If you’re dreaming of incredible cuisine and stunning natural landscapes, moving to Peru might be right for you. Whether you’d prefer to catch some waves in Lima, check out the architecture in Arequipa or hang out with some alpacas in Cusco, Peru has a ton to offer, and more and more expats are looking to the South American country as their next adventure.
Whether you’re hoping to move to Peru for work, to start a business or just to chow down on some fresh ceviche, one of the most difficult parts of the transition can be finding a place to live. Luckily, rent prices are pretty reasonable, even in major cities like Lima where a one bedroom apartment in a neighborhood costs just PEN 2,040. If you’re planning to live somewhere more rural, that average dips as low as PEN 1,000.
So, what do you need to know to get started? This guide will walk you through all the most important information about finding a home to rent in Peru.
When renting in Peru, it’s fairly common to find an apartment online versus working through a real estate agent or broker. That being said, the best way to find a place to live is the old fashioned way: by hitting the streets. Many buildings will have for rent signs in the window with numbers to call, and some may even let you walk in to tour an apartment on the spot.
In more rural areas where there are fewer listings and it’s difficult to easily walk from property to property, however, you may still need to work with an agent.
Hunting for an apartment in a language you speak fluently can be difficult enough, let alone in a language you don’t completely understand. These are some important terms to keep in mind as you search for your apartment:
- Agente de bienes raíces: Real estate agent
- Tarifa de intermediación: Brokers fee
- Apartamento de estudio: Studio apartment
- Se renta: For rent
- Depositar: Deposit
- Apartamento de un dormitorio: One-bedroom apartment
- Comodidades: Amenities
- Amueblado: Furnished
Whether your apartment will come furnished or unfurnished varies, but rest assured that it’s possible to find either. For the most part, the more luxurious the apartment is the more likely it is to come with furniture intact.
Negotiating the rent with the landlord is pretty common in Peru, and if you fail to do so you could end up paying a much higher price than you need to. If you’re working with a broker, you may also be able to negotiate their fees down if you ask before signing a contract.
It’s definitely possible to find an apartment in Peru without a job, however, it may be more difficult, especially in major cities. Plus, proving your legal residence in the country will be essential if you’re looking for a long term rental, and the most common type of visa is a work visa.
All in all, tenants and landlords are both fairly well protected by law in Peru. Both parties are legally required to give each other notice if they’re breaking their contract, and landlords may not hike the rent during the time of your lease, unless it’s specifically stipulated in your original contract. That being said, there are two different types of contracts that are common in Peru: time-limited contracts and indefinite period contracts.
Time limited contracts can only last for up to 10 years, and whenever the contract is up the terms of the agreement are subject to change, provided both parties agree to it.
Indefinite period contracts are exactly what they sound like-- contracts that have no finite ending. In this case, by law either party would need to give the other 30-days notice if they decide to terminate the lease.
Beyond the rental agreement, most renters will be asked to pay a deposit that equals roughly one month’s rent. This deposit is refundable, but some landlords in Peru are notorious for trying to hold your deposit after your term is up. As such, it’s a good idea to thoroughly document the state of your rental when you move in as well as when you move out.
Outside of rent, you’ll also need to take utility payments into consideration. These are almost always the tenants responsibility, however most utilities are fairly inexpensive in Peru.
Depending on where you’re planning to live, your landlord may have a different preferred method for rent payment. In more rural areas it’s not uncommon for landlords to ask for cash, while in the city you may be able to pay online or from a foreign bank account. If you have to transfer money directly from your international account to your landlord’s in Peru, you may want to check out a service like TransferWise to ensure you’re getting the real exchange rate and cut down on expensive international transfer fees.
While finding a place to live may be done best offline, using online resources to get a feel for the types of apartments you can find and what you should expect to pay is always a good idea. Some good resources include:
Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to avoid getting scammed, but there are some precautions you can take to give yourself the best chance. For one, it’s smart to always see an apartment in person before renting it, as many online listings will have unrealistic or old pictures, or pictures that are simply of a different apartment.
Another good idea is to look for an apartment you can pay for online, especially in urban areas. It’s impossible to trace cash, so if it ever comes to a dispute having an electronic trail is your best bet.
Lastly, if something feels wrong you should trust your gut. Super high deposits, fees you don’t understand, or asking for money before you’ve signed a contract should all raise red flags.
With that, you’re ready to start your search. Good luck!