Accommodation in Santiago
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Like most large cities, the range of accommodation available in Santiago will suit most pockets. Finding a property to rent in Santiago may be the biggest hurdle in the whole renting process due to high demand. However, the dollar holds formidable acquisition power in the city, so earning it makes finding a suitable place to rent considerably easier.
Types of housing in Santiago
Most of the accommodation in Santiago comes in the form of 'piezas' or apartments. It is also possible to find houses for rent, especially in the more expensive areas of the city. Some popular areas in Santiago are Ñuñoa and the tree-lined Providencia.
Las Condes is a relatively wealthy area and has a significant expat population as is obvious from its nickname 'gringolandia'. Within Las Condes, El Golf is a very well-regarded area but is typically expensive. Those looking for something a bit friendlier on the wallet but still a good neighbourhood may find La Reina to be a good fit.
Unfurnished apartments will generally come with no furniture or appliances, so expats should try to negotiate to include major appliances like a refrigerator and oven in the apartment. Furnished apartments are available, but will usually cost more.
Finding accommodation in Santiago
Using personal connections is the most popular way to find accommodation in Santiago. One of the best ways for expats to find good accommodation fast is to talk to people about it - anyone from a colleague to a friendly shopkeeper in the desired neighbourhood might be able to lend a hand.
If this doesn't pan out, there are also a number of rental agencies that specifically cater to the expat community. These service providers make finding accommodation much simpler but far more costly. The good news is that the final fee for the agent will typically be split between the tenant and landlord.
It's important to note that a fluency in Chilean Spanish will be of great help during the initial property search and later negotiations. It might be useful to bring along a friend who is a local – this way expats are far likelier to get a better deal.
Santiago’s daily newspapers have extensive properties listing sections. Expats can also search online for property listings.
Renting property in Santiago
Rental agreements in Santiago are generally for a 12-month period. Shorter terms are easily negotiated, though usually at a higher price. Landlords generally require a deposit amount of at least one month’s rent.
Depending on the landlord, expats may be required to have a Chilean guarantor in order to secure a rental contract. In most cases, an expat's employer will act as guarantor but this is not always possible. In instances where a guarantor is required but expats are unable to find one, they can negotiate to pay a larger security deposit.
In either case, expats should be sure to get a full and detailed inventory taken of the apartment and its contents, as they will be liable for any damage beyond normal wear and tear.
Utilities are usually not included in the price of the rental, so expats will need to budget extra for this. Utility bills in Chile can soar quite high so it may be worthwhile to ask the landlord for an approximation of the typical utility bill for the accommodation. This should only be taken as a very rough figure as usage will differ from person to person.