What are the top factors to keep in mind when searching for a place to live in your city?
When searching for a place to live, the most important factor to consider is safety, plus other factors such as location preference and individual needs. One of the major factors is the driving distance from home to work and the proximity to your children's school. Also note houses on main roads tend to be noisy (and dusty) through the day and sometimes even during the nights. Diligence needs to be exercised in making sure that the proposed housing is sufficient in terms of electricity and water supply and phone connections. Make sure there are facilities for groceries, vegetables, meats and medicines close by. Certain areas of the city are more preferred than other parts, and together with the state of the apartment, prices can vary.
What are the most popular neighborhoods in your city for expats?
Apartments are the most common and preferred type of housing available. Most of the apartments in the main city tend to attract foreigners. The apartments range from full luxury to standard and a wide choice of 2, 3 or 4 BR’s are available. Usually apartments are fully or partly furnished but it is possible to find unfurnished apartments as well. Owners are open to negotiation and you can make requests for your preferred type of equipment.
Colombo can be divided into three areas: Central, Northern and Southern. Most apartments are located in the central and southern areas. The central area includes Colpetty, Union Place, and Cinnamon Gardens, and the southern area includes Bambalapitiya, Wellawatte. There are more apartments in the outskirts of Colombo at places like Rajagiriya, Battaramulla.
Do expats tend to buy or rent their homes?
Typically, most expatriates prefer to rent their homes.
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?
A security deposit is usually equivalent to 6 months to a year’s rent. Rentals are usually paid monthly or annually, but this will depend on negotiations with the house owner. In most cases, your company will arrange this on your behalf.
Are utilities generally included in the price of rent, or are they extra?
Utilities are usually additional, although the cost of water might be included.
Are there special security concerns I should be aware of in regards to my home or choice of neighborhood?
Apartments are generally located in safe areas and almost all apartments have very strict security so that access to outsiders will be limited. Make sure the apartment has an in house security system or a CCTV system. If possible, check with the owner and change all locks on doors and replace with brand new ones. It is also prudent to always lock your house and car when you are not there and keep security informed accordingly.
In case you decide to live in a single house type rather than in an apartment it is recommended that you check out local police reports before deciding on an area to live. These reports provide factual information on types of crimes and how often they occur. This will most likely be a determining factor on whether you choose to live in a certain neighborhood.
If you decide to live in a house, you should check that there are no drains or blocked gutters around the house which will collect water as this can create a problem with mosquitoes. The dengue is a killer disease and if you are found guilty of having blocked drains or gutters that are suitable for mosquito breeding you will most likely end up in court with a heavy fine.
I’m not sure if I should bring my appliances. What is the electric current, Hz and plug shape in your city?
Sri Lanka uses 220 to 240 volts. The electrical Hertz (Hz) is 50 hertz of power. For the most part, electrical sockets (outlets) in Sri Lanka are one of two types: the "Type D" Indian 5 amp BS-546 or the European CEE 7/16 Europlug. Wall sockets are of the three round -pin variety although some houses use square plugs. UK, US and Australian plugs require adaptors, while continental European round pin plugs fit the sockets. Two pin plugs also work fine. All kinds of Power adaptors (three pin to two pin vv, square to round vv, interchangeable plugs, power extension cables are available from electrical shops.
Do you have any other accommodation information that might help me?
Searching for accommodation is time consuming and sometimes frustrating as there will be some aspects that do not fit your personal requirements.
Ideally, the process should be started a few weeks before the start of the assignment. A preview trip arranged through Crown Sri Lanka is highly recommended. The owner’s usually clean, paint and repair after the deal is finalized and the advance is paid. If you wish to have a particular color palette to suit your personal taste you can make this known beforehand.
If you are planning to move into a fully furnished apartment, it would be a good idea to test all of the electrical equipment at the time of negotiating such as washing machines, fans, fridges, TV sets and especially air conditioners so that the owner can fix any faulty equipment.
There are a few things one must do before taking possession of the premises. A round of thorough cleaning is a must and it would also be advisable to have the entire premises treated by a pest control company before moving in. All electrical points and appliances should be checked for functionality.
Water pressure should be checked as well. Gas is supplied in cylinders or bottles through a neighborhood dealer; it is advisable that you keep one extra cylinder on hand as backup.
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.