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Expat Exchange - How to Rent a Home in Belize
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Placencia, Belize


How to Rent a Home in Belize

By Betsy Burlingame

Universal Tax Professionals
Universal Tax Professionals

Summary: Renting a home in Belize for the first time can be daunting. You probably have so many questions: Do I need a lawyer? Do rentals come with appliances? How do I find good rentals? How do I choose the right neighborhood? The list goes on and on. Here are answers to some of the top questions plus insight from our members living in Belize.

Navigating the process of renting a home in Belize for the first time can feel overwhelming. Numerous questions might arise: Should I consult a lawyer? Are appliances typically included in rentals? How can I discover quality rental properties? Which neighborhoods will best suit my needs? These are just the tip of the iceberg. Dive in for answers to these pressing questions and gain insights from our members who've made Belize their home.

"Relocating to a new country can be an exciting yet challenging experience, and finding a place to live is one of the most important aspects of this process. If you're considering moving to Belize, this guide will provide you with all the necessary information about renting an apartment in this beautiful Central American country. From finding a rental property to understanding the legalities involved, this guide will help you navigate the rental market in Belize with ease.

How Do You Find a Rental Property in Belize?

There are several ways to find rental properties in Belize. Online platforms such as Belize Real Estate MLS, Property Abroad, and local classifieds are good starting points. Additionally, local real estate agents can provide valuable insights and access to properties that may not be listed online. Word of mouth is also a common way to find rentals, so networking with locals and expats can be beneficial.

Does Belize Have an MLS Type System?

Yes, Belize does have a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system. The Belize Real Estate MLS is a comprehensive database of properties for sale and rent across the country. It's a reliable source of information and is widely used by real estate agents and prospective renters.

Do Brokers Have Licenses and How Do I Know if They Are Licensed?

Yes, real estate brokers in Belize are required to have a license. You can verify a broker's license by checking with the Association of Real Estate Brokers of Belize (AREBB). The AREBB maintains a list of licensed brokers and agents in the country.

Should I Buy or Rent in Belize?

This decision depends on your personal circumstances and long-term plans. Renting can be a good option if you're not sure about your long-term plans or if you prefer flexibility. Buying can be a good investment if you plan to stay in Belize for a long time or if you want to earn rental income.

Is It Difficult to Find Rentals in Belize?

Finding a rental in Belize can be relatively easy, especially in popular expat areas like Ambergris Caye, Placencia, and Cayo. However, the availability of rentals can vary depending on the season and location. It's advisable to start your search well in advance and consider hiring a local real estate agent to assist you.

What Documents Are Required When Renting an Apartment in Belize?

When renting an apartment in Belize, you'll typically need to provide a copy of your passport, proof of income or savings, and references from previous landlords. Some landlords may also require a Belizean guarantor.

Do I Need a Lawyer When Renting an Apartment in Belize?

While it's not mandatory to have a lawyer when renting an apartment in Belize, it can be beneficial, especially if you're unfamiliar with Belizean rental laws. A lawyer can review your lease agreement and ensure your rights are protected. Legal fees can vary, but you can expect to pay around $150 to $300 USD for lease review services.

How Long Is the Typical Lease For?

The typical lease term in Belize is one year, but shorter and longer terms can be negotiated depending on the landlord's flexibility and the tenant's needs.

Do I Have to Pay a Deposit?

Yes, a security deposit is typically required when renting an apartment in Belize. This is usually equivalent to one month's rent but can vary depending on the landlord's policies.

What Other Upfront Costs Are There When Renting?

In addition to the security deposit, you may also need to pay the first month's rent upfront. Some landlords may also require a pet deposit if you have pets.

Are Utilities Included?

Whether utilities are included in the rent depends on the rental agreement. In some cases, utilities such as water and garbage collection may be included, but electricity, gas, and internet are usually the tenant's responsibility. Utilities in Belize are generally affordable, but this can depend on usage and location.

Are Furnished or Unfurnished Rentals More Popular?

Both furnished and unfurnished rentals are available in Belize. Furnished rentals are popular among expats and usually include basic furniture, kitchen appliances, and sometimes even linens and dishes. Unfurnished rentals typically only include major appliances like a refrigerator and stove. The choice between furnished and unfurnished largely depends on your personal needs and preferences," said one expat living in Belize.

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SJB Global

SJB-Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model. Our clients benefit from their country’s most favorable tax environment by utilizing the efficient investment vehicles we offer. Our commitment to quality service is reflected in our stellar reviews, with over 300 testimonials boasting 95% five-star ratings.

Learn MoreConnect

Click connect to have our partner contact you via e-mail and/or phone.

Expats Talk about What Type of Housing They Live In

"My husband and I live in Carmelita Gardens (moved here in October 2020 and rented while we were having our home built). We have a 1BR/1BA house of 832 sq ft including our screened-in front porch and back terrace. Our home was built from Covintech which is a concrete-covered styrofoam-mesh material. We have a 6500 gal cistern, solar panels etc," said one expat living in Carmelita Gardens.

Expats Talk about How they Found their Home

"I choose the San Ignacio area as it has the best local downtown, expats and locals mix well together, the folks are so friendly and the Expats are like my other family ! I found my home, thru Rainforest Realty www.rainforestrealty.com," commented an expat living in Belize City.

"Originally San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, but after 4 years it got over populated and prices went way up. Moved to the mainland Northern Belize were there is less rain and humidity and 15 minutes from Chetumal where you can get low cost everything," said an expat in Corozal.

"I lucked out with a bit of alone research. I found a listing on a Belizean rental site. The apt ended up being in the suburb area, for a 1 bedroom that ended up costing the same price as rent in the center of town and other parts of town usually where the locals live," remarked one expat who made the move to San Pedro.

"One of the best ways to find a place to live in Belize is to start by researching online, such as through real estate websites or online listings. You can also look into local newspapers or social media pages to find listings. Additionally, it is recommended to visit the area, in person, to get a better sense of the local real estate market and to explore possible options. Once you have narrowed down your search, it is highly recommended to contact the local landlords, estate agents, and rental companies directly to find the most suitable place to live," explained one expat living in Belize.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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