- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Santiago Guide (PDF)
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. More and more people are moving to Santiago and the housing stock must meet this need. Luckily, the dollar holds formidable acquisition power in the city, so earning it makes finding a suitable place to rent considerably easier.
Types of accommodation 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, and some expats prefer those in gated complexes, especially in the more expensive areas of the city.
When considering the location of accommodation, expats should think about proximity to schools as well as work and other amenities.
Some popular areas in Santiago are Ñuñoa and the tree-lined Providencia. Las Condes is a relatively wealthy area with a significant expat population, but those looking for something a bit gentler on the wallet but still a good neighbourhood may find La Reina to be a good fit.
Both furnished and unfurnished accommodation are available, though apartments that are fully stocked usually cost more. Unfurnished apartments will generally come with no furniture or appliances, so expats should try to negotiate to include major appliances such as a refrigerator and oven.
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 quickly is to talk to fellow expats or locals – 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 and relocation companies 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, or at least a basic command of, 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.
Expats can find accommodation in newspaper property listing sections, online portals such as CompartoDepto, Vivastreet and ACOP, and on Facebook groups.
Renting accommodation in Santiago
Rental agreements in Santiago are generally for a 12-month period, but shorter terms can be negotiated, though usually at a higher price.
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.
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.
Landlords generally require a deposit amount of at least one month’s rent.
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 rough figure as usage will differ from person to person. Some complexes may charge additional maintenance fees and so potential tenants should ask about this.
►See Areas and Suburbs in Santiago to find out the best areas for expats to live in the city
►Read more about Accommodation in Chile
"New apartment buildings tend to have a lot more amenities than older buildings but the rooms are smaller. Amenities you typically see are rooms you can rent for parties, pools and gyms. New apartments also are more likely to have central heating." Read Noëlle's interview for more on housing in the capital city.
"For security reasons, most expats prefer to live in apartments with a shared communal garden or houses in gated condominiums. Some like to live in larger detached homes." Read more about types of housing in Nina's interview.
Are you an expat living in Santiago?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Santiago. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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