Lease Agreements in Sri Lanka: What you need to know

When renting, most landlords will prefer you to rent for at least 1 year; a guaranteed 2 to 3 years is the most preferred arrangement, but you can always negotiate down to a year with the option to renew. Remember to give 3 months’ notice if your plans change, to safeguard yourself. Landlords will expect a year’s rent paid up front (gulp!). Unfortunately, it is the norm here.

Each party will pay their own legal and admin fees. These costs will vary depending on the quality/experience of your lawyer.

When it comes to repairs and maintenance, protocol varies depending on the landlord. Most of the major companies and embassies have their own maintenance teams to sort out that side of things, as do some landlords. If you’re not in that bracket though, we’ve included a couple of numbers in a section further down

T&T TIP: If your maintenance bill is in excess of Rs. 5,000 you can ask your landlord to pay. It is advisable to keep your landlord informed of any problem regardless. In an apartment block it is the landlord’s responsibility to pay the service charge, and in a house or apartment, the landlord is expected to pay municipal rates and taxes.

Estate Agents/ Real Estates

Finding a home in Colombo can be very frustrating. Agents are not regulated, and it can be a very competitive environment among the agents. You do not want to be caught in the crossfire. It is of paramount importance that you find a reliable agent who you can trust. They will charge the landlord a month’s rent fee, so you don’t have to pay them a commission yourself. If you are still overseas, worry not, most of the agents we have listed below will be able to do a Skype call. We have recommended a few; you may hear of others by word of mouth. It’s also worth looking at to get an idea of the type of properties you like if you have not yet arrived.

1. Hardy James

Opening Hours: 9am – 5.30pm (Closed on weekends but will do viewing if pre arranged) | 0094 717 111 777  or 0094 115 882 113
Hardy James was founded by a British couple who wanted to make the Real Estate Business in Sri Lanka more reliable and efficient. They have a wonderful team of agents, and are developing a very trustworthy reputation amongst their clients. The T&T team have had great experiences using this agency.

2. Britbrokers

077 360 3029
Another agency set up by an Englishman, Britbrokers enjoys a very good reputation. They’re extremely reliable.

3. Expatkey Properties

62 Lauries Rd, Colombo 04 | Opening Hours: 8.30am – 5pm (Open till 12.30pm on Saturdays and closed on Sundays) | 0112 588 878
This is an agency with a lot of good connections and they will work well to get you a very good deal.

4. Acquest

Access Tower II, Level 16, 278, Union Place 02 | Opening Hours: 8am – 6pm (Closed on weekends) tel: 0094 114 01 02 03
This is the largest of the estate agent clubs, but not the most honourable.

5. Lanka Property Web

This is a great web portal for viewing all properties available for rent/sale in Colombo.

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