Housing: Yemen Housing Hunt Checklist

Checklist for Apartment/House Hunting in Yemen

The following is a list of things that I have found helpful to ask

when looking for housing in Yemen.


r Phone (haatif or telefon)): Is a line already installed? If not, the cost will likely be around $100 or so to install one)

r Electric (kahraba): Are there separate meters (very important or you might pay for others’ service)

r Water (maa): How is this paid for? Monthly? As water truck is needed?

r Bills (hisaab): Who will take payments to office? You or a masul*? Be sure to get and save all receipts once you move in! Also be sure to check the service dates on the bill and the address. Be aware of dramatic increases in bill amount. Someone else may be hooked onto your service. A bill or receipt is referred to as a “faturah”)

r Appliances:

o Is there a water heater (sakkhaan) installed? Sometimes you will get places that do not have one, but most do.

o Refrigerator/stove. Most places do not come with these


r Cleaning. Is there a fee for outside/hall cleaning? If so, what is it and how frequently is this paid?

r Balcony/Patio (shurfah, balcona). Is there adequate space for hanging clothes (most people hang there clothes outside, but you can purchase dryers here too)

r Deposit: (Ta’meen; also is the word for insurance). How much is this? Many times there will be none, you just pay for that month you are moving in.

r Maktaab fees. If you go through a maktaab to find housing, you will have to pay a fee. We were told that it is normally around ½ of one months rent, but it varies.

r Masul: A masul is like a superintendent. He may take the rent payment, possibly assist in getting a plumber, electrician (though you will have to pay for the cost of repair ususually), gives you utility bills, and sometimes take bills to office for you.

r Owner (sahib) : Who is the owner? Where is he? Will you pay rent to him or a masul?

When is rent due?


r Contract (aqd). If you cannot read Arabic, get it translated (tarjim) independently.

Other moving concerns:

Moving Truck:

What will it cost for the truck’s use? What will it cost for the workers? There are places around town where workers/trucks hang out looking for work. If possible, take a Yemeni person with you if you are new to Yemen and can’t speak Arabic very well. The price for a truck should generally be around 1500 riyals and somewhere around that for the workers, depending upon how many you have. Be aware as they might try to increase the price after work has started.


Printable copy of checklist


2 Responses

  1. I have an iphone will it work in Yemen, or will I need to buy a mobile phone when I get there?

    What about Skype?

    • Some calling programs/apps are blocked, or at least there were. But at the internet cafe I go to (and others) I see people talking via internet and I do see Skype on the desktops so that may be what they are using.

      I am not familiar with the iphone. If it takes regular sim cards, I would imagine it would work here, but Allahu ilm. Sorry I don’t have more info.
      But on the same note, despite the common belief that Yemen is behind the times, it really is very modern here. (Just be prepared to buy one if you had to, smile).

      Ok, wait a minute, went googling and found this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXNh1KPMouA
      So there may be a problem with using them here, Allahu ilm. (I didn’t view the video and there may be some shadiness going on there, but that was the only thing I can find on the topic.)
      Again, you may just have to wait til you come to really see what’s up.

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