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What are the top factors to keep in mind when searching for a place to live in your city?
Keep in mind the driving distance from the work place and children's school. Also, note that houses on main roads tend to be noisy (and dusty) through the day and sometimes even at night. Diligence needs to be exercised in making sure that the proposed housing is sufficient in terms of electricity, water supply and phone connections. Make sure there are facilities for groceries, vegetables, meats and medicines close by. Compared to the western world, housing is not expensive (especially when the rents are converted to home currency). It might be difficult sometimes to find the material comforts that expatriates are generally used to.
Residential accommodation in Chennai is widely available and pricing is fairly economical when compared to the other metros.
In the recent past, a fair number of modern apartment complexes have sprung up throughout the city and landlords, in order to meet the order of the day and international requirements, are refurbishing existing housing, especially the kitchens and bathrooms. House options within the city can be expensive and are more difficult to obtain when compared with apartments.

Checklist for House Hunters
In searching for appropriate houses/apartments, you should check that the following facilities are provided and in suitable working order:

  • Water — Check to establish if water shortage is an issue and how it is managed. Also check the water pressure and drains.
  • Electricity & plumbing — Check all plugs, fans and air conditioners
  • Telephone lines
  • Security — Check on the type of security system and if it is round the clock. Also scrutinize window security and accessibility to balconies
  • Cable TV connection
  • Mosquito mesh
  • Cooking fuel — Predominantly gas from cylinders
  • Maintenance — Ensure that all identified repairs are undertaken before you move in

 There are areas of residential accommodation throughout the Chennai metropolitan area.
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What are the most popular neighborhoods in your city for expats?
Real estate in Chennai will offer you a wide selection of accommodation, including independent houses and beautiful furnished apartments. Chennai has a fabulous coastline; lovely homes by the beach are available.

Key residential areas in Chennai

South Chennai  

  • Adyar — Madras Boat Club, Chamiers Road, etc.
  • East Coast Road — close proximity to the beach
  • Kotturpuram
  • Beach Road — mainly houses with gardens

Central Chennai            

  • Nungambakkam — College Road, Wallace Garden, etc.; close to the Taj Coromandel Hotel
  • Chetpet — Harrington Road
  • Poes Garden — Cathedral Road;  mainly independent bungalows
  • Egmore — primarily commercial area and quiet residential area
  • Alwarpet — situated off Cathedral Road; mix of residential and shopping areas
  • TTK Road

North West Chennai

  • Anna Nagar — residential and shopping areas

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Do expats tend to buy or rent their homes?
Expatriates generally rent their homes in India.
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Typically, will I be required to pay additional money up front (such as a deposit) before moving into leased housing? If so, how much is common?
Rents are usually paid up front. Expect to pay rent in advance and a security deposit of up to 10 months' rent prior to moving into the property.
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Are utilities generally included in the price of rent, or are they extra?
Utilities are separate expenses.
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Are there special security concerns I should be aware of in regards to my home or choice of neighborhood?
One should be watchful that there are no drains around the house, as they can create a problem with mosquitoes. Power can be intermittent in some areas of the city; although this is improving and most apartment complexes have a back-up generator, it is important to check this in advance. A back-up generator is an important consideration if you consider renting a house outside the main metropolitan area (e.g., East Coast Road). Similarly, it is advisable to arrange for a security guard from one of the reputed local companies during the day and night if you choose a house rather than an apartment.
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I’m not sure if I should bring my appliances. What is the electric current, Hz and plug shape in your city?
The electric current is 230 volts. The electrical Hertz (Hz) is 50 hertz of power. 

Below are examples of the types of plugs that are used in India.

Type C plug - Round pin attachment plug
NOTE: Type C plugs can also be used with E and F and some L receptacles. This type of plug is very common in most universal adaptor sets.
(Though the diagram shows a circular plug, quite often Type C plugs have a rectangular shape, as in the photo above.)

Type D plug - Round pins with ground

All free-standing houses do not come with appliances. For an independent house, please note that you would need a generator (at least 1 guard).
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Do you have any other accommodation information that might help me?
The process of searching for suitable accommodation could take some time and is sometimes frustrating. Ideally, the process should be started a few weeks before the start of the assignment. A preview trip is highly recommended. It is a common practice for owners to clean, paint and repair after the deal is finalized. If you opt to take a long-term lease (2 - 4 years), you can request what you wish to be worked on. However, this practice often results in delays in moving into the house.

It also might be a good idea to try and negotiate with the owner to provide as many appliances (particularly air conditioners) as possible within the premises.

There are a few things one must do before taking possession of the premises. A round of thorough cleaning is a must. It would also be advisable to have the entire premises treated by the pest control company before moving in. All electrical points and appliances should be checked for functionality. Gas is supplied in cylinders or bottles through a neighborhood dealer; it is advisable that you keep one extra cylinder on hand as back-up.
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Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.

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