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Check for damages before renting a home in Costa Rica

Check for damages before renting a home in Costa RicaBefore renting a home, there are quite a few details you should cover. Not only are the agreed upon price and the lease agreement important. There are a few other things to look at before you can move in.

There might be damages or not well-functioning plumbing and electrical systems that you do not notice during a quick walk-through unless you’re a builder or a property manager.

Is the house up to your standards? You assume it is, but there are different construction standards here than in many other countries. You might find those standards do not fit your lifestyle.

Security deposit

Once you have signed the lease agreement and paid your security deposit, you can’t walk away. Unless you want to lose your security deposit, you’re stuck in the lease and any damages are your problem.

A commonly used clause in a lease agreement states “The property will be handed over in good condition and cleanliness and the tenants promise to return it in the same good condition he received it, paying for the reparation of any damage to the property not being caused by the normal use and course of time and by unforeseen forces of nature.”

For that simple reason, save yourself the headaches of calling your landlord about the damages once you’ve moved in. It is important to check for damages before renting a home.

Check for damages before renting a home in Costa Rica

Home inspector

The easiest way to make sure everything is functioning is to call a home inspector. Nonetheless, you might say “I’m not buying the place!”

You’re right; you’re not buying the place. But depending on the size of your rent, a home inspection can be a lot cheaper than fixing damages or living with them.

Do it yourself – 6 Tips

You can also do it yourself. How? Follow the next 6 tips to check for damages before renting a home in Costa Rica:

1.       Roof Leaks

You really don’t want to climb on the roof. But you can simply take a close look at the ceilings and look for stains. Some stains might be old that nobody bothered to re-paint. If there are any stains, take note of their location and take a picture with your phone.

Tell the landlord about the damages and if nothing is done about it, make a note on the lease agreement.

Check for damages before renting a home in Costa Rica

2.       Gutters

The gutters are also unreachable if you don’t have a ladder and the necessary tools to clean them. Besides, it’s not your job to clean them. Just request before you rent a home, for the gutters to be cleaned. Put it on your agenda to ask the landlord to clean them again before the rainy season starts.

3.       Plumbing

It is quite easy to check on the plumbing yourself. Flush all the toilets and see if they flush well. Take note if any doesn’t. Check for any loose valves, a malfunctioning float arm and mostly the flapper. If a flapper doesn’t function well, lots of water gets wasted and you will be paying the water bill.

Also, check the bathroom sinks for good drainage and water pressure. Do the faucets and pop-up drains function well? Make sure hot water works well throughout the house.

Check for damages before renting a home in Costa Rica

Check the shower drain for easy drainage, and as well for mal-functioning faucets. See if the shower head is not clogged up with calcium and minerals. You will find most are, so ask the landlord to have it cleaned before renting a home.

Do the same with the kitchen sink and the pila in the laundry area.

4.        Electrical

Check the doorbell or intercom system.

When you do your walk-through, bring a cell phone charger with you. Try the charger on each outlet in the home. Try all the light switches and see if there are any non-functioning or broken light bulbs.

If the showers have a suicide showerhead, see if you get enough hot water and if the electrical wires are well covered.

Check for damages before renting a home in Costa Rica

5.       Appliances

If you rent with appliances, check those before renting a home. Run them all during your inspection and take a photo of any damages.

6.       Internet

If you are renting with internet included, check the wireless from your phone.

For a more detailed inspection, call a home inspector! Are you in the market to rent a home in Costa Rica? Contact us now.


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Ivo Henfling

Ivo Henfling started the American European Real Estate Network Costa Rica in 1996 and has grown it into the largest Costa Rica MLS with thousands of up to date property listings for sale and for rent. Ivo has written hundreds of articles about real estate and living in Costa Rica for The Tico Times and other online informational sites.

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One thought on “Check for damages before renting a home in Costa Rica”

  • Tom Rosenberger

    29 November, 2017 at 6:22 am

    This is good advice, because in Costa Rica when people enter into rental contracts, the contracts are valid for three years, even if the initial agreement is only for one year. There are various problems with existing homes and condos that foreigners may not notice until they have lived in the home for a while, and by then the problems become irritating for the tenant. Costa Rican property owners and seasoned residents are accustomed to accepting sub-standard construction installations and most local landlords are not responsive to their tenant’s complaints. It is better to learn about sub-standard construction installations from a home inspector before you enter into a rental contract. That way, down the road you won’t be inconvenienced by problems in the home you have rented.

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