Real Estate

The Five Essentials of Looking for a Rental Home in the Cayman Islands

October 8, 2020
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Here’s a checklist of five important things to consider when looking for a house to rent in the Cayman Islands.

New arrivals to the Cayman Islands are usually here on a two- or a three-year employment contract and generally rent property rather than buy, at least initially. The property rental market is mature and efficient and is geared towards a fast turnover, given a large number of transient expats.

For the new arrival, this should mean a fairly smooth relocation. But there are a few potential pitfalls that can throw plans out the window and end up costing a lot of time and money, and stress. Here’s a checklist of things to pay extra attention to when first looking for a house to rent in the Cayman Islands:

#1 Use a Professional Agent: It’s a busy market, and hiring real estate management services will definitely save you time going through listings for Cayman Islands house rentals. Their local knowledge is extensive, and once they understand your wants and needs and budget, an agent is best positioned to offer advice on your relocation and the various options available to you. Doing it yourself is perfectly feasible, but it can take a lot of time and effort. Hiring a professional agent is a lot more efficient.

#2 Choose a Location: Just about everyone who relocates to the Cayman Islands ends up on Grand Cayman. Although it’s a small island – little more than 75 square miles in area – it is the largest of the territory’s three islands and is where the vast majority of businesses, homes, and facilities are located. It has a lot of different housing neighborhoods catering to all types of lifestyles and budgets. If you want to keep commuting times to work or schools to a minimum, then concentrate your search to a narrow geographic circle around these destinations. If you want to be far from the tourists and the hustle and bustle of high-density living, then instruct your agent to look for something more secluded. Generally, waterfront properties are the most expensive and hardest to find,  while properties in less-developed areas can require a lot of commuting and are not so convenient for schools, shops, services, and entertainment.

#3 Calculate Extra Costs: Real estate rentals in the Cayman Islands usually require a security deposit to one month’s rent, as well as the first month’s rent in advance. Payment is usually a local cheque or deposit into a local bank, which requires you have a Cayman Islands bank account set up, or at least access to cash until you do. Similarly, you will need to open accounts with local utility companies (water, electric, tv, internet, etc.) and arrange payments in the local currency. Foreign cheques are not generally accepted.

#4 Negotiate and Document: Everything’s negotiable, as the old business saying goes. While house rental prices in the Cayman Islands do not have a reputation for being open to negotiation, under the right circumstances and with a bit of persuasion, many landlords will compromise a bit on price. If it’s not a reduction in monthly rent, it could be an agreement on reducing the security deposit or pet damage deposit. Whatever you negotiate, make sure it’s in writing and clearly documented, as memories fade, and something that was agreed verbally three years ago is not necessarily going to be what happens at the end of your lease. If reclaiming a damage deposit is of concern to you, photograph everything in the house covered by the damage deposit before you move in and make sure your landlord is given a copy. This will help both sides in the event of a dispute at the end of the lease.

#5 Household Pets: Of course, you want your pets to relocate with you. But if you have a pet, or think about getting one once you’re here, make sure your landlord agrees and, if you are in a condo or strata development,  that strata rules do not have restrictions regarding pets. If your lease allows pets, there will almost certainly be a damage deposit – either refundable or to pay for cleaning when you move out. If you’ve hired an agent to find you the perfect Cayman Islands rental home, then this type of problem should be easily handled smoothly in the lease agreement.