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Renting an Apartment in Santo Domingo
Living in the city of Santo Domingo as a foreigner and looking for an apartment can be an adventure due to the diversity of options and the different conceptions many Dominicans have about foreigners. Finding an apartment requires time, patience, as well as a bit of shrewdness to obtain desirable results.

As in the States, renting an apartment can a frustrating experience because you may not find what you are searching for in the exact moment you need it. The following are important basic steps to consider before going about your apartment search:

1. The size of the apartment: What are your space needs?

2. How secure/safe/ well protected is the apartment?

3. How is the structure of building ( to withstand possible hurricane etc.)

4. Check out the apt. for potential flooding (water)

5. Transportation: Parking or the nearness to the public transportation route.

6. Nearness to your job.

7. Closeness to suppliers of basic services: hospitals, clinics, supermarkets, and places where you will pay your bills (energy, telephone, water, garbage.)

8. Neighborhood environment: Is noise an issue? Is it dangerous during night?

9. Services: Would you prefer a gated community? Security guard? Amenities included? Furnished/ unfurnished?

10. Restrictions about the kind of pets that you can have in your apartment.

11. Pay in dollars/ pesos.


Costs

Cost of living in the city can vary, depending on how close to downtown you are or if you require living in an exclusive area, the size of your home and the length of stay. Size of the apartment is important to consider because an apartment with 3 bedrooms will be more expensive than a studio. On the other hand, if you choose an apartment/ house outside of the city-center with 2 o 3 bedrooms, it could result in a cheaper price than a one bedroom downtown. Gated communities tend to have prices more comparable to the US because electrical, potable water, guards and common areas are included in costs.

Additionally, you must factor in the initial security deposits and the lawyer’s fee. To ensure financial stability of the renter in the Dominican Republic it is common for a landlord/lady to demand 2+1 or 3+1 of the equivalent of the monthly cost of rent. That is to say, two to three months rent plus an additional one month rent as a fee toward the lawyer. For example if you rent an apartment for 5,000 pesos you may be asked to pay 2+1= 3X 5,000= 15,000 pesos at the time of rental, of which 5,000 pesos will go toward the lawyer and 10,000 pesos will be deposited in the Banco Agricola until the lease’s end, when it will be returned to you. Lawyer’s fees in some cases are less than a full month’s rent.

Once you have established your priorities, as well as how they relate to the cost, you should consider the different types of housing arrangements available.

Housing as a boarder: If you are a single person staying for a short period of time (several months) you may prefer to rent a room with a family where you may arrange a fee for room and board. In many instances this can include meals and laundry. It is a good idea to have a personal reference as to the character of the host and the conditions of the living arrangement before entering into a contract with someone.

Apart Hotel/ Gated Community: If you desire amenities and furnishings, but without the cost to your personal privacy you may elect to live in a gated community or an apart hotel. Apart hotel dwellers do not have to worry about paying their electric/ water bill as the service is included in their rental fee. Additionally, most apart hotels come furnished. For those staying in the country for shorter periods of time, the apart hotel may be a more affordable alternative to staying in a hotel or buying furniture and renting an unfurnished apartment. For families or individuals living in the Dominican Republic long-term, gated communities offer the benefit of security and tranquility that more traditional and affordable rental agreements do not.
 
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