It is not easy navigating the Phnom Penh rental market. There is a lot on offer and prices vary considerably depending on where and what you are looking for. The city offers all types of properties, so it is important you know what is available.
There are essentially four types (Khmer-shophouses, renovated shophouses, Western apartments, condos/serviced apartments) each with distinct features and price tags.
Khmer-style shophouses are common in Phnom Penh and usually found in 3-4 story low-rise buildings. They are typically long and narrow and can be quite dark. The entrance is at the front or the rear and the side walls have no windows. Rear access can be unnerving for Westerners.
Bedrooms often don’t have external windows and furniture is not usually built-in. Khmer-style kitchens is basic and often lack storage. Likewise, bathrooms are basic with no separate shower or windows. Furniture is usually rattan or wood.
This style is popular with foreigners after a local experience. Prices for 1-2 bedrooms vary from $300-500/month (city centre) to $250-$400 (outer).
Renovated shophouses are less common. They also offer a local experience with western creature comforts. They are essentially updated shophouses with new floors, additional windows, contemporary lighting, modern furnishings, hot water and so on.
Bedrooms may have built-in-robes, shelving and A/C. Kitchens will have better storage, more workspace and new appliances. Though more modern and western than a Khmer-style shophouse, furnishings and construction may be cheap and require a bit of maintenance.
This style is good for foreigners wanting comfort on a budget. For a 1-2 bedroom abode expect $600-800 (city centre) or $400-$600 (outer).
Western apartments are found in low-rise, walk-up apartments and multi-unit towers and tend to have more amenities. They are generally new, have varied floor plans, windows in all rooms and plenty of natural light and air circulation.
Kitchens have good standard appliances, workspaces and storage. Bathrooms will be newer and have a separate shower and/or bathtub. Living spaces will be larger, brighter and fitted out with plush furniture. Cleaning, internet, cable and drinking water will be included in the rent. Some will be accessed by elevator and may have rooftop terraces. Construction is usually of a better standard, with 24-hour security and parking for bicycles and motos. Maintenance is better and quicker.
Prices for a 1-2 bedroom western apartment vary from $600-1200/month (city centre) to $500-800 (outer)
These are generally of a high standard with a western layout, natural light, city views, modern kitchens and bathrooms.
Services like cleaning, laundry, internet, cable TV, drinking water, 24-hour security and reception, multiple-elevator access, parking, gym and swimming pool come as standard. Expect to have a streamlined and organized rent collection and timeliness in maintenance requests. Although easy to find, prices are often high. The buildings tend to be larger; perfect for families wanting quiet and security or professionals wanting to entertain and enjoy the extra space and comfort.
Prices for a 1-2 bedroom luxury condo / serviced apartment vary from $1200-6000/month (city centre) to $1000-2000 (outer).