Renting an Apartment in Lima, Peru
Renting an apartment in Peru is one of those things – like so many others here – where the process is a bit different than what you might be used to. The first step, of course, will be finding a place that you like, which requires knowing what district of Lima you want to live in. (If you’re moving to a city outside of Lima, your steps will be similar, although there may be some small differences.) If you want to be close to the “action”, you’ll probably prefer a coastal district like Miraflores or Barranco. If you prefer something quieter and more residential, San Borja and Santiago de Surco are good choices. If you’re more concerned with costs and are willing to “rough it” a little, San Miguel and Surquillo are districts where you can find lower rents in neighborhoods that are typically a bit noisier and more rustic. Rental costs can vary wildly depending on the size, type and location. While it’s possible to find decent housing for $500/month, better homes and apartments often cost more with luxury apartments near the coast sometimes renting for thousands.
Once you’ve narrowed your choice of location, there are a few different options for finding a home for rent. Here on the Expat Site, we have an “Apartments for Rent” section. Some other places to hunt online are:
Never rent a place sight unseen! Sometimes the pictures shown online are not very representative of what the house or apartment really looks like.
For off-line options, the Sunday classifieds of “El Comercio” (Lima’s largest newspaper) are a great place to start. It’s best to start very early in the morning, as the good apartments will go fast. And one of the best ways to find an apartment is to hit the sidewalks in your chosen area. Many people don’t advertise their homes in the paper or with realtors; instead they simply stick an “ALQUILER” (for rent) sign out with a phone number. Don’t forget to ask the street serenazco, security guards, or bodega owners. They usually know any properties on their streets that are for rent and which might be unadvertised.
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. Whatever the advertised rent, try to negotiate for a lower rate for long term rentals. Make sure that you and landlord have signed and initialed copies of the contract. If you need to break the contract, typically one month’s notice is required. 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.
There are some things to be aware of when renting a private apartment or home. Most landlords will expect the tenant to be responsible for any work or repairs that need 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 when signing the contract and note any damage or repairs that need to be done on the contract, and make sure that the landlord initials that. You don’t want to be held responsible for pre-existing problems. Occasionally, there will be problems with landlords regarding repairs or returning deposits. While there isn’t always a good solution to the problem, this thread had a very good discussion regarding some ways to handle difficult landlords.