What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is much smaller than other posts, although generally all of the apartments are completely adequate. About half have a spare bedroom and the other half don't. Storage can be nearly non-existent in some apartments. There are also quite a few where the kitchens and bathrooms might remind you of your first college dorm. - May 2019

An apartment with a generator that runs 24/7 because the electricity is cut off throughout the day and night. Yes, it's 2016 but most apartments (no houses) have generators where you are allowed a certain amount of amps, I had 30amps but I knew Lebanese locals who got by with FIVE! Get used to keeping a running track of which appliances are turned on and don't be surprised when you go to blow dry your hair and you blow a fuse. Bring flashlights, my favorite is the one you can buy off eBay for $2 from China that doesn't need batteries.

Commute to certain areas may be 25-30 minutes to go 12 miles. - Jul 2016

Other than Americans, who live on compound, diplomats and expats tend to live throughout the city, primarily in wealthier neighbourhoods. My commute time was about 20 minutes driving. - Feb 2015

The highest-ranking individuals on compound have decent housing. Everyone else is situated in modulars or apartments. If you have recently graduated from college and have been living in a dorm or a New York apartment, then you many find the housing to be generously apportioned. If you have been in the Foreign Service for some time or have previously owned a house, then you are likely to be disappointed. While the modulars are newer and generally larger, they suffer from the fact that they were never meant to be permanent structures: tiles rattle, water heaters explode, and walls melt. The apartments are older, mold-ridden, and smaller but have solid walls. The facilities department tries their best to patch together a 30-year old "temporary" compound. Though they do any amazing job and deserve high praise, things break faster than they can fix them. On a positive note, you will have a very short commute. - Nov 2014

On the Embassy compound, housing in comparison to other embassies is abysmal. You can expect high density, modular or apartment living with lots of mold and sewage smells. The water is bad (non-potable, smelly, ugly). The environment is damp. Maintenance tries its best but the buildings are either temporary (modular) or old and poorly constructed villas that have been cut up/remodeled into apartment units. The housing is mostly on a steep hillside so the commute to work is up several outdoor steep concrete stair cases which are fine in dry weather but can become treacherous in rainy weather. One of the most wearing things about the compound is the constant noise - either from construction projects going on, from landscape machininery, from security forces drills. It has a very idyllic , peaceful appearance, but is in fact very loud, wearing and draining. Like living on top of a construction site 24/7. Power outages are commonplace and hard on all of your electronics, even with UPSs in place (some outages will outlast your UPSs) - Apr 2014

Foreigners tend to live in the neighborhoods of Hamra, Achrafieh, or increasingly Mar Mikhael. Though the city is small traffic can be terrible making a 10-minute drive take 45 minutes. Often you'd be better off taking a leisurely walk, though the Lebanese will certainly look at you funny for doing so. - Jan 2014

The US Embassy houses everyone on the compound in either apartments, villas converted to multi-unit housing or two bedroom temporary trailers. Everyone has amazing apartments in the best neighborhoods in Beirut. Even people lower on the economic scale, such as freelance journalists, can find a Washington-quality apartment at a reasonable rent. - Sep 2010

Those not affiliated with the embassy live in urban apartments, the quality of which varies drastically based on price and location. You can go as high as you want. For those on the embassy compound, housing consists of either an apartment or a modular house. Quality is acceptable but not fancy, and you are not allowed to bring personal furniture due to lack of storage space. Most people on the compound have excellent views of the sea. Commute time, of course, is zero. - Jul 2010

Embassy personnel live in compound housing consisting of trailers and apartments located in the Embassy compound. - Jun 2009

For USG employees, all housing is on the USG Embassy compound. No commute. - Jun 2008

There is only apartment living in the city. Houses are available outside the city but the commute in would be long. - Mar 2008

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