by both the landlord and the tenant. It is advisable to have this document notarized to ensure its legality.

3. Taxes: Both landlords and tenants are subject to various taxes related to renting property in Sri Lanka. It is essential to understand the tax implications before entering into a rental agreement.

4. Security Deposits: Landlords may request a security deposit from tenants, typically equivalent to two to three months’ rent. Ensure that the terms regarding the security deposit are clearly outlined in the lease agreement.

5. Tenancy Laws: The Rent Act in Sri Lanka provides certain protections to tenants, including regulations on rent increases and eviction procedures. Familiarize yourself with these laws to understand your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.

It is recommended to seek legal advice or consult a real estate professional familiar with the local regulations when renting property in Sri Lanka as an expat to ensure compliance with the relevant laws.

20. How do I ensure a smooth transition into my new rental property in Sri Lanka as an expat, including setting up utilities and internet services?

Ensuring a smooth transition into your new rental property in Sri Lanka as an expat involves several important steps to set up utilities and internet services seamlessly:

1. Prior research: Before moving in, conduct thorough research on utility providers and internet service providers in the area where your rental property is located. Understand the options available, pricing, and the process for setting up these services.

2. Communicate with the landlord: Inform your landlord in advance about your requirements for utilities and internet. They may be able to provide guidance or assistance in setting up these services and may have recommendations based on previous tenants’ experiences.

3. Utility connections: Contact the relevant utility companies, such as the electricity, water, and gas providers, to arrange for connections. Provide them with the necessary documentation, such as identification and proof of residence, to initiate the setup process.

4. Internet service: Research different internet service providers in Sri Lanka and choose a plan that meets your needs in terms of speed, data allowance, and budget. Contact the selected provider to schedule installation at your new rental property.

5. Be present during installations: Arrange your move-in date to coincide with the setup of utilities and internet services. Being present during installations can help resolve any issues that may arise promptly.

6. Set up automatic payments: To ensure uninterrupted services, set up automatic payments for utilities and internet services. This way, you won’t have to worry about missing payments while settling into your new home.

By following these steps and staying organized throughout the process, you can ensure a smooth transition into your new rental property in Sri Lanka as an expat, with utilities and internet services set up efficiently and without hassle.