If you are planning to relocate to Lima, Peru, renting an apartment in the city is one of the first and most important decisions you will make. The first step, of course, will be knowing what district of Lima you want to live in.
Most expats prefer to live in a coastal district, like Miraflores or Barranco, while others decide to live near the major financial center of the city, in San Isidro. If you prefer something quieter and more residential, San Borja and Santiago de Surco are good choices. And if you’re more concerned with costs and are willing to “rough it” a little, then Surquillo, Chorrillos and Magdalena are districts where you can find lower rents.
How to find an apartment in Lima?
In most cases, people looking for an apartment begin their search online. Here are some of the best websites to find an apartment for rent in Lima:
Urbania – This is a great website to start your search, since it has a wide range of listings for long and short term rentals in different districts of Lima. The apartment prices appear in both, Peruvian soles and US dollars. They also have an app, which you can download here.
Doomos Peru – Doomos Peru is very similar to craigslist, but only for properties. Anyone can post here for free, so be careful with possible scams. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Trovit – This portal is a “scraper” and searches the data bases of others.
If you are looking for a roommate / shared-living situation, you can connect to other like minded people in our “roommates forum” on Expatperu.
Online searches aside, one of the best ways to find an apartment in Lima is to hit the sidewalks in your chosen area. Many people in Peru don’t advertise their homes online or with realtors – instead they simply put a “for rent” sign out with a phone number. Besides, negotiating an apartment directly with the landlord might even get you a better deal. And don’t forget to ask the street serenazgos, security guards or bodega owners about apartments available in the area. They usually know any properties on their streets that are for rent and which might be unadvertised.
Tips for renting an apartment in Lima
1- Unless you receive recommendations from others, or get a really solid vibe from the landlord, it is usually best not to rent an apartment sight unseen. Sometimes the pictures shown online are not very representative of what the apartment really looks like, and you do not get a sense of the neighborhood or street noise, so it is advisable to plan one or two visits before signing the contract.
2- If possible, ask a Peruvian friend to help you with the process of finding an apartment. Some landlords try to take advantage of foreign tenants by charging higher rates, and a local friend will have a better sense of security in the area, and a better read of your landlord.
3- Always try to negotiate for a lower rent rate, especially for long term rentals. Bargaining is common in Peru, so many landlords advertise their properties at a higher price in order to be able to negotiate with tenants. Don’t be shy about getting the best possible deal!
When you decide on a home to rent, you can expect to pay one month’s rent in advance plus one or two month’s as security when you sign the contract. Make sure that you and the landlord have signed and initialed copies of the contract. It’s not always necessary to have utilities turned on in your own name. Sometimes, the utilities are included in the price of the rental, other times you may receive bills that are in the name of the landlord. In smaller apartment buildings or duplexed homes, there is sometimes one water bill that is split between the tenants, this should be established in your contract as well. If you need to break the contract, typically a one month’s notice is required.
By law, your landlord should declare the income from the rental property and will be required to pay a 5% tax. Sometimes they do not do this, which is out of your hands. But, always insist on receiving some type of signed and dated receipt. Having these receipts in hand will give you some leverage in the unlikely case that your relationship with your landlord sours. Usually the threat of denouncing the landlord for tax evasion is sufficient to get them to honor their commitments with you. It is a constant that we have noticed: landlords that are are being sleazy with you are often the same kind of person that has not paid the tax on their rental income. Possible ways that tenants can get the shaft? The most frequent is not returning the damage deposit or charging an unreasonable amount for painting or repairs once you leave.
Seaking of repairs, most landlords in Peru (good and bad) will expect the tenant to be responsible for any work or repair that needs to be done during the rental period, so read your contract carefully to know your responsibilities. It’s important that you do a walkthrough with the landlord and note any damage or repairs that need to be done on the contract, since you don’t want to be held responsible for pre-existing problems.
You might also be interested in our article Relocation Services for Expatriates.
We’d like to hear from you. Have any real estate advice for newcomers? Please share your experience with our community in our forum topic: Apartment Rental in Lima.