Lima is one of Latin America’s most affordable cities, especially when you take standard of living into consideration. Although prices have increased in the last few years due to an influx of foreigners, it remains an attainable option for those looking to move to South America.
If you want to rent a one bedroom apartment in one of the city’s nicer areas, you’re looking at paying at least $650/month. It may seem expensive, especially compared to other cities in South America, but it’s still considerably less than many North American or even European cities. If you want to live with a roommate to cut costs you might be able to get your rent down to $400/month.
So, how do you get started finding an apartment? This guide will walk you through everything you know about renting a home in Lima.
Lima is a huge city and it can be easy to feel lost amongst its neighborhoods. As a foreigner or expat, however, there are four main neighborhoods where it’s easiest to feel safe and comfortable. They all have reliable access to markets, shops, restaurants and cafes.
- Miraflores - this neighborhood is within walking distance of beautiful ocean views, sprawling parks, nightlife, the city’s best restaurants and other comforts. This neighborhood is the most expensive in Lima but also offers the most amenities. Miraflores has a tendency to feel a little touristy as most of the city’s hotels are located here, but with everything in close proximity it’s also a very walkable neighborhood.
- Barranco - Miraflores’ hipper, younger brother. Barranco has a little more character and grit and is slightly cheaper, making it a great choice for expats. With lots of bars and clubs plus an impressive number of wi-fi friendly cafes, this quaint neighborhood is very popular amongst the young and single.
- San Isidro - although a little further away from the action in Miraflores and Barranco, San Isidro is a very popular upscale neighborhood in Lima. It’s considered a major financial center and, in fact, many banks and businesses have left downtown Lima in favor of this neighborhood. San Isidro tends to be much quieter as it’s inhabited by mostly families and not as many young people.
- San Borja - this neighborhood is actually one of the more thoughtfully planned-out neighborhoods in Lima. It isn’t central to the bar and club scene but it’s covered in beautiful, lush parks and green areas. If you’re looking for a lot of space in a quieter part of town, this neighborhood might be for you.
- Urbania - with tons of listings, you’ll really be able to get a sense of neighborhood pricing here. You can filter by listings for sale, for rent or for temporary rent and you can even search for a parking space to rent!
- Adondevivr - this site is the largest portal for real estate agents in Lima, meaning there are a lot of properties available and the response rate is usually pretty good. Lima is building new properties all the time so this is a good place to check out if you’re interested in living in a newer building.
- Doomos - this site is sort of like Craigslist but only focused on property. Anyone can post an ad on this site for free, so be wary of potential scams.
- Offline - a lot of Lima rentals still operate offline. Take a look at the Sunday classifieds of “El Comercio” - Lima’s largest newspaper - to see what’s available.
- Dada Room - this site is probably your best option for finding a roommate or flatshare in Lima. You can search by available rooms, roommate profiles, price point, neighborhood and more. They have lots of listings and an easy-to-use interface.
- Roommates Lima-Peru - this is a closed Facebook group so you may have to hound the admins for an invite, but the group is more than 16,000 people strong and it’s a great way to peruse for roommates.
- Craigslist - the tried and true Craigslist roommate search is alive in Lima, and you can use the site to find solo-rental options as well. Be aware of scammers and always bring someone with you when looking at an apartment.
Working directly with a landlord is often the best way to get your foot in the door. Many people have success simply by walking around the neighborhoods they want to live in and calling any listings they see. Even if your Spanish is impeccable, it’s a smart idea to find a Peruvian friend to help you work through the apartment process. They’ll be able to tell if you’re getting ripped off or if you’re in a seedy part of town. Be sure to read your contract carefully, as most landlords will expect you, the tenant, to be responsible for any work or repairs that need to be done during your rental period.
Lima has a reputation for dishonest landlords, especially when it comes to renting to foreigners. A common scam is asking tenants for a two month security deposit without the intention of ever giving it back. The best way to resolve an issue like this is to take it to Peruvian court, which is an adventure in and of itself.
Peruvians operate on “feel” a lot - a landlord may not decide to rent to you if you didn’t make a good first impression. You should do the same with landlords. Ask questions, listen to how they respond and try to weed out the ones who feel fishy.
You can expect to pay one month’s rent in advance plus one month’s security deposit when you sign your rental contract. If you’re planning on renting long-term, negotiate! Landlords may break you a deal if you’re staying in a place for a year or more. Most leases don’t require a co-sign. In fact, many landlords accept rent payment in US dollars, and you can withdraw USD from just about any ATM in the city. If you’re paying for rent using an account from another country, use TransferWise to get the real exchange rate and cut out expensive international bank transfer fees.
Good luck with your move to Peru!