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In Angola, there is a distinct separation between local housing and those properties that expats usually call home. When the country's oil boom began, housing developments sprung up quickly to cater for the many expats moving to Luanda for work. As expats in Angola are typically high earners, these developments are often luxurious with high-end amenities.
Most expat accommodation in Angola is found in Luanda, in compounds to the south of the city. With high demand and high rental rates, finding a place to live in Angola can be frustrating; however, most companies assist their expat employees with finding and paying for housing.
Types of accommodation in Angola
Most expats working for large oil corporations live in compounds and their accommodation costs are sponsored by their employer. These housing estates offer a good quality of life with large houses and high security. Many also have amenities such as swimming pools, tennis courts and shops.
Furnished and unfurnished units can be found, but furnished units are usually most practical for expats as they tend to be in the country on a short-term contract. The temporary nature of their time in Angola makes it somewhat impractical to furnish a house from scratch, either through shipping their existing belongings or buying new ones.
Expats staying in Luanda for short-term contracts are often housed in city-centre hotels or serviced apartments. They're generally upmarket, but the quality of services varies.
Finding accommodation in Angola
Expats moving to Angola for work often have the house search taken care of by their employers. For those who are going it alone, it's a good idea to hire a real-estate agent, preferably one familiar with working with expats. These professionals have extensive knowledge of the local housing market and will be able to guide expats through the process of finding a place that meets their requirements.
Online property rentals, expat forums and local classifieds can also be good sources if expats prefer not to use an estate agent.
Renting accommodation in Angola
Leases in Angola can either be open-ended or they can be for a fixed term agreed upon by the tenant and landlord. If no lease period is specified in the contract, a period of two years (renewable) is assumed.
The start-up costs of moving to Angola are high, and expats without a sponsoring employer may find it difficult to bear these costs. Most notably, a security deposit of six to 12 months' rent is required before moving in.
Unless otherwise agreed, it is the tenant's responsibility to pay for services and utilities such as water, electricity, gas, telephone and internet.
It's important to note that electricity and water supply can be unreliable no matter where one lives in Angola. Expats should therefore ensure that their homes are equipped with back-up generators and water tanks.
Safety remains a prominent concern for expats moving to Angola. Home burglaries are common, as are carjackings and robberies. Expats should therefore arrange adequate security for their homes. Most compounds offer secure living with access control and security guards.