If you are moving to the Dominican Republic, finding accommodation will be one of your priorities. Find out how to proceed in this article.
Located in the Caribbean region, the Dominican Republic is a very attractive destination for expatriates worldwide. Over the years, foreigners have successfully managed to settle in its different regions in large numbers. The country indeed offers a pleasant environment and a warm climate which are ideal whether you want to make a short or a long stay there. But if you wish to settle there permanently, it is best to be aware of its different regions, on the cost of living and on its inhabitants lifestyle. You also have to inquire on the types of accommodation available there. In fact, finding accommodation will be one of your priorities.
It is almost imperative to have visited the country a couple of times before moving there permanently as life in the Dominican Republic might be quite different from what you could expect.
Santo Domingo, overlooking the Caribbean Sea at the Ozama River mouth, is the country's capital city. The biggest part of the Dominican population, that is some 3.5 million inhabitants, live there. Santo Domingo is a very developed and dynamic city. In fact, it is deemed to the country's economic hub, not only offering job opportunities and cultural opening but also providing everyday life facilities such as shops, supermarkets, transports (including subway), restaurants, etc.
Barahona is a very natural province thanks to its breathtaking landscapes, surrounded by pine forests. The region hosts not only the country's first Larimar mine but also many coffee and sugar cane fields as its economy is mainly driven by agriculture, followed by textiles for export. It also hosts a port which is found at 5 minutes from the city center and which links the different Caribbean ports to one another. You will also find an airport at 10 minutes from the city center.
Jarabacao is La Vega's second largest city. Jarabacao's economy is mainly driven by agriculture, including pepper, strawberry, coffee, chili. It is an ideal destination for expatriates looking for a basic and peaceful natural environment along with a simple lifestyle.
Santiago de los Caballeros is the Dominican Republic's second largest city with a population consisting of some 700,000 inhabitants. Santiago is above all an agricultural region, but livestock production and tourism, as well as services make an important contribution to its economy. However, the region suffers from lack of water and electricity supply.
Puerto Plata and Sosua are found in the north of the Dominican Republic and are considered as tourist areas. These are ideal for expatriates, especially those who wish to set up a business there, or simply enjoy its beautiful sandy beaches.
In Cabarete, you can enjoy extreme sports, whether you want to challenge waves or winds. It also has a pleasant environment.
Samana, between mountain and beaches, is ideal for nature lovers. This region particularly attracts tourists due to the passing of whales. But you can also enjoy its numerous beautiful beaches.
Las Terrenas, located in the heart of Samana, is above all a tourist destination. It is very popular with the locals as well as foreigners looking for sandy beaches along with warm and crystal clear waters. Note that Las Terrenas used to be a small fishing village which, over the years, started to welcome hotels and many other modern facilities.
Punta Cana and Bavaro are beach resorts, surrounded by a jungle. The region also hosts an international airport where millions of travelers transit every year. Moreover, many wealth US investors have purchased real estate properties there, turning it into a modern and ecological tourist area. Note that Punta Cana and Bavaro are very lively at night as well.
Bayahibe, for its part, is less popular with foreigners, despite being a tourist region thanks to its beach resorts. In fact, tourism is its main source of activities and income.
Finally, La Romana is mostly appreciated by billionaires, especially for the pleasant environment and luxury it offers. You will find not only a big international airport there but also lush green golf courses and many other facilities.
Once you have decided which region will suit you best, you can start your housing search. However, you are advised to seek the assistance of a real estate agency which will take care of related formalities in your behalf, especially if you do not master Spanish and if you are new to the country. The real estate agent will make sure that the chosen accommodation meets your expectations as well as your budget.
Otherwise, you can also rely on network, or on word of mouth if you have friends or contacts on the spot. Note that most expatriates have opted for short term rentals at the beginning before getting more familiar with the country. You can as well search for accommodation on the Internet right from your home country thanks to numerous general and specialized websites by typing the following keywords: “largo plazo alquiler republica dominicana”.
Once you have found accommodation, you will need to find a guarantor (fiador) or a creditworthy co-signer who will agree to settle your rent in case you haven't paid them. Note that you will be required to produce your identification documents such as your passport or resident permit. Once you have signed the lease contact, the owner has to register the document and retrieve the security deposit from the Departamento de Alquileres del Banco Agrícola within 15 days.
Note that an owner is not allowed to evict a tenant unless the lease contract is canceled due to non-payment. Moreover, the owner cannot increase the rent price without your written consent, unless it has been authorized by the law. In case the owner refuses to receive your monthly rent payment, you are required to deposit it at the Banco Agrícola.
Good to know:
The requested security deposit is equal to one month's rent if the lease has a one-year term. The amount is increased to two months’ rent if the lease has a term of one and a half or two years. In the case of a more than three years term contract, the deposit is equal to three months’ rent. But in most cases, the deposit is equal to two months’ rent for a one-year lease period.
The lease contract is automatically renewed on expiring, unless there is another agreement in this regard. Subsequently, the owner must provide a written clause stipulating that the contract has been renewed by indicating the defined period.
In the Dominican Republic, you are not likely to find accommodation equipped with a piped gas system. Therefore, you have to obtain a gas cylinder. In general, gas cylinders are available for rent and can be exchanged against payment once these are emptied. Several gas companies also provide home service to individuals. In fact, only new buildings are equipped with a gas system.
As regards water supply, unfortunately tap water is not potable. But it can be used for personal hygiene and household chores. Therefore, you are highly advised to buy plastic water bottles for personal consumption.
The electricity supply, for its part, is constantly improving. However, interruptions do occur several times a day. This is why most Dominicans have acquired an alternating electrical power system via UPS or via solar panels. Therefore, ask the owner for the installation of an alternative power supply before renting a property. The electricity company will probably ask you a notarized lease document.
Finally, Dominican telecommunications network is deemed to the best in the region, thanks to the support of the US. Thus you can easily buy a mobile phone and make long distance call at affordable rates. As regards Internet, you can choose between Dial up and ADSL although you can get connected in numerous Internet cafes. You can also view a wide range of national and international channels thanks to cable TV.
Good to know:
On signing the lease documents, you will have to pay one or three month rent along with a guarantee deposit which is equal to one month's rent. Remember to claim back the guarantee when vacating the premises.
The lease can be notarized if the owner prefers a transparent transaction. You can also entrust the task to a Dominican lawyer. Fees of some 2,000 will apply. However, real estate agencies do not perform such tasks as they benefit from 10% of the monthly rent.
If the previous tenant has not settled some bills before leaving, like the electricity bill for instance, and you end up with a power overnight, you can offer the owner to settle the bill if you have the means provided he grants you a discount on your next rent.
Expat.com – Housing in Dominican Republic
Ministerio Hacienda www.hacienda.gov.do
Gas supply grupopropagas.com
Electricity supply www.edesur.com.do
Juan Perdomo www.juanperdomo.com