Have you already started looking for your next apartment or house? Follow these tips and make your search a little easier.

12 Simple Tips for Renting a House or Apartment in Costa Rica

Tip #1 for Renting a House or Apartment: Know the Area’s Rent Price

When looking for a rental property it is important to check the price of other properties of similar characteristics in the same neighborhood. If the price is well below the average amount for the area, there is a reason.

Tip #2 for Renting a Home or Apartment: Check the Land Registry

Another way to check the real owner is by requesting the information at the Land Registry. This is a simple procedure that can be done through the Internet by requesting a simple note that provides brief and concise information -on paper-, about the legal situation of a Rental Property (brief description, owner and charges, if any).

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Tip #3 for Renting a Home or Apartment: Formalize the Deal Face-to-Face

One of the most typical cases of fraud is when the landlord claims to be abroad and, for this reason, cannot show the property. One way to avoid this is to always meet face to face to see the apartment and sign the contract, either with the owner, the real estate agent or the real estate agency.

Tip #4 for Renting a Home or Apartment: Don’t Pay Rent Before Visiting the Rental Property

Never, under any circumstances, should you give an advance payment before visiting the apartment, no matter how much of a hurry to rent. If you do so, you may find that you have rented the apartment under different conditions than you thought or that the property in question does not even exist. Therefore, you should not give money or sign the contract without first checking the condition of the property, the location, the number of rooms, if there are any damages or if the utilities are connected, among other things.

Tip #5 for Renting a Home or Apartment: Written Lease Agreement

Whenever a deal is made with someone, it must be done in writing. In the event of a problem arising, oral agreements cannot prove the agreed terms and conditions or breach of contract. Therefore, it is imperative that the terms of the contract be in writing and that each of the parties involved keep a signed copy of every page of the contract. It is best to use a model contract.

Tip #6 for Renting a Home or Apartment: Review the Lease Agreement

Before signing, you must read the conditions of the contract carefully: you must be clear about the monthly rent, the duration of the contract, the expenses to be paid by each of the parties, who is responsible for the maintenance of the property… If you do not agree, try to negotiate.

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Tip #7 for Renting a Home or Apartment: Know Your Tenant’s Rights

The best way to avoid abusive clauses is to know in advance your rights and obligations as a tenant. Although it may seem an insignificant detail, sometimes there have been circumstances in which a tenant has rented a property in a community with a swimming pool but without having the right to use it. For this reason, before signing any document it is important that you clarify the rights that would correspond to you as a tenant and that these are specifically stated in the contract.

Tip #8 for Renting a Home or Apartment: Security Deposit

By law, it is compulsory for the landlord to deposit the fee requested from the tenant with the corresponding entity, but there are those who do not do so. This is an important point that could mean the loss of the deposit for the tenant and the impossibility to deduct the rent. In addition, it is important for you to know that the amount that you as the tenant give to the landlord as a deposit should not exceed the equivalent of one months’ rent. However, in any case, it is essential to keep the receipt of any payment made.

Tip #9 for Renting a Home or Apartment: Value of Services

Services are an additional factor to the rental value that must be evaluated when looking for an apartment. In many occasions, this variable can be a determining factor when choosing the apartment to move into.

Since the tax contemplates the building’s maintenance expenses distributed among all the owners and tenants, the number of apartments or amenities will be a factor that will determine the value of the building expenses, making their costs cheaper or more expensive.

Tip #10 for Renting a Home or Apartment: Location and Public Transportation

The area in which the property you are going to rent is located is important. This aspect is usually fundamental when looking for the apartment because you have to analyze the accessibility to the neighborhood from the different areas that surround it. Also the proximity to your workplace is a decisive factor to choose where to live.

Regarding public transportation, it is advisable to analyze which bus lines circulate in the area and with which points of interest they connect you. Also train stations, if it is within the Central Valley. Regarding transportation by car, the avenues, highways or routes that circulate in the area should also be taken into account when choosing your apartment.

Tip #11 for Renting a Home or Apartment: Layout of the Rooms

The number of rooms will depend on the number of people who will be living in the apartment during the term of the contract. When visiting the property, it will be important to observe every detail of the rooms and take into account how they are distributed.

This can help you to imagine a possible layout of where each piece of furniture you have, or are planning to buy once the move is complete, in order to create a space that is functional for the people who move through it.

Tip #12 for Renting a Home or Apartment: Neighborhood Hot Spots

In terms of areas of interest, the commercial, educational and leisure/entertainment areas will be influential in the choice. When visiting the property, a quick tour of the neighborhood can be made to see local businesses (supermarkets, greengrocers, butchers, kiosks, etc.) and thus be able to draw conclusions on the subject.

In addition to the commercial part, it is important to observe the educational institutions (schools or universities) in the area. Finally, recreational and entertainment spaces (parks, cinemas, shopping malls) where you can spend time with friends, your partner or family on weekends.