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
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.
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.