Finding accommodation in Puerto Rico is relatively easy, especially if one plans to rent rather than purchase a home. Most expats go the route of renting, as it's the best way to get to know the island and its various areas as a newcomer.
Types of accommodation in Puerto Rico
The most common type of accommodation in Puerto Rico is apartments. Though these can come either furnished or unfurnished, they're most commonly unfurnished. In some cases, expats may be able to negotiate the inclusion of furniture in a rental at an additional cost. However, it's always best to ask to take a look at any additional furnishings beforehand to see if they're up to standard – furniture that comes with rentals is often outdated and worn.
Other types of housing, such as freestanding homes, can also be found, but there isn't as much of a selection as there is with apartments. Many expats favour luxury gated communities which, while pricey, offers a safe and comfortable stay.
Finding accommodation in Puerto Rico
The easiest way to find accommodation in Puerto Rico is through online classifieds. Many of these are in Spanish, so having a decent grasp of the language will be useful.
Word of mouth is typically the best way to find a good deal. Expats who are already in Puerto Rico should tap into any network they may have there, even if it's just the owner of the hotel they're staying at. Otherwise, expats may want to enlist the services of a real-estate agent, preferably a bilingual one fluent in both English and Spanish.
Renting accommodation in Puerto Rico
A typical lease length is 12 months. A full inspection of the accommodation is also advised before signing any lease, and if there are any issues that need to be fixed, expats should insist that they are dealt with before the move-in date.
The deposit is usually the equivalent of one or two months' rent, but this varies according to the owner. At the completion of the lease, the deposit will be returned in full if the property is left in good condition.
Which utilities are included in the rental is up to the landlord, and this should reflect in the price. Expats should be clear on this before signing the lease so as not to accrue unexpected additional expenses.
►For info about employment on the island, read Working in Puerto Rico
"Standard of living can be very good, but expensive. Most expats have a housing allowance, which means they can live in an exclusive, gated community. They can also send their children to expensive private schools, as companies usually allow for that expense as well."
Check out our interview with American expat Lynn to learn more about the expat experience in Puerto Rico.
Are you an expat living in Puerto Rico?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Puerto Rico. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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