In this blog post, we tell you all you need to know before renting a long-term rental property in Barbados. We’ll take you through the important steps, like finding a reputable and professional realtor, viewing properties, making an offer, getting landlord’s approval, and signing the rental agreement. Each process is important to successfully renting a long-term rental property on the Island.
The Barbados real estate market is very active at the moment, which means properties are getting rented in little to no time. Do not embark on this journey without knowing what you want in a property. Indecision can be costly, as you may end up losing a good deal to your competitors.
Some properties have more selling points than others, which means that they are taken off the market within a short time. Properties with the highest demand are those in great condition and in good locations. Beachfront apartments and inland homes that are close to amenities are at the top of the list.
In recent times, real estate agents in Barbados are finding it difficult to meet up with the demands for rental properties as there are very few listings available. This is largely due to the 2020 launch of the Barbados 12-month Welcome Stamp Visa, which has allowed approval of more than 2000 visas for expats. This means that there are thousands of successful applicants in need of housing, with only limited resources available.
Hiring a Real Estate Agent or Company
It is best to hire a Real Estate Agent to handle your rental process; however, ensure that you choose someone that is right for the job. Do a thorough background check on the realtor to ensure that you are in safe hands. The best realtors have websites for you to read up on them and their services. It is also good to get reviews from their current or past clients to help you make an informed decision on whether or not to hire them.
A very important criteria is for the real estate agent to be a member of the Barbados Estate Agents and Valuers Association (BEAVA). Being a BEAVA member ensures that there is a high standard and code of ethics that must be duly followed. Also, the Association gives them access to a wider selection of properties from over 100 members, which in turn gives you a more listings to choose from.
Your realtor is going to organize viewing sessions for you to assess the available properties before making a decision. If you are on the Island, you can go along with your agent on a physical tour of the properties. But, if you are overseas and unable to travel maybe due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the realtor should be able to provide photos and videos of the properties. You can also do a virtual or live viewing to see the houses in real time.
Do not rush over this process, as you do not want to rent a property only to discover that it is in a bad condition. Take your time to check every nook and cranny of the house, making sure it is to your taste. Let your agent know all your housing and personal preferences, like if the property is within short distance to work or school, if the bedrooms are on the same level, and if children and/or pets are allowed.
You do not need to hire multiple agents, as one realtor can have access to properties listed by other agents. This is why hiring a real estate agent who is a BEAVA member is very important. Hiring more than one agent does not make your property search any easier.
Making an Offer
When you find that property that ticks all of your boxes, your real estate agent should be able to advise you on offers likely to be successful and what numbers to avoid insulting the landlord. Making an offer way below the asking price can jeopardize your chances of getting the landlord’s approval.
The next step is to complete the rental application. You need to provide both general and personal information about yourself during the application to sell yourself well to the landlord. You will need to attach a photo ID of yourself to avoid doubts. Adding references like a past landlord can also improve your chances of getting approved.
Once you have completed the rental application, the realtor sends a copy along with your photo ID to the landlord for their decision. A positive response means you can go ahead to sign the rental agreement.
Signing the Rental Agreement
The rental agreement is a formal contract between the tenant and landlord, confirming the terms and conditions for using the property. Ensure that you read through the clauses carefully before signing the dotted line. Once all parties sign the contract, it becomes a legally binding document.
Upon signing the rental agreement, you will be required to pay the first month’s rent and a security deposit. The security deposit is a sum of money held by the Landlord to cover cost of damages to the property during the course of living in the property. The deposit is refundable at the end of the lease, provided that there were no damages. Apart from these standard requirements, your landlord may make additional requests like paying up to two or three months’ rent before you can occupy the property, one being the security deposit.
Things to Consider
Here are some of the things to consider before completing a rental contract, as they can influence your decision.
Not all properties have insect screens fitted to the windows, so you will have to get custom screens installed.
Ask whether there are any strict laws binding on tenants or members of the community, especially if the property is in a development or gated community.
If the property is furnished and you sign a contract stating such, asking the landlord to remove some or all the furniture to make room for your own can be problematic. It is within the landlord’s rights to refuse such a request, as he may not want to sell the items. So always ask the landlord prior to renting the property, if they’re ok with removing some items.
You may not always have access to active utilities when moving into a property, so you must inform your realtor about your preferences regarding having the home internet ready at move in. The agent takes this into consideration when looking for listings. Utility costs are often the tenant’s responsibility, but in some cases could be included in the rental rate.
For more information about Barbados utilities, read our blog post about Utility Services.