The Rental Market

Things to bear in mind

The Rental Market

The rental market in Costa Rica is regulated and tenants are well protected. Costa Rican authorities do make a difference between vacation rentals and normal rentals.

If you are looking for a place to buy or coming down to Costa Rica to study or work temporarily, you are likely to rent a place. Rental contracts in Costa Rica are generally for the duration of three years. During this period the landlord is not allowed to raise the rent if charged in US Dollars. If the rent is charged in Colones a 15% increase in rent is possible. In practice, 6 month rentals are offered as well. Tenants are supposed to give three months notice to terminate the rental and leave the property in the same state it was when the lease started. If you decide to leave before the rental period is over you will lose your security deposit. A landlord can ask any amount of security deposit he/she thinks is necessary. Make sure you agree clearly on what security deposit will be made.

If the landlord wants to terminate the lease, notice must be given at least 3 months prior to the end of the contract. If the landlord lives in the same building a 30 day notice is sufficient. If notice is not given according to the minimum time required, the lease is automatically renewed. If the tenant is seven days late with payment of the rent, the landlord is allowed to go to court and ask for an eviction. If the tenant does not pay bills that he/she has agreed upon to pay, the landlord can evict the tenant and deduct the costs from the security deposit. The landlord can also evict tenants if they are involved in illegal activities. The landlord has the right to inspect the premises once a month. Sub-renting/leasing is prohibited.

Another way to find accommodation is through an agency. There are many agencies specializing in short-term rentals in Costa Rica. Many of these agencies have web pages where you can see what is on offer. The advantage of these agencies is that they often have the nicer properties. In addition, they remove lot of the possible legal concerns issues and cut down on the time you might otherwise be looking for a place yourself. On the other hand, you will be charged commissions and usually pay more.

Housing in Costa Rica is offered both furnished and unfurnished. Costa Ricans pay on average US$ 100 to US$ 200 a month. Starting prices for a small apartment/ studio in a more upscale neighborhood are around 250 dollars a month. A luxury house or apartment will start around US$ 900 per month.

Further reading

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