As the country's largest city by far, Bogota has plenty of properties available for rent, either short-term or long-term. Prices vary depending on the area, the type of residence and furnishings, and the estrato, and can range from USD 400 to USD 1,000 for a two-bedroom apartment, expressed in Colombian pesos. Prices can be up to 40% higher for furnished apartments than for unfurnished ones.
The properties available for rent in Bogota range from individual houses with various bedrooms to luxurious recently-built apartments. The criteria to take into account when looking for a flat are multiple, but priority should be given to location, as Bogota's transport infrastructure is notoriously inefficient and living far away from work you risk spending a significant amount of time in traffic.
The areas where most high-quality residences are located are the North of the city, the Chapinero Alto and Rosales neighborhoods on the Eastern mountain range, and the Salitre area close to the main institutions.
Rent generally includes utilities, internet, and administrative expenses if you live in a gated community, but it is a good idea to agree that explicitly with your landlord. The longer the lease, the higher the chances that the rent does not include utilities.
A basic knowledge of Spanish language is essential in finding accommodation in Bogota. Some landlords may speak some English, but this is not the norm throughout the city. Additionally, most advertisements will be in Spanish, except those targeted specifically to foreigners.
Prices are expressed in Colombian pesos and should be paid in that currency. Using other currencies such as the USD or euro is uncommon in Colombia.
The easiest way to search for a property for rent nowadays is online. Classifieds websites are a great resource, allowing you to browse through offers and select them by price, neighborhood, number of rooms or other criteria.
Common classifieds websites include:
It is also common to find property postings in popular newspapers, either in their print version or online. Clasificados El Tiempo is a great resource for finding announcements.
Another way to find out about the rental offers is simply to take a walk in the neighborhood you want to move into and look at the big rental posters ("Se Arrienda") on the windows of the properties. These generally include a phone number. Many Colombians use only this simple way of advertising their property, as it is generally effective and quick.
Public bulletin boards near universities, in cafes, supermarkets or schools may also contain postings about residences for rent.
Competent real estate agents can be of significant help in finding a property for rent in Bogota. They can select the properties that are most suited to your needs, arrange the visits and assist you with the hurdles of signing a lease as a foreigner.
Currently, there is no body accrediting real estate agents in Colombia, and many don't have the necessary training and qualifications. It is important, before you contract the services of an agent, to verify their experience and trustworthiness. You can ask for recommendations from friends, colleagues, fellow expats or online forums.
Some of the most experienced real estate agencies in Bogota are:
Most agencies charge a fee, which is based on the value of the monthly rent, but the percentage varies from one agency to another.
Visiting the apartment before signing the contract is essential as it enables you to get a feel of what the property is, the area, and possibly discover hidden flaws. It is also an excellent opportunity to meet your landlord and discuss details of the potential lease.
During the visit, it is worth checking if the fixtures work properly and if any electronics included such as the TV or washing machine are functioning well. It is also recommended to take a look at the area, to see if there are sufficient shops, parks or restaurants in the area.
While verbal agreements with your landlord are possible, it is highly recommended to have a written agreement that is signed and notarized in order to avoid any issues.
Medium and long-term leases run from six-months to a year, and they are automatically extended unless stated otherwise.
Contracts generally include the following:
Note that the great majority of landlords in Colombia request one or two co-signers (fiadores) that have property in Bogota and have a clean credit history to act as guarantors for the lease. This can be quite difficult when you are a foreigner. However, there are various ways to overcome this requirement. Advance payments, deposits and insurance are among the suggested means, each of them with their own advantages and drawbacks. Make sure you negotiate this important aspect in detail with your landlord and carefully consider your options.
Ending the contract before its term is uncommon in Colombia and draws potentially high penalties in the form of the remaining monthly rents. However, a written notice at least three months in advance may be accepted, from either tenant or landlord.
Make sure your agreement clearly states the termination and notice conditions, and discuss these with the landlord.
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