Find an Apartment


Finding an Apartment in Tangier

Well, I’m back in Tangier and moved into a new apartment. Our lease expires on November 1. We loved our original apartment, but maintenance issues (by way of a leaky roof and ceiling) caused us to decide to look elsewhere. We will miss our dramatic sea view.

Looking for another apartment is interesting in Tangier. Apartment buildings are normally high-rises with door attendants. The door attendants are the key to many things in Tangier. Along with providing some security to the building, they gather trash from outside each apartment door, do some light maintenance or call someone for repairs to the common areas, watch who comes and goes, and they know everything about who is living there and what apartments are available.

Yes, there are some listings on the internet and with agencies. Those seem to be mostly for tourists and of course, if you don’t speak the language, you will have to have an agent. Agents charge fees from the renter and the owner so many owners avoid them. They choose, instead, to give the key to the door attendant who by word of mouth will let people know there is something available.

So, our search began. We identified buildings in the area which we liked the look of from the outside and were conveniently located to the area where we wanted to live. Our wants/needs were relatively simple, a two bedroom with an outside space and a sea view. Most apartments come furnished, but we’ve lived with other peoples “stuff” for a while now, and I left open the option of finding something unfurnished.

My husband went to all the door attendants in the buildings that we had identified and we saw around 15 apartments. Usually, one thing will lead to another and one door attendant might not have what you want, but he knows another in another building who might. In our case, the door attendant identified an apartment in his building and we looked at it. We thought it was too small and the décor was strictly Moroccan, which didn’t suit our lifestyle.

The woman who showed us that apartment was showing it for her daughter who lived in Finland. When we told her our concerns, she said she knew of another apartment in the building that she lived in. Later we learned her sister owned it. We ultimately settled on that one.

The apartment is two blocks away from our original apartment. Staying in the same location was important to me. I know the shops and vendors and learning them was no easy feat. The neighborhood is convenient to restaurants, bars, the medina, and shopping. We have a view of the Bay of Tangier as well as the medina and the Strait of Gibraltar.

The apartment is three bedrooms and unfurnished. An unfurnished apartment in Morocco means no water heater, no light fixtures, and no appliances, not to mention the furniture. We put a four-year contract on the apartment starting October 1 to allow time to buy and deliver furniture and appliances and install light fixtures and a hot water heater. Thankfully, my husband could do the electrical bits.

Shopping for these things wasn’t easy. There are plenty of shops but they were all so unfamiliar. Western furniture is not the primary demand here and the appliance brands were not all familiar. We finally settled on some things after a few shopping trips and I was amazed at how quickly they were able to deliver. Within 2 or three days and on the outside one week, everything was in place.

That left packing up our goods from our house and transporting them to the new one. We had some boxes left from our move last year and we started to fill them with the things that we don’t use often. It wasn’t difficult because most of the things that we brought, art, books, and clothing were not being used at the time. We brought forty boxes with us from Italy and we probably added 4 more with some kitchen items. My husband transported everything by hand from one apartment to the other over the month and we unpacked as we went.

I will miss that beautiful dramatic sea view that stole my heart in the other apartment, but not the leaky mess during the rainy season. In its place, I have a lovely open view of the city and sea outside the principal windows, a newly furnished space with my own things, three bedrooms, two and a half baths freshly painted and with some remodeling for $450 a month.

We have a nice guest suite with its own bath. You’re always welcome here!

Home Sweet Home, Apartment in Tangier

We rented an apartment on VRBO for 5 weeks so that we would have some time to rest and to leisurely look for an apartment long term here in Tangier. The apartment we rented temporarily was in the Malabata area. This area is relatively new and more of a resort area. It is about a 10-minute taxi ride outside the city.

The apartment was located right on the shore with beautiful views of the sea. We opened the sliding glass doors when we were there and could hear the lapping waves and roar of the tide. Every day a man and three camels walked through the parking lot to the beach and down the beach to the park where he would allow people to take pictures or even go for a ride. In the evening, they returned. I got used to the rhythm of the waves and the camels passing.

We found that the area didn’t have services in terms of markets and necessities. The 10-minute taxi ride got annoying. Our apartment in Italy was in the midst of everything. We wanted that for our permanent place. We had considered renting this place for long-term and looked at another in the area, but in the end, we decided it was better for us to be in town. Besides, outside of town is almost twice as expensive.

I talked to some folks living in Tangier and they told me that the best way to find an apartment is to talk to the door attendants or look for signs on buildings. Most people do not go to agencies or advertise in newspapers.

When we arrived, we had lots of administrative issues to take care of and wanted to relax some, so put the apartment search on hold for a few weeks.

The Saturday after we arrived, we went to meet a friend that I had met on my visit to Tangier in January. We had tea at Café Paris on the Boulevard. She already knew of two apartments for us to look at in her building. While walking to her place, we saw another sign for apartments, and talked to the door attendant. We were able to set an appointment for later on in the afternoon to see two apartments there.

The apartment in my friend’s building was a lovely one bedroom, renovated and well decorated, but too small for us. My husband spoke with the owner extensively about what we wanted and he said he knew someone with an apartment that might fit our needs.

That was the end of our search. It had everything that we wanted and was in the ideal location and the perfect price! We had seen six apartments and found the ideal one in less than a week from when we arrived.

We got the keys on November 1 and spent a few days cleaning and organizing. It is fully furnished up to an including pots and pans, sheets, etc. Ben hired a man with a truck to move our boxes from the temporary apartment to the new one, and we took a taxi with the cats and we are here.

After a few days, we unpacked all the boxes and our first guest arrived for a glass of wine!

Our apartment has two bedrooms, a bath and a half, an eat-in kitchen, a large living room with two seating areas, a dining room, and another room, which we pretentiously call “the library” because our books are there. The floors are ceramic tile and there are many windows. It is on the ninth floor of a building off the main road, but our windows face a quiet street.

The bedroom windows are on the back, looking over a courtyard. We also have a sun porch with a magnificent view of the medina and the Strait of Gibraltar where we sit and watch freight and cruise ships go by.

The square footage is about 1250 and it costs 5000 dirham’s a month or about $530 per month. There is no air conditioning and no heat. We have gas for cooking and electricity for everything else. It is common for apartments not to have heat or air-conditioning. The climate is mild, so really it’s not necessary. There are a couple of space heaters included in the house.

I rarely used heat in my apartment in Florence, so I think I will be fine with that. I also did not have air conditioning and it got much hotter in Florence than it does here.

Moving into a new home is exciting and unsettling. There are markets to find, restaurants to explore, kinks in the living space to resolve and light switches to decode. It is stressful. After being here almost two weeks, we have accomplished some of those things and it’s starting to feel like home sweet home.

Mosque Mohammed V-Tangier, Morocco
Mosque Mohammed V-Tangier, Morocco

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